Musician of the week: Jen Buono



Kristian Stefanides

Hometown: Blue Bell, Pa.

Major: English with Math and Biochemistry Minors

Role: Accompanist, a capella 

What are you involved in on campus?

I am a member of  Villanova’s Minor Problem, I work as the  Villanova Voice’s accompanist  and I am an active participant in the VSMT musicals.

When did you feel that you had fallen in love with playing the piano?

I realized piano was my one true love when I was in middle school, and I’d cancel chances to hang out with other kids to practice for hours after school. Also when I realized that I had squandered all of my allowance on new sheet music. That was really when it was clear that piano was my true passion.

If you could swap places with any musician/singer for one day, who would you choose and why?

I’d probably swap places with a younger Julie Andrews. Not only was she able to sing, she could also tap dance! When she lost her ability to sing, we lost one of the world’s greatest voices.

What’s the hardest part about being someone’s accompanist? 

Accompanying singers is always tough, since they have their own interpretations of every song. You can play the same song for five different people, and it’s like a brand new piece every time. It’s also hard to watch singers beat themselves up over pieces that sound beautiful. Especially musical theatre singers, they’re so hard on themselves. 

What’s your favorite part about Villanova?

Villanova provides so many great opportunities to carve out your own experience. My Villanova feels different than the Villanova that is advertized. I have never gone to a Hoops Mania or a basketball championship game because I’ve always been at one rehearsal or another, which seems like something that is very counter to the typical Villanova experience (even though I always check game scores religiously throughout). But it has been amazing to get to be a part of the Villanova community, and keep breeding my passions at the same time! 

What do you love most about being a musician?

I love the collaboration. Music has always been the way I made my closest friends, and I love that I get to share the thing I love the most with other people who love it just as much!

What’s your most prized memory as a musician? 

I think my most valuable memory came my freshman year, when I music directed my very first full show, VSMT’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I got to work with some fantastic singers and musicians, and an amazing director. I can’t remember ever being so proud of something I had helped create. I met some of my best friends during the show, and to this day we reminisce about rehearsing in a St. Mary’s classroom. I think that closing night of the show is the fondest memory I ever have of playing music. 

Who has/have been your biggest role model(s)?

When it comes to music, I think my little sister has been a big role model. Even though she’s younger than me, her dedication is unparalleled. She’s a freshman in the musical theatre program at Temple University, and the way she challenges herself to always be better and learn more about her craft is so inspiring. I admire so much about her work ethic, and it’s something I try to model myself after when it comes to my involvement in the arts. 

What do you love most about being involved in an a capella group?

I love the people I get to sing with. As one of our members says, the people in Minor Problem are people I’m going to invite to my wedding.

Aside from music, what else do you enjoy doing?

I am secretly an avid tennis player, so if anyone is looking for a partner, I’m on the hunt!