Dan Merceruio first heard about Shenandoah Conservatory through a friend who was taking private lessons. He visited campus, had several informal meetings with the professors and was hooked.
“Shenandoah really was the wide-open door that allowed me to pursue the art of making and recording music,” explained Merceruio. “It’s a place worth investing in because everyone there really invests in you.”
Merceruio began his career at a record label located in Boyce, Virginia, known as Sono Luminus as an intern. His talent and expertise helped him move up the ladder quickly, and he is now the in-house producer. His role involves maintaining an overall sense of quality control of the artistic product. Merceruio communicates with artists throughout the booking and production process, learning their goals and visions and defining how Sono Luminus can help them bring their visions to life. He assists artists to see their interpretation and gives them feedback every step of the way.
Merceruio helped to raise Sono Luminus’ reputation to the successful height it has reached. He was even nominated for the Classical Producer of the Year GRAMMY award in 2012.
“The GRAMMY experience was surreal; that’s the best way to say it,” explained Merceruio. “You’re there with everybody who is anybody in the music world, and then, to be nominated for a GRAMMY thrusts you into the same category as them.”
Merceruio was able to share this experience with his wife, a high school music teacher, who appreciates the higher qualities of music. He was even able to see one of his music idols, Elton John, play the piano just 20 feet from him.
“It was an experience I hope to have again,” beamed Merceruio.
Merceruio cherishes his time at Shenandoah and truly believes his alma mater helped him learn what he needed to be where he is today. The kinship and community he felt with other conservatory students and faculty was something friends from other schools never talked about. He believes Shenandoah is the tool to help students see their dreams become reality — as long as they apply themselves.
“Shenandoah is unique in its ability to provide students with opportunities to apply themselves; they can get as much out of their experience as they are willing to put into it,” said Merceruio.
In his spare time, Merceruio sings in the vocal ensemble Third Practice with four Shenandoah alumni based out of Washington, D.C. Group members include Brian Bartoldus ’07, Robin Smith ’07, Shauna Kreidler Michels ’06, ’08, and Eric Sillers ’08. Merceruio likes playing the artist role because it allows him to identify with the artists he works with on a daily basis at Sono Luminus.
“It’s an ongoing, enriching and collaborative experience, one that allows me to continue to professionally grow — and thrive — on the other side of the glass,” he said.