~ “I loved his book, his story is both inspirational and emotionally moving.”
~ “After I received my copy of Onward & Upward I started to flip through the book and immediately found myself drawn in.”
~ “He really makes you believe that you can achieve anything you want in life with discipline, commitment and hard work.”
~ “Musicians will appreciate Jim's journey over the years honing his skills to get him to where he is today.”
~ “Days of wonder, days of amazing good fortune, days of loss and deep sadness.”
~ “The author is also showing that through dedication and hard work anyone can achieve their dreams.”
~ “It's a beautifully written journey...”
~ “It's moving, emotional, and very real.”
~ “As I read the book, I felt as if Jim was having a conversation with me and could hear his voice telling each and every word of the stories.”
~ "Neglia puts into words exactly the kind of passion and desire to excel that drove all of us to climb each step of the ladder that created our lives in music”
~ "I was immediately hooked into Jim's world and his life journey. This book has everything from family, friendships, kinships, Hollywood to Europe, ups and downs and the music career journey of Jim. The stories are like mini episodes of a cool movie and each chapter is a story of its own. As a whole, the book oozes with inspiration and open ideas giving me, the reader permission to possibilities in my own travels. Bravo!!!"
~ "The general public thinks the world of a professional musician is one of glamour and continuous excitement. Though both are certainly a part of that world, there are countless hours spent in the preparation for the exhilarating, most visible moments on the stage in front of an audience. Jim Neglia has written a book that describes in detail both the glamour and the daily grind. This very personal account reads as if one is spending the weekend with Jim, listening to his engaging stories and savoring the descriptions of food and scenery along the way. He has written the sort of book many of us say we should someday write, filled with the experiences we have lived through and grown through, the trials as well as the fun. His volume also devotes a substantial amount of space to express his indebtedness to those who taught, supported and befriended him through his career to this point.
For those who are curious about what real people do in a particular profession, the writing provides an inside look at the life of a versatile musician. For the reader who is a colleague, the shared realities may yield some absorbing reading. For example, my sense of recognition was strong throughout his description of his audition for college. Neglia puts into words exactly the kind of passion and desire to excel that drove all of us to climb each step of the ladder that created our lives in music. Just as in taking an audition, or taking a solo on the stage of Carnegie Hall, it takes some courage to put one's heartfelt thoughts out there for the world to digest, but the book is filled with warmth and gratitude, a reminder to all about what is most important in life."
New Book Details Music Man’s Journey from St. Joseph’s Church & NJCU to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
By Summer Dawn Hortillosa• Mar 18th, 2013 • Category:Arts
If you think all artists, actors and musicians are living la vie bohème, Jim Neglia has news for you.
In his memoir “Onward and Upward,” the professional percussionist shares 35 years of journal entries, along with present-day reflections and commentary, looking back on his musical career.
Ever since he was 4 or 5, the former Jersey City resident says he knew he wanted to be a musician, as did his four older siblings. After all, it was in their blood.
“It was a no-brainer. This is what we do. We come from generations of music,” says Neglia, 49. “My father, his father and his father were all musicians–my great-uncle was a very prolific composer named Francesco Paolo Neglia in Sicily. He composed symphonies, operas and various chamber music works that are still performed all the time right now. We’ve had this in our blood forever.”
In fact, basically everyone in the Neglia family has taken a turn as music minister at St. Joseph’s church on Pavonia Avenue. “In 1966 or ’67, my father worked at St. Joseph and after he left, my oldest brother was there, then my sister went in, then my next sister, then my brother, then me, and now my nieces and nephews. It’s really quite amazing.”
Neglia says he is grateful to the church’s longtime pastor James Pagnotta, who grew close to the family and took care of them. “He married all of us at all of our weddings–he also buried my mom, my grandmother, my uncle–this was a man who just took care of us. Like when I was in college just scraping together money for books for school, he said, ‘It’s time to get Jimmy in here.’” Neglia stayed with the church until 2000 when the demand for him to perform in Europe and do other duties became too much.
The current East Hanover resident says that his family was extremely supportive, many others weren’t. “A lot of people say, ‘It’s great to have music as a hobby, but what are you going to do?’ or ‘How are you going to live? Or support a wife and kids?’ But I refused to buy into the idea that I couldn’t do it,” he says. “The more I heard discouraging remarks, the more I became determined to beat the odds.”
And he did. In addition to having a successful career as a performer and music minister at St. Joseph’s, Neglia was also an adjunct music professor at New Jersey City University for 10 years. He left in 2003 when he took a job at with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, where he still works today.
Neglia has been performing with the orchestra since 1998 and for about 10 years, has also been their personnel manager (“A glorified HR person,” he says).
“I am blessed to work with the most amazing artists,” he says. “It’s just tremendous.”
He says this is where he is able to rediscover what he loves most about music every day.
“Being a musician, you’re literally in the moment. Everything is unfolding as it’s unfolding. If an artist is unhappy with his painting, he can start over before anyone sees what the picture was. We don’t have that luxury.
“But the plus side to being in the moment is that you’re absolutely immersed in what you’re doing–performing, playing, expressing yourself. You’re living in a state of euphoria. You feel like you’re off the ground as you perform,” he says.
By sharing his life story in his new book, Neglia hopes to encourage and relate to other artists.
“I want to dispel the myth that people who go into the arts are going to live on the street, starve and not make a living. This isn’t the cookie-
cutter life of someone who works on Wall Street, or a doctor, or a lawyer. But I was determiend to be a musician and make a living.
“I remember at the time I felt I was so alone in that whole thought process. Now, I want people to read my book and say, ‘Oh, my God, I understand what he’s saying; I’ve lived through that,’ or, ‘I’m living through that.’”
Onward And Upward Inspirational Reading For Students
SWHK | April 5, 2013 |
Musician Jim Neglia holding his Onward and Upward at his first book signing
Photo Credit: www.jimneglia.com
BY: NOELANI MONTERO
A story of the struggling artist— inspiration, journeys and experiences, is embodied in, Onward and Upward by musician Jim Neglia. The new book is geared towards the artist in people aged 18-24, Neglia shares his story on how he came to where he is today.
“I wanted people in your positions—up and coming—to gain some insight on how a career in music is possible,” said Neglia.
Neglia is now a successful musician and author. He has performed and collaborated with many big names in the industry.
Neglia has worked with groups such as, The Westchester Symphony, The Riverside Symphonia, Ars Musica, The Pro Arte Chorale, The Morris Choral Society, and The New Philharmonic of New Jersey & Sound Imagination.
Onward and Upward was published on Dec. 17 of last year and the book contain excerpts of Neglia’s lifetime journals.
This is no typical autobiography, the way Neglia formats his book is a unique way of looking back and sharing his story with the masses.
Neglia really wanted to relate to people and reassure young artists who are unsure about their goals. He also aimed for his story to be a sort of guide to success, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and determination.
“Everyone is really connected on that level. By reading what I went through, I want people to see that parallel,” said Neglia.
Hailing from a middle class family of musicians, Neglia first started playing the piano at an early age. He later branched out to other instruments.
At the age of 12 he mowed lawns and cleaned neighbors’ garages to earn enough money to buy his own drum set.
By his late teens, Neglia had auditioned for a spot in the New York Youth Symphony and was fortunately placed in the timpani section. Completely in love with his experience at the NY Youth Symphony, Neglia found his life’s calling.
“I then knew that this is what I was going to do for the rest my life. I was hooked,” said Neglia.
Despite the constant budget cuts modern art and music programs are facing, Neglia firmly believes that up and coming artists still have a chance to excel in today’s art world.
“The problem is that art is shrinking in our country,” said Neglia on the diminishing public school art programs. He adds, “Orchestras running for 15 years are running out of money and filed for bankruptcy.”
The ‘shrinking art world’ is an issue that has quickly gone beyond education. However, Neglia’s goal is to inspire up and coming artists to look beyond both internal and external obstacles.
Although the art world is notably smaller, it is still a significant part of America’s culture.
In an encouraging tone, Neglia said “I think that people always need to be entertained. There will always be a place for us at the top of the field.”
Neglia’s book is a recommended read for all people with goals. All LIU students are encouraged to read Onward and Upward. “Your student body would love this book,” said Neglia. His tip to the up and coming artist is as follow.
“Believe firmly—FIRMLY—in yourself and in your abilities. And there is no looking back. Give 110 percent.”
An International Performing Artist Shares His 30-Year Success Story
This musician's memoir will be featured at the Book Expo America in New York City on May 30 - June 1, 2013
EAST HANOVER, N.J., April 8, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- In the upcoming Book Expo America in New York City, percussionist Jim Neglia showcases his autobiography Onward and Upward as he joins the book exhibit on May 30-June 1, 2013.This true story of determination, drive and devotion to a life in music will inspire readers as the author shares his 30-year journey through a life in the arts.
From his earliest memory, he had always wanted a career in music. After all, if he was playing, he wasn't really working.Whether as a young artist in New York City, as a music coordinator of a Broadway musical, or as a musician traveling through Europe, the author shares the excitement, acclaim, and culture of being a passionate performing artist. Partly told through behind-the-scene memoirs, partly by journal entries, readers will walk hand in hand with the author on this most extraordinary journey.
Onward and Upward is the true account of the author's pursuit of a dream – a career in music – around the world. He shares his stories of culture, family, laughter, friendship, wisdom, and heartache, with a generous splash of the likes of Strauss, motorcycle chases, and Hollywood.
This book is available online and can be purchased at www.JimNeglia.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
About the Author Jim Neglia has been working in the Performing Arts for more than 25 years as a percussionist as well as music contractor, personnel manager, and music coordinator, working closely with some of the best-known names in the industry. From classical artists Placido Domingo to Yo-Yo-Ma and contemporary artists Johnny Mathis to Spike Lee, he covers the entire gamut of music production and performance. Earlier in his career, he performed with The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus and performed live on the radio program: All Things Considered. Additionally, he has made various recordings as well. His career also took him abroad working in 27 countries as a solo and orchestral percussionist. These days, he keeps a busy schedule as a performer and orchestra personnel manager with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He lives in New Jersey, with his wife and two sons.
Onward and Upward by Jim Neglia Publication Date: December 19, 2012 +++
230 pages; ISBN 978-1477298985
WFME - 1560