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Music Paves the Path to Happiness

Matt DePalma had it all: a successful career, a nice house and even his own driver. But when he takes the stage at the Cross County Shopping Center of Yonkers , he won't regret giving up any of it as he lifts his trombone and plays his heart out.

“They say if you always do what you love you'll never work a day in your life,” DePalma says in a phone interview. He's between his workout at the gym and heading off to practice with one of his bands. “I truly believe the last day I worked was about seven years ago when I was driving home after quitting my job.”

DePalma left a job with a major printing firm to return to his first love: music. So far, the move has proven a solid one. He's formed four bands that he describes as playing at the corporate level. He's buying a new house, a nice car and, most important, he's happier. He's performed at a tribute for Billy Joel and worked with Public Enemy 's Chuck D . producing the horn section for a tribute to the late James Brown.

Music is in his blood. DePalma recalls how as a child he pressed his ear to the floor to listen to his father practice in the basement. When DePalma took music in school, he wanted to follow in those same shoes. But there were already too many trumpets in the band, so he took up the trombone.

He was on his way to a music scholarship when a ruptured eardrum wrecked his chances at an audition. Instead, DePalma went to business school.

On June 8, Soul Be It , the 13-member horn-driven soul and funk powerhouse DePalma leads will perform at the Cross County Shopping Center as part of the Summer Concert Series . DePalma will return to the center June 20 with his other band, Artificial Flavor , jamming to some of the popular hits of the 1990s.

Most of the songs performed are covers. DePalma says he makes sure the members understand that. When they entertain people with songs that already have meaning to them, it's important to dive into the performance wholly. “I tell the band, we're not chasing the dollar. We're chasing that emotional connection people have. When you play a cover song, you have to try as hard as you can to replicate that feeling someone had of hearing it for the first time,” DePalma says before ending the interview so he can eat before his rehearsal.

Information and times for the Summer Concert Series at Cross County Shopping Center of Yonkers are available here .

Have you taken a chance and risked it all to pursue your dreams? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

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