It’s hard to get rid of Bonaroti’s perfect pitch

Colter Bonaroti’s musical ability is matched only by the pleasure he takes in collaborating. (Photo by Elizabeth Tinajero)

Seventh in a series

When he was young, Colter Bonaroti thought he was going to play professional football.

Then he took a sports medicine course in high school and decided to become a physical therapist, just like his father.

But when he joined a jazz band and started serving in church, he heard God’s call to focus on music.

God knew better. No coincidence.

But there was one more piece to the puzzle that would lead him to Grand Canyon University’s Worship Arts program. It came after he auditioned for the music performance program.

“The audition went very well, but I felt the Lord was calling me to something more – that there was something else in GCU that I would miss if I just thought about it. as a school of musical performance,” he said.

So he called Dr Randall Downsthe Worship Arts Coordinator, and Dr. Paul Kochband manager.

“They both said, ‘The Lord is going to lead you to success wherever you are,'” Bonaroti recalled.

Has He ever.

Bonaroti is now one of the stars of Worship Arts and collaborated on two songs in Canyon Worship 2022, which is slated for release in September.

But there is more than that.

He also has perfect pitch, the rare ability to identify or recreate musical notes without having the benefit of hearing other notes. And yet, he is not the type to brag about it.

“A lot of people, if they had his talents, wouldn’t be as humble as him,” Downs said. “He plays so many instruments masterfully. You could play a complicated jazz voicing keyboard, and he could tell you the tuning and the voicings you’re using.

GCU recording studio manager Eric Johnson decided to have a little fun with Bonaroti one day and detuned an app, distorting the pitch of musical notes.

“He looked like a deer in the headlights,” Johnson said with a smile. “Now everyone is trying to block Colter.”

But, more importantly, everyone in the recording studio tries to collaborate with Colter. His two songs on the album – “Sometimes” and “The Real Thing” – are four-person efforts. madison russel and Victoria Gutierrez worked with him on both songs, and Edwin Lopez sing “Sometimes” and Nicole Jasper plays on “The Real Thing”.

It is a source of joy for Bonaroti.

“I’ve written a lot of songs on my own, but I also like to write songs with a bunch of other people,” he said. “It helps me a lot to process my ideas. Even if I’m writing a song based on my own idea, it helps a lot to have someone else to ask me questions and bounce ideas off me and stimulate me. a little.

“The Real Thing” is the perfect example. The group was working on the song in class and decided to try a new location, the closed stairwell next to the recording studio. They soon came to appreciate the very different acoustics and echoes – and one more thing.

“It was really isolated, like we were the only ones there going into this idea that we found there,” he said. “It ended up being a lot more upbeat and spontaneous and a lot lighter than a lot of the songwriting projects – not that the others were intense.

“Even if I’m writing a song based on my own idea, it helps a lot to have someone else to ask me questions and bounce ideas off me and give me a bit of a boost.”

Colter Bonaroti

“Nicole started playing guitar and I said, ‘I thought I knew what we were looking for.’ We were all throwing different things around while Nicole and Madison continued to play their guitars, we were all throwing different ideas around that slowly weaved together after a few more meetings in that stairwell.

This is indicative of the number of songs on the album that come together.

“We all could have come up with a different song,” Bonaroti continued, “but there’s something beautiful about how we’ve let our different stories weave together. We often find ourselves talking about what we feel drawn to write about, how the Lord has answered our prayers through these conversations.

They also feel drawn to writing music in the recording studio, their home away from home. They spend days and nights there – studying, eating, talking, composing, laughing… and collaborating.

“The blessing of having classrooms right outside the recording studio for worship arts is that it reminds us to go inside,” he said. “Even though it’s where we want to be all the time, with our classes we can think, ‘I have homework, I have class.’

“Since it’s right here, we often find ourselves wandering around the songwriting lounge and seeing each other. Sometimes we’ll come up with a musical idea. I’ve found that once those ideas come up more spontaneously, if you have something sparking or something you want to write about after a good chat with friends, then it becomes more of a thing where we planned to be in there.

Before Bonaroti came to GCU, the Gilbert, Arizona native thought about moving to Nashville to pursue a career in music. Now he’s grateful he didn’t.

“I think I would have been sucked into the mindset of ‘I gotta be the best’ – competing rather than uplifting other musicians and other people in general,” he said. . “Before I came to GCU, I thought making good music and good relationships through it had to revolve around a certain place. If I wanted to be a great musician and grow, I thought I would have to move away from home.

“But if I’ve learned anything from coming to GCU, it’s that wherever you are, wherever the Lord bless you, I’ve learned the most by just allowing it to take root wherever I am. and bloom wherever I am I am planted just by stopping and glancing.

And collaborate with others with humility and grace.

“As much as his musicianship draws other students to him,” Downs said, “I think it’s his humility.”

It’s funny how God knew better on that point too.

No coincidence.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


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TOS today: Canyon Worship 2022 is in tune with the collaboration

TOS today: Fearlessness propelled the ascent to Canyon Worship

TOS today: Freshman talent is the talk of Canyon Worship

TOS today: Russell leads the way on the album, along with other students

TOS today: Canyon Worship displays Jasperse sound skills

TOS today: God’s voice echoes through Lopez’s journey