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As the drummer for Smooth, a popular jazz band that routinely plays at venues throughout the Poconos, Anthony Diecidue, OD, can't remember a time when he wasn't playing the drums or performing with other band musicians.
As the drummer for Smooth, a popular jazz band that routinely plays at venues throughout the Poconos, Anthony Diecidue, OD, can't remember a time when he wasn't playing the drums or performing with other band musicians. The 57 year-old optometrist, who practices at Eye Associates of Monroe County in Stroudsburg, PA, is a local celebrity who has been playing in front of audiences ever since he was 12 years old.
That's when the music teacher at his elementary school introduced students to a variety of band instruments. The drums immediately captured his eye and heart. So much so that his father purchased his first drum set-which didn't include earplugs-when he turned 11 years old.
As his musical abilities continued to develop, so did his reputation. During the summer before his senior year in college, he met an Elvis impersonator who needed a drummer to perform with his band at different venues throughout Saskatchewan, Canada. At the time, Elvis was still very much alive and popular. Dr. Diecidue said he was never a big fan of Elvis' music, but the money was decent and the opportunity was great, so off he went.
"Even though we weren't all that good and he definitely was not a great Elvis impersonator, we were the hit of every town we went to," Dr. Diecidue said. "Each town's population was about five. They were definitely starved for entertainment up there.
" While Dr. Diecidue doesn't fill stadiums, jet across Europe, or attract groupies outside of friends and family, he has played with bands in local demand for nearly 40 years.
The beat goes on
Through the decades-as music evolved from rock 'n' roll to disco to rap to rhythm and blues-Dr. Diecidue kept pace. He took lessons from a renowned jazz drummer, Mike Stephens, who moved from California to the Poconos. Dr. Diecidue made several CDs with other musicians including his brother, a jazz guitarist who lives in nearby Harrisburg, PA.
"My skills have gotten a bump in improvement in the past few years," he said, adding that his band's songs can be downloaded at http://www.smoothjazzband.net/. Dr. Diecidue also created his own Web site, http://www.myspace.com/tonydiecidue, which features recorded songs and videos of his recent performances.
Looking back, Dr. Diecidue said he enjoys both professions. Drumming keeps him fresh, he said, adding that it's also a healthy and safe diversion from work, and a huge source of pleasure that helps keep him sane.
Long and winding road
Dr. Diecidue has come a long way since he drummed his first song, "Wipeout," a popular surfing song back in the 1960s. This past summer, Smooth also performed every weekend at Mount Airy Casino in the Poconos and is now booked roughly twice a month for various festivals, parties, weddings, and other venues.
Meanwhile, Dr. Diecidue's youngest son has inherited his father's love of music. He plays trumpet in his high school jazz band.
Although Dr. Diecidue has no intention of auditioning for America's Got Talent anytime soon, he said that he's happy with the way things turned out. Once in a while, fans even ask for his autograph. He claimed modestly that these requests come mostly from children but, more than likely, it's the kids' parents who want his autograph and are simply too shy to ask.
"I'm old enough to realize this is how it's going to be," he admitted. "As long as I get out and play once in a while, that's all I need."
Anthony Diecidue, OD
Dr. Diecidue has no relevant financial interest in the subject.