Lou Sorrentino

 

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Lou "Soaring Eagle" Sorrentino

My first inspiration to play music professionally came from listening to Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man." I decided that I must do what he did in some form and formed a band as a wild-eyed thirteen teen year-old dreamer. My band, the Electric Forest, toured the northeast, with our parents driving a van covered with hand painted lightning bolts. For the next five years we played every high school and college dance or private party possible while middle aged parents danced to the astonishment of the youthful audience. After twenty years of youthful folly which included alcoholism, at age thirty two I sobered up and entered the counseling profession. I began integrating music and storytelling into the therapeutic process while performing in many venues and writing songs on-demand for special occasions and causes. My true calling of music as a lifestyle avocation became apparent.

Childhood mentoring by Harold, the chief of the Mohegan Native American tribe in Uncasville, CT, also inspired me. In the 1960s, I was transfixed by his riveting style of counseling which included songs and historical storytelling with a spiritual flavor by blazing bonfires. As I matured as a therapist, songwriter and musician, I often visited Chief Harold's grave at Fork Shantock, in Uncasville, CT, to ask for spiritual direction. To my astonishment, the answers came to make history. Beginning in 1998, three counseling reform amendments were adopted by the Connecticut legislature to include and improve alcohol and drug counseling as a distinct new profession and more improvements are in process. On 1/25/04 the New York Times published the story of my re-writing of local Revolutionary War history which included Native American contributions titled "Uncovering A Millstone Who Done It." Then, in specific response to my documented suggestion of the idea, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum hosted a conference on "Northeastern Native Americans in the Revolution" on Sept. 23-24, 2005, with Douglas George and Joanne Shenandoah as guest speakers. In a sweat lodge weekend I was given my Native name, "Soaring Eagle" by my friend "Turtle". This breakthrough conference improved written history to include more of the Native contributions to our country's founding. T

I am assured that the music and counseling style inspired by my mentors Neil Diamond and interwoven with Native American traditions, have touched, and will continue to inspire, untold numbers of people. The song we call freedom which we enjoy today as one people was bought by the blood of our ancestors. Once enemies, today we thrive in a vibrant celebration of each others cultures. To preserve it, we all must learn to forgive and learn from one another. I pray for the wisdom to never forget where I have come from, and the many people who have helped me. We are all descendants of the same ancestors, as science has proven through DNA. The music, stories, history and insights leading to social changes which were modeled by my mentors and channeled through me have come only through the embracing and celebrating of our common heritage. Truely, we are all one family! I look forward to witnessing and singing of still greater accomplishments which are beyond my wildest dreams by those who dare stand on the same shoulders that I am now a part of.