The Guy Who Never Left Home

Tony De Pace, tanned as a pancake, has just come back from Disney World.   Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Tony has been living in the same house since birth.   If you didn’t know that, the Mickey Mouse mugs on the cluttered coffee table and large framed photos of the celebrated Florida amusement park that are perched prominently on the bookshelves would have clued you in. This was his 20th trip; he’s been going since he was 30, which was nearly four decades ago. “Disney World brings out the little child in me,” he …

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The Servant of Syncopation

The first thing you see in Mark A. Thomas’ apartment is the Roland digital piano. It’s big and black, and you have to dance around it, as Dick Van Dyke did with that pesky ottoman, to get into the living room without tripping over it. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Mark’s official occupation is artist. Actually, it would be more accurate to call the living room an office because, aside from a dark brown faux-leather slouch couch, a 70-inch flat-screen TV and a computer with dual flat-screen monitors, its only contents are three enormous flat-top desks and a …

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The Composer Who Came Out of a Coma

It happened a little more than two years ago, but Allen Schulz says it seems more like a lifetime. In March 2014, he was in Pittsburgh to see a performance of his latest composition, 3 Phantasies, a 15-minute work for cello and piano. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Allen’s a composer. It was doubly exciting because Allen’s friend had played the cello part to perfection. To celebrate, they went out to dinner. As they were standing in a dark alley chatting afterward, Allen suddenly clutched his chest and fell to the ground. Before an ambulance could be summoned, a pair&…

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