Mary Ann Gonzalez is a St. Athanasius School alumni and life-long St. Athanasius Church parishioner. At age 13, Mrs. Gonzalez started singing with the St. Athansius Folk Group under the direction of Pat and Connie Costagliola. After a period of two years with this ensemble, she became the weekly Leader of Song for the 10:00 am mass on a regular basis. In 2002, Mary Ann joined the Festival Choir under the direction of Mr. Steven Laplante and became the primary cantor for regular weekly services, special occasions and Holy Days.
John Castagliola began singing in church at the age of nine in a boy’s choir at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Queens. Years later, he went on to pursue a career in musical theater starting with local community productions. Over the years, he performed in Summer Stock, Regional Theater, and eventually landed Off-Broadway in a revival of Maltby & Shire’s “Closer Than Ever”.
But God had other plans and called him back to singing for the Church. As a Church cantor, John has sung throughout the Tri-State area. In 1995, he was a member of the choir that sang for Pope John Paul II’s celebration of Mass at Aqueduct. In 2000, he sang with both the Vicariate Choir and The Christian Contemporary Group at the Jubilee Celebration in Arthur Ashe Stadium. For over seven years John was also a member of the Cantor Program at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.
John still occasionally “dabbles” in performing, having appeared last year as a back up vocalist in the Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan’s PBS Television Special.
Alessandra DeSarno has used music as a creative outlet since she was first able to sing. Her vocal experience ranges from musical theater, acapella, church and gospel to karaoke singing. Even though not classically trained by a voice coach, Alessandra learned to read music while playing the flute, and has used that training to help her vocally as well. The majority of her formal vocal training comes from musical rehearsals and St. Athanasius church choir and the Schola Cantorum. Alessandra has been involved in the choir at St. Athanasius, her home parish, for the past 7 years and has also cantored for 2 years at St. Stephen Martyr Church in Washington DC.
Robin Anne Casalta, mezzo-soprano, has been a Director of Music and Diocesan Cantor in the Brooklyn Diocese, as well as a contracted singer with the National Chorale. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Portland Opera, Harlem Opera, and in numerous recitals throughout New York City. , Robin holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music as well as an Advanced Certificate in Music Education. She has studied voice with Anne Myers, Richard Barrett, Patricia Misslin and most recently, Anna Skibinski. Robin currently teaches music for the Department of Education and maintains a private voice studio.