Tom Ingrassia ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Tom Ingrassia, DJ of the Motown Show on WCUW Tuesday mornings from 9am till noon. Tom started the Motown Show at the beginning of this year and the show is proving to be very popular already with listeners all over the world.
Tom’s magical journey started when he was eleven years old and he fell in love with The Supremes. It was1964 and he had just watched The Supremes debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was totally blown away by their music and turning to his mother said, “You know what, I'm going to meet them one day”.
Fast forward to 1972 when Tom was in college at the State University of New York at Geneseo, writing for a music publication. The editor promised they would publish his story if he got an interview with The Supremes. After requesting an interview, he soon found himself sitting with Mary Wilson and got his interview published. Before long, Tom was riding the wave he had dreamed of. Traveling on a ten day bus tour through Britain with Mary, Martha Reeves and Edwin Starr he got to see the music industry “from the inside”. He realized that show business can be quite a hard life, not always the glitter and glamor we imagine it to be. The tours would often mean staying in each town for no more than one night before moving onto the next town and the details had to be arranged to a tee. Everything had to be done right.
Tom worked in higher education administration for twenty-five years, ultimately achieving the position of assistant dean of the Graduate School of Management at Clark University. In 2001 Tom received a call from Mary Wilson asking if he would run her merchandising company. To say he didn't need to think about it for even a second is an understatement. He promptly handed in his resignation at Clark University not only without two weeks' notice, but without any notice at all! Though he loved his job at Clark he didn’t hesitate to seize his dream of working in the music industry with legends he had idolized all his life.
Tom would commute to NY to manage Mary's merchandising company and return to his hometown of Holden on the weekends. Tom's official capacity was as Mary Wilson’s Creative Director and Executive Assistant but in reality he did virtually everything from A-Z for her, from answering the telephones to zipping up her outfits before she ran onstage. He traveled extensively with Mary for several years and they became good friends.
Tom noticed Mary’s amazing ability to see in people the attributes which they cannot see in themselves and he admired her unique way of nurturing the aspirations of younger people. She may have also seen this in Tom. As often occurs with musicians and artists, Mary had the vision for what she wanted to accomplish, and asked Tom to assist her with the business side of things.
Today, Tom DJ’s at WCUW and feels exhilarated to have the freedom to do what he wants to do, play what he wants to play. He doesn’t feel stuck in any imposed format. To him it is like a childhood fantasy come true. He injects some of his extensive experiences into his repertoire as well as giving a background to the music he plays and the influence that Motown music had on the civil rights movement. He is concerned that many of the great artists are dying and feels it’s important to capture the richness of these artists and keep their memory vibrant. He loves to play not just the hits but also the obscure tracks that didn't make it to number one or that weren't played much back in the day.
Every week, Tom has a segment with a special theme to it. Whether it be the music of a particular group or a Motown artist or a song that had particular significance during the civil rights era. With a big reservoir to call upon, the music is varied every week. His favorite songs change now and then, but currently some of his favorites are, “Reflections” from 1967, “You Can't Hurry Love”, and from the 70's, he likes the maturing of their style with the song, “Up the Ladder to the Roof”. A song from 1971 which didn’t make it as a hit, but which he favors because of its layered instrumentation and the shared vocals of Mary Wilson and Jean Terrell is called, “Touch”. He considers this song to be ahead of its time, which he suggests may be a reason it didn't catch on in the 70’s.
Tom Ingrassia has been studying Motown music all his life. He feels that music has impacted our lives in ways we cannot imagine. Besides running the Motown show at WCUW, Tom also writes, travels and lectures around the country, and is president of a motivational company, offering personal and professional development programs that guide his audiences to live their dreams. In his lectures he is surprised to notice the younger generation's familiarity with the music of the 60's, even so far as knowing the lyrics to the songs because they say, they hear their parents playing them. Many young musicians today also integrate the social consciousness of the 1960's into their own music. The sounds remain fresh even today. One of his goals is to write a book about music and Motown and the important role that music plays in culture and society.
Find out what Tom has lined up for each show by visiting the WCUW Community Lounge on Facebook. Not only people in all different parts of the world but everyone in Worcester is listening to Tom's show on Tuesday mornings, it really is that popular.
Telephone requests encouraged ~ 508-753-2284!