Music to their Ears

Rose O'Keefe SWQ Summer 2014

Like many neighbors in the South Wedge, violist Mona Seghatoleslami, travelled a long and winding road to get here. Mona moved to Rochester to join the staff at WXXI Classical 91.5 as afternoon host three years ago.

“In addition to announcing, I love hosting the ‘Live from Hochstein’ concerts and interviewing musicians. In addition to the job, we were really attracted to Rochester as a music-arts-culture city with plenty (more than plenty!) to do.” Maya was around at the Jazz Fest introducing acts, and hosts the "Hochstein at High Falls" concert series throughout the summer.” (http://interactive.wxxi.org/hhf)

She also finds time to play in string quartets with some members of the Penfield Symphony that she met during the RPO & Community Side by Side Concert. During the year, she played with the Roberts Wesleyan College Community Orchestra and in various pick-up ensembles. Previously Maya was a music announcer, features producer and blogger for West Virginia Public Radio. She studied Musicology and Library Science at Indiana University in Bloomington, and then Viola Performance at Illinois State University. Mona grew up in several small towns in New Jersey, and also plays the electric bass and ukulele.

As for her traveling companion and husband Randy Pollok, he is private music instructor who gives classes in guitar, ukulele, clarinet, and piano. “He's definitely more of a professional musician, and I'm a radio gal who still plays when I get the chance,” Mona said.

Randy plays with the Rochester Ukulele Orchestra and is now music director at First Presbyterian Church in Brockport. His website (http://pollokstudios.com) has details of all he is doing now – he performed with the Rochester Ukulele Orchestra this summer at South Wedge Farmer's Market and during Jazz Fest at Bernunzio's Uptown Music.

Randy calls Champaign, IL home. He got his degree in Music Theory/Composition degree at Illinois State University, and did graduate coursework at Butler University in Indianapolis. He is continuing clarinet studies with Andrew Brown at Eastman Community Music School.

Mona and Randy play together in the Rochester Ukulele Support Group (for players of all levels.) It meets monthly – except for summer break – at Bernunzio’s. They were both in the orchestra for "Les Mis" at Roberts Wesleyan this past year. They also play together sometimes at his church. “So we do end up in the same groups from time to time, but not as often as we'd like.” Like so many people, Mona says, “One of these days we'll finally find some to sit down and play some viola and clarinet duos.”

If it’s during the summer months, open the windows and let the neighbors enjoy it too!