Peter Dzubay ’18 is quick to credit the people that surround him for his wide-ranging achievements and impressive list of accomplishments. From his turns on the Taft stage (“Being able to work with Mrs. Fifer just made me fall in love with theater…”), to his newly released, five-song extended play (EP) album, (“Mr. Krug taught me how to create a professional-quality recording by giving me tasks and then having me carry them out on my own…”) Peter aims high, and always hits his mark. And while it is true that talented mentors in the Taft community have helped shape him as an artist, it is also true that Peter’s successes are largely due to the passion, energy, and raw talent he brings to every endeavor.
Peter has been singing his entire life. He studied piano and guitar as a child, but taught himself to play drums, bass, and to beat-box. He is also an award-winning and self-taught ventriloquist.
“I started building puppets when I was about 11,” Peter says, “I experimented with them a bit, and slowly they just started talking.”
As an upper mid, Peter put that skill to use in Taft’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace.
“Mrs. Aziz, who directed the show, thought it would be interesting if we took one of the dialogues and made it into a monologue,” explains Peter. “We reimagined the scene in a way that was very exciting.”
“The very first day of my freshman year I had some older friends who were heading to auditions for The Drowsy Chaperone,” Peter recalls. “They encouraged me to try out, and I decided to do it. Being able to work with Mrs. Fifer just made me fall in love with theater—and with acting specifically— since I had very little experience with theater before coming to Taft.”
The experience he gained on stage allows Peter to give back to the Taft community not just as a performer, but as a teacher and mentor. Peter is part of Masque & Dagger, a theater group almost as old as Taft, itself, where he serves as an acting instructor and workshop coordinator.
“I love being able to walk students through different acting exercises,” says Peter. “As the workshop coordinator, I’m in charge of planning and overseeing all of our classes, which meet once a week for an hour or so. They are open to anyone in the school who wants to participate. The troupe currently has more than 30 active members who come to the weekly sessions to learn about topics ranging from on-stage mannerisms to things like conveying emotion and stage presence.”
And while Peter’s stage presence always looms large, mannerisms and emotion took center stage in two of his favorite roles at Taft: Lord Farquaad in Shrek: the Musical and CB in the Masque & Dagger production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, a powerful exploration of the Peanuts characters re-imagined as teenagers.
“That show addressed a lot of different social issues and started really great conversations in the community,” says Peter. “I thought the show was truly incredible.”
As did the panel judging the 2017 Halo Awards, who honored the production with their Fearless Award.
But it was music that first brought Peter to the stage—where he got his first taste of connecting with audiences through his extraordinary voice and talent—and music that will always drive his passion. At Taft, Peter performs with the showcase choir Collegium Musicum, the Gospel Choir, multiple rock bands, and is a vocalist and the vocal percussionist with Taft’s all-male a cappella group, Oriocos. As co-head of Taft’s Coffeehouse, Peter is responsible for planning, promoting, emceeing, and mixing at the events, where he is also a regular performer.
Peter has spent the past four years developing Okay, So, an EP album of five original songs, now available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and through other major music distributors. Peter wrote all of the lyrics, composed all of the instrumentals, and plays all of the instruments on every track. Working in Taft’s recording studio under the guidance of Music Teacher Fred Krug, Peter produced and distributed Okay, So last year. It is a labor of love and a meaningful leap toward what comes next in his life.
“In the long run, I do see myself working as a recording artist,” Peter says. “I want to record and write and tour; that’s really what I see myself doing.”
The next stop on Peter's journey is, of course, college, where music will again be front and center.
"I’m beyond grateful to have worked with so many amazing people at Taft, and to have had so many opportunities to learn new things—new genres of music, how to professionally record and produce music, acting, performing, and collaborating with students from all different backgrounds and cultures to make art and music together,” says Peter. “I’m very glad that I get to be a part of that.”
Access all of his music through his website, peterdzubay.com.