Upon entering the stairwell of Oakwood Hall, one will often hear guitar melodies as they take each step up the staircase. On the second landing, before opening the door to the second floor, the acoustic sound grows. I walk through the well-lit, plainly painted corridor until I approach a dorm room door that reads, “206,” where the tunes are playing louder than before.
Knock, knock, knock.
The sound of fingers plucking at nylon strings desists. I hear shuffling and the door click sto unlock. The door opens. A young man dressed in a backwards Miami Dolphins hat, a black Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt, khaki colored cargo shorts, and a pair of weathered Converse All-Stars stands before me.
The fellow removes his cap, pushes his hair back, grins, and outstretches his arm. We shake. “What’s up man?” he asks.
This Monmouth Hawk is named Dominic Marino, a sophomore Homeland Security major. Dominic, nicknamed Dino, can be found jamming on his guitar in places like Long Branch beach, the Residential Quad, and the stoop of Wilson Hall. Not only does the Connecticut native just practice for his love of music, but also for the variety of performances he is invited to play at the University.
“While at Monmouth, I played a show for the Sinatra family as well as a few other small jazz gigs on campus,” Dino says. “I also performed on Hawk TV with my roommate and on the quad for the Student Activities Board.”
“Dino practices a lot, basically everyday,” Anthony Ferrise, a sophomore business administration major and Dino’s roommate, explains. “I enjoy writing and playing our songs together.” The duo, Dino in particular, looks forward to continuing to play at different on-campus events.
Truth be told, Dino’s success stems far before his days at the University. Back at Rham High School in his hometown of Hebron, he had his own band called Dino and the No-Names.
During their senior year, Dino and his bandmates competed and won the Connecticut Battle of the Bands and had the opportunity to play at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven.
Over the span of their illustrious high school career, Dino and the No-Names released three albums and played at several other venues, such as bars littered throughout the state of Connecticut.
Over the years, Dino has mastered the art of not only the guitar, but also a plethora of other instruments including the clarinet, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, bass, and piano.
“I enjoy playing all of my instruments,” Dino admits. “Each delivers something different to me.”
“Personally, I won best overall performer in my jazz band at the Berklee Jazz Festival,” Dino says. “I was also awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz award for excellence in improvisation.”
His private performance for the Sinatra Family last year earned him a place in the New Jersey Intercollegiate Jazz Band, which is comprised of the best jazz players from Division 1 colleges in the state.
The 19-year-old said that he listens to all types of music so he can have many influences. His personal favorites include John Coltrane, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Charlie Parker, Sublime, Eric Clapton, Tupac, Eminem, Nas, and his father, Dominic, Sr.
Dino’s father was a professional musician and music teacher. “It was really indicative that I would become involved in music,” Dino explains. His mother, Nancy, also played instruments and sang.
Dominic Sr. knew his son had a talent at a young age. “He was very quick with his ears and able to pick up instruments very readily.”
He adds, “To this day he has one of the best ears I know.” Dominic practiced his music everyday ever since Dino was born, thus exposing his son to a constant stream of tunes.
“I’ve been playing music for literally as long as I can remember,” Dino says. He started playing piano around age five. He then moved to clarinet at age seven. He picked up a saxophone and next a guitar at ages 12 and 13 respectively.
Since the school year is still young, be sure to keep a watchful eye and open ear for events around campus that include Dino Marino on the set list.
PHOTO TAKEN by AJ Serrantonio