Most phone callers on hold with the Excela Health System are probably preoccupied with something other than the music they hear.
Even so, they may find themselves tapping their toes lightly over the plaintive acoustic guitar and plucky accents of “Excela Theme,” a song written specifically for the Westmoreland-based medical system, as opposed to a canned desktop Muzak released by satellite.
And they have a Pittsburgh resident to thank for that.
Composer, guitarist and banjoist John Marcinizyn, 58, of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, composed the song in 2011 after being commissioned by Excela.
“Former VP of Marketing Jennifer Miele had a vision to create this quirky theme for Excela’s ads and promotions,” said Marcinizyn, artist-lecturer at Carnegie Mellon and Seton Hill Universities. “They wanted something fast and guitar-based, so I said ‘Sure’.”
To Marcinizyn’s surprise, the first composition he submitted was one that Excela officials liked.
“There were just a few tweaks they wanted me to make, including a little lick at the end, to make it start and end on the same note,” he said.
Initially, Marcinizyn’s task was to compose 30 seconds of music for an Excela advertisement.
“I had to time it exactly, about 29 seconds to include the commercial fade,” he said. “There was a 15 second version and a one minute version. At that time, I was also recording an original music CD.
“Excela Theme” makes an appearance on Marcinizyn’s 2012 album, “Blue Ride”.
Over the years, he ended up recording additional versions of the singsong melody.
“I did a version with classical guitar and piano, a solo piano version, a clarinet and orchestra version, a string version – there’s even one that’s more of an uptempo electric version,” he said.
Because he’s a Pittsburgh resident with little contact with the Excela Health System, Marcinizyn isn’t even sure which version of the “Excela Theme” the company uses as “on-hold” music.
Above all, he is happy to have been able to put his talent to good use for Excela.
“I really enjoy the creative process, exploring different musical ideas, putting things together in your imagination and getting lost in the process,” he said.
Listen to more Marcinizyn music at JohnMarcinizyn.com, or as a member of the Ferla-Marcinizyn Guitar Duo, Acoustic Swing or the Red Hot Ramblers.
Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, email@example.com or via Twitter .