Name: Christopher McGinnis
School: Hendrick Hudson High School
Accomplishment: At the age of 14, Christopher is already an all-around entertainer. Not only does this young man amaze crowds with his voice and piano playing, but he has also acted in films and on television, done voiceovers, and performed live for over 20,000 people at a half-time show in Madison Square Garden, a venue he has now played 3 times. Most recently Chris performed his original song, "The War Song An American Hero" at the Town of Cortlandt’s .
Key to Awesomeness: Cortlandt Manor resident, Christopher McGuinnis began his formal piano training at five-years-old, and has been singing and playing piano professionally since he was 10-years-old. Through his private training at the Julliard School and formal training which comes by way of some of the best pianists New York City has to offer, Chris has learned to play pretty much every genra of music out there, including classical, Latin, jazz, pop, rock and be-bop.
“I love to play jazz and Latin. Most kids my age don't like all the old standards and can’t really free style in Jazz,” McGinnis said.
Chris’ musical talents have bestowed a number of honors upon him, including the opportunity to have played with the late Motown musician, Nick Ashford at his NYC club, The Sugar Bar. McGinnis was also the youngest pianist to play for the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra at the Jazz Standard in NYC and performed one of his original songs for the US Army’s 42nd Infantry Division as well.
In addition to his musical career, McGinnis has already had a successful acting career. Chris made his acting debut on an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent, and has since been featured in a number of television shows and commercials, including an advertisement for Papa John’s where he portrayed a young Indiana Jones.
When his agent calls, Chris is always ready to travel down to the city for an audition. At home, he spends about an hour a day practicing the piano, and writes songs when he feels inspired.
Besides his interest in the entertainment industry, McGinnis is also an athlete who plays football, basketball and runs track.
“I guess I have a lot of discipline and I know that I need to manage my time wisely,” said McGinnis. “I sometimes have to do school work, go to a sports practice, go to an audition and practice piano all in a few hours.”
Looking back on his musical career thus far McGinnis says that his greatest accomplishment to date has been playing Madison Square Garden three times.
Though he credits many musicians, such as Michel Camilo and Billy Joel, as having inspired him, Chris also says that his inspiration comes from his heart and his family.
“Musically, my Dad has inspired me to keep on playing,” McGinnis said. “He is a great motivator for me. Without him I would have not known about all the great jazz influences. He has been my personal mentor from the beginning.”
In his spare time Chris enjoys surfing, riding his jet ski, and reading about yachts on the internet. He also has an interest in medicine, and says that one day he would like to become an anesthesiologist.
“My goals are always changing,” McGinnis said. “The entertainment industry is and has been a part of my life for a long time, but whatever happens down the road I still am aiming to go to a good college and get a degree in the medical field, so my grades are important to me.”
You can catch McGinnis’ next live performance at the Hen Hud Varsity football game on Oct. 6, or download three of his original songs from iTunes or Amazon. For more information, videos, and live interviews visit: http://www.christophermcginnis.com