COLD SPRING, N.Y. -- By day, Virginia Califano is a reporter for the Putnam Courier but by night -- and when she has a gig -- she's singing her heart out in Diamonds to Dust .
The four-member band, which includes her boyfriend Tyler Ronconi on lead guitar, also includes brothers Barry Elliott (vocals/screams/guitar) and Melvin Hogue (drums), making her after-hours work feel like she's hanging with family.
Music, she said, is in her genes. Her parents met through their mutual love of country music, and have been in a band for 40 years. The Cold Spring native studied classical piano from ages six to 16, then picked up the guitar at 18 (inspired by Slash of Guns N’ Roses).
In her church in Cold Spring, she's served on the worship team for three years, playing guitar and singing.
"Church got me out of my shell in terms of singing," she said. "When I met Tyler, we immediately connected because of our love for music, and helped me grow as a guitarist, and now as a bassist."
Califano and Ronconi joined the group in Fall, 2016, just about when the two brothers, who had been performing under the Diamonds to Dust name since 2012, were making the switch from post-hardcore music with a pop twist to a full-fledged Christian band, with lyrics centered around faith.
They have since produced their first album under that genre, though it's the band's third release overall. “Aging of the Weary” came out March 17 and tells the story of someone who has grown tired, weary, and hopeless from wandering the world, who then finds Christ and has a renewed faith, purpose, and joy.
When Califano and Ronconi joined Elliott in the recording studio in November, he had about half of the album done. "He had most of the lyrics, and I wrote the vocal melodies picking and choosing and tinkering the lyrics he gave me.,' she said.
The album was recorded at Pasquarella Recordings in Wappingers Falls and is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.
Califano, a Cold Spring resident, said what makes the album unique is its diverse nature and bold message.
"The combination of male/female singing, scream vocals, and heavy but melodic guitar help us appeal to a wide range of tastes," she said. "And, the fact that we are a heavy band that sings about God is pretty different!
"It may seem like an oxymoron to be 'metal' and 'Christian,' but it’s really not."
You can find the band playing locally, mostly in Dutchess, where the rest of the bandmates are from. Look for upcoming shows in Poughkeepsie via the band's Facebook page . Go HERE for their new video.