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It’s Almost Party Time

Plymouth Rock For Kids

That’s right it’s almost party time! The CDs are in the manufacturing stage now. I’m very excited! Here we are, on the verge of something to really sing about, “The Landing of the Pilgrims” in Plymouth MA 400 years ago. For me this journey began not as far back in time. It was in February 2017. That’s when I wrote the foundation of the words. They took about a week. I finished the foundation of the music later that year on Christmas Eve 2017 and believe me when I tell you, it felt like a gift.

Now it’s time to celebrate with those Plymouth students, parents and teachers who took part in this historic musical project in Plymouth at the Funk Lab! I’ll be there and so will Author Diane Finn and her daughter Illustrator Erin Finn Zell. It’s just my and Michelle’s way of saying “Thank you”. CDs and books will be available for purchase.

Where: Mayflower Society House, 4 Winslow St Plymouth, MA 02360
When: 10/27/19
Time: 1-2pm
Public: 2pm

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Coming Soon

On Saturday, 5/5/19 and Saturday, 5/11/19 twenty-eight 4th and 5th grade students from 6 Plymouth area elementary schools (Cold Spring Elementary School, Nathaniel Morton Elementary School, West Elementary School, South Elementary School, Federal Furnace Elementary School and Hedge Elementary School) sang all 12 songs in the Funk Lab recording studio owned by actor Johnny Drama Alves of A&E’s Wahlburgers. Listen to the songs.

Four months have passed and I am pleased to say that we are in the final stages of mastering the music. What started in March of 2017 as an idea is about to become a reality. To fully understand why I wrote the songs in the first place you need to read the “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock”. In fact, when you purchase the book:

1. Look for the song titles within the book.
2. Mark the titles with a yellow highlighter
3. Start reading the book from the beginning.
4. When you come across a highlighted song title, play the song.
5. Allow the voices of Plymouth’s children to be your personal escort through the story.

The other day someone said to me, “What you’re doing is very special. It’s like a gift to the Town of Plymouth.” I said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” With 2020 right around the corner there’s no better time than now to “experience” the book and songs. You won’t believe how much better you feel after sharing it with your child, grand child or classroom.

Designing the album cover? Now that’s something completely different. Lucky for me I have a talented illustrator in Erin Finn Zell helping me out. She illustrated “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” storybook the songs are based on.

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My Orchestration Team

My team of orchestrators came by Cybersound Studios on July 10, 2019 to sprinkle some love on today’s “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” session. They are L-R: Sowon Lim, Jacob Kang and Joongwon (Steven) Hwang.

I feel so blessed to have been able to work with these fine musicians and writers. They took my songs to a new level with their talents. Thank you so much Joongwon, Sowon and Jacob!

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Landing of the Pilgrims

The Landing of the Pilgrims

As the celebration of the Landing of the Pilgrims approaches we give pause to think about the Pilgrims and their 400 year old story. The Landing of the Pilgrims told by Plymouth Rock itself. That’s what we’re all about here. It’s a story about a group of individuals in search of a better way of life. Did they find it? Most did. Others perished during the first year. Landing in Plymouth was a big thing. Surviving in The New World? That was another and survive they did with the help of the Wampanoag Tribe.

I am a proud supporter of the Wampanoag. If there’s anything I can do to help bring to light important Wampanoag issues regarding the Tribe please contact me. When I wrote the song “Secrets To Tell” I purposely included the Wampanoag in the lyrics. Secrets To Tell” is the first song of the story. Here’s hoping future accountings of the Landing of the Mayflower in history books includes accurate depictions of the Wampanoag Tribe. The Landing of the Mayflower is indeed a moment worth celebrating. It’s also a moment that requires acknowledgment of the brutality, pain and suffering the Wampanoag people endured as more and more immigrants came. The Pilgrims were truly America’s first immigrants and they asked the Wampanoag people for help. The rest is history.

Remember The Wampanoag Way.

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1620-2020 Plymouth Musical

On December 22, 1620 everything changed for an ordinary rock when what started out as “A Speck In The Distance” from the shore became the Mayflower. How much do you know about Plymouth Rock? “1620-2020 is a long period of time. A lot can happen to a rock. There are indeed some “Secrets To Tell“.

In 1920 there was the “Voice Of Plymouth Rock” at the 300th Anniversary of the Landing of the Mayflower in Plymouth. 100 years later and the rock’s voice is heard once again. Only this time it sounds like 28 Plymouth elementary school students singing their hearts out. The album is coming out in October. We may even have a CD release party at the Mayflower Society House in the early Fall. Stay tuned!



If that’s not enough, wait until you hear what dancer Kaylee “Impavido” Millis of tv’s “So You Think You Can Dance” has planned for Plymouth area students. She’s choreographing the music and plans to teach “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock”. How exciting is that! What an incredible opportunity coming soon for America’s Hometown’s aspiring dancers!

Now, if we only had a playwright who could turn this into a musical. We do and and his name is Tyler Ferreira of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Tyler has written a wonderful script that’s perfect for elementary school students. The script incorporates enough roles for small to large classrooms. The music, script, dances, etc will be available for download. Students around the country will be able to enjoy “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” at their school for the 2020 celebration.

With the 400th Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims around the corner this is the perfect way for elementary students around the US to celebrate along with the students of Plymouth Massachusetts. The themes of the 400th celebration are innovation, exploration, self-governance, religious expression, immigration and thanksgiving. “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” touches upon each theme in its own unique way, teaching our children Early American history through music.

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28 Students, 6 Schools, 2 Days, 1 Rock

The Funk Lab

On Saturday May 4 and Saturday May 11, 2019 some Plymouth elementary school students got an opportunity to see what it was like to sing in a professional recording studio. 28 students from Cold Spring, Nathaniel Morton, West, South, Federal Furnace and Hedge elementary schools took part in a recording project of Candido Bretto’s called “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock.” Candido composed 12 songs based on a storybook of the same name written by Diane Finn and illustrated by Erin Finn Zell. The students were recorded singing at Johnny Drama Alves’ Funk Lab recording studio located here in Plymouth. EdTV was there also capturing video for future airing.

“From the time I began writing the songs I knew they needed children to be complete. It’s like a dream come true to hear all of their sweet, precious voices.” -Candido Bretto

A big “thank you” goes out to all of the music teachers. You saw the importance of this project and took time out of your personal lives to make this recording project happen. A special “thank you” goes to Taylor Nardone of Federal Furnace elementary school for enthusiastically presenting the project to the schools. Taylor was there for each school’s performance and assisted in many ways so “Thank you Taylor!”

A great big “thank you” goes out to the parents who willingly gave up a couple of hours on a Saturday to bring their child to the studio. Last but not least, thank you to all of the students. I had so much fun watching you in front of the microphones in the Funk Lab. You made me laugh, made me cry but most of all made me proud and you should be proud too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the new voice of Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims. From what I’ve heard thus far folks will be enjoying your voices for a long time to come.

You can hear snippets of the students as they are added to our Songs page.

The CD will be accompanying the book in local stores and gift shops. It will also be available for download here and at online stores.

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Mayflower Society House

The Mayflower Society House

The “Feel Good” hit of the Spring!

On Saturday, April 27, 2019 “Rockin’ The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” premiered at the historic Mayflower Society House in America’s Hometown Plymouth, MA, just up the hill from Plymouth Rock. April showers usually bring May flowers and the morning it started out that way but the afternoon rain held off to the delight of author Diane Finn, illustrator Erin Finn Zell and composer Candido Bretto. Mrs. Finn narrated the rock’s story and Mr. Bretto’s music seamlessly weaved its way in and out with uptempo numbers like “Fine Day” and “Madame Crab“.

A talking rock? Surely you jest.

The Mayflower Society House presentsNo joke its true! In fact it sings too.Mayflower Society House Plymouth And this summer when the rock sings it will sound like 28 Plymouth children’s voices as we’re creating a music cd featuring their voices this and next Saturday.

It was a small gathering at the Mayflower Society House but they had fun! They tapped their feet and clapped their hands to the Caribbean beat of Mr. Seagull, the lilt of “Sights and Sounds of the Sea“, the rhythm of “Ouch Stop That“, and the beat of “Protect This Rock” and 9 more as Finn spoke and Bretto sang. The children in the audience were mesmerized as Candido was his usual animated self. Together he and Diane are on a mission to delight the hearts of children worldwide with a special rock’s story of innovation, exploration, survival and thanksgiving. “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” is set to become a classic on the list of Early American based children’s music.

Mayflower Society HouseThe author told (from “the rock’s” perspective) Mayflower Society House debut.of the “Landing of the Pilgrims” in 1620 as well as the some of the activities of the colonists up until 1920. The rock recalled how special it felt the day in 1920 it was given a “New and Wonderful Home“. You can see Plymouth Rock from the porch in the photo.”





“It felt very special toThe Mayflower House - Diane Finn sing those songs in that historic place knowing what it represents. They were a joy to write and I am happy to be able to share Plymouth Rock’s story with the world in this way.”

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Hamilton At The Boston Opera House

Hamilton at the Boston Opera House
Hamilton Boston Opera House
L-R Candido Bretto, Michelle Booth, Erica Howland Ruska, Karen Howland

Plymouth Rock News you can use. Jefferson Elementary School Rockland music teacher Michelle Booth said, “Candido, I think you need to see Hamilton because of what you’re doing with “The Secrets of Plymouth Rock.” The night of October 3, 2018 was magical. Michelle introduced me to the music, lyrics and all that is the phenomenon called “Hamilton”. The orchestra was tight, the dancing and lighting was spectacular and the cast especially Austin Scott, Hannah Cruz and Nicholas Christopher was riveting. The Secrets of Plymouth Rock just found some new inspiration. Thanks Michelle!

Candido Bretto and Hamilton conductor Andre Cerullo

I’m a late comer to the Hamilton phenomenon. As I sat and listened I was amazed with how much work it takes to put on Hamilton. I can’t even imagine all of the logistics. The choreography alone was fascinating. When you add in the mountain of lyrics and the orchestral arrangement it’s mind-boggling. I can’t believe this all came from one person’s head, Lin Manuel Miranda. I hope to meet him someday. Hamilton taught me that early American history can be fun and interesting at the same time. It just takes the right person with the vision, talent and energy and the right team all working together to see it through from start to finish.

Hamilton's Orchestra Pit

If I closed my eyes it was like I was listening to a studio album. The musicians performed with accuracy and lots of soul. Here’s a quick shot of the orchestra pit after the show.

“There’s a million things I haven’t done but just you wait, just you wait.
– Alexander Hamilton

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Children’s Music

Cybersound Boston
Yuki Kodama
Yuki Kodama

Plymouth Rock News you can use. Friday, April 22, 2019 I blocked 6 hours at Cybersound Recording Studios in Boston to record children’s music, 12 songs. I came prepared with Finale sheet music and a clear vision of what I was looking for. At the suggestion of Perry Geyer Cybersound’s owner I hired Yuki Kodama to play acoustic bass. An electric bass player myself the bass was an deeply important role. No surprise though. Perry’s recommendation was right on! Yuki read my sheet music accurately and played with lots of emotion. What more could I ask for? Mr. Kodama is a senior at my alma mater, Berklee College of Music Boston. I wish him all the best in his music career!


Yuki Kanesaka
Yuki Kanesaka

Also at the suggestion of Perry I entrusted Yuki Kanesaka to play drums. The Secrets of Plymouth Rock encompasses numerous styles of music from waltzes to rock to marches to rhythm and blues. This can be challenging to some drummers but not to Yuki Kanesaka. Yuki was solid as a Rock. Bass and drums need to lock and Mr. Kanesaka laid down a groove with a nice big pocket! Yuki understood my requirements and offered me choices that were very useful. Mr. Kanesaka possesses the winning combination of knowledge, skill and a love of playing his instrument. He followed my piano intuitively. Yuki Kanesaka is a professor and also an alumnus of Berklee College of Music Boston.

Yohei Kambe demonstrates his drumming talents on my nod to “The Sound of Music”. It’s a classic waltz called “Sights and Sounds of the Sea”. Yohei style of playing was exactly what I was looking for. “That tune was fun to play for me.” Yohei said. I can tell. It came through on the recording. The imagery I’m trying to create with this song is children playing on the beach. Perfect.

Speaking of The Sounds of Music, I’d like to introduce you to the orchestrator behind some of the songs. His name is Steven Hwang and he also is a senior at Berklee College of Music. Steven took my compositions to another level. It was like he was inside of my head. Steven followed the psychology behind the music and lyrics flawlessly on 4 songs: Secrets To Tell, A Speck in the Distance, Sights and Sounds of the Sea, and New and Wonderful Home.

This is children’s music and I can’t wait to add the angelic voices of 6 Plymouth elementary schools to these well deserving tracks! To listen to some rough mixes with my sister Concetta singing the children’s guide tracks click here.

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ArtWeek Music Drives Us Grant


Introducing, “Rocking The Secrets of Plymouth Rock”

Plymouth Rock News you can use. It gives me great pleasure to announce that I’ve been selected as a 2019 ArtWeek grant recipient for a $250.00 Music Drives Us performance grant. On April 9 I will be presented with a check at the Boch Wang Center in Boston. I am so excited. It’s always nice to be recognized for your hardwork even if it is a labor of love. The grant is in support of a performance coming up on Saturday April 27, 2019.

As part of ArtWeek author Diane Finn & I will be presenting the story and music on April 27 at the Mayflower Society House located at 4 Winslow St., Plymouth MA from 1 PM to 3:30 PM. The event is called, “Rockin’ The Secrets of Plymouth Rock” Meet author Diane Finn and myself as we share the story and music for The Secrets of Plymouth Rock.

At this program you will be able to:
1. Hear the story of the rock read by the author.
2. Purchase an autographed book from the author.
3. Listen and sing along with the songs composed by Candido Bretto.
4. Take a quick stroll to Plymouth rock with the author and composer as Diane gives you more historic details about the rock’s journey. (Sponsored by Plymouth Night Tours)
5. Return to the Mayflower Society House for a brief activity.

@ArtWeekMA #ArtWeekMA @MusicDrivesUs #MusicDrivesUs #childrensmusic #hamilton