Angel and Aces, Daria Matacia's jazz band, is so named because of how her husband describes her voice: angelic. The Burke resident and lifelong Northern Virginian has been singing since her Girl Scout days and now teaches voice and piano. Matacia recently added another music-oriented activity to her life: she is president of the Springfield Music Club. Recently, she sat down to answer some questions about herself and the role music plays in her life.
How long have you lived in the area? I grew up in Vienna, my dad still lives there. I went to Oakton High School and graduated from George Mason University.
Family: My dad lives in Vienna and is going to be 83 years old. My sister lives with him. I have a husband, Tom. He is an electrician and owns his own electrical company called Classical Electrics. He does all kinds of residential and commercial work … The reason why he calls it Classical Electrics is because he listens to classical music all the time. I have a cat, Brandy, and don’t have any children but I have lots of students.
Education: I majored in piano and vocal performance. I went to George Mason when it didn’t have the nice Patriot Center and all that. Now I’m going back periodically; in fact, I just finished a piano workshop, that is, continuing education with piano workshop.
Activities/interests/hobbies: Gardening, obviously my gardening and music. I love dancing. Back in the day I used to belly dance, but I don’t anymore. I learned that when I was in college.
When did you begin to perform music? I’ve been singing all my life. I started singing in church. In Girls Scouts we used to sing around the camp fire all the time. I was in all the choirs in school.
I got interested in high school; we had a jazz choir and I got interested in singing jazz then, and that’s why I like singing jazz now.
My mom was a singer too; she used to sing at weddings, and my dad sings in a choir at church. It’s called a Resurrection Choir because it’s actually for funerals.
I’ve been teaching for 17 years. I have a trio; it’s called Angel and Aces. I’m the angel. That came about because my husband says I sing like an angel and we tried to come up with something that goes with Angel so that’s how we came up with Angel and Aces … I have a bass player and a drummer and we play at the officers clubs, we played at Fort Myer and Fort Belvoir.
Role music plays in your life: Basically, music is my life. Music is what fills me and makes me happy, and I like to share it with my students and get them to enjoy it, to try to help them enjoy it as much as I do.
I’ve taken it to another level, being president of the Springfield Music Club. I just got elected to that. We are an organization of 120 teachers and we put on a Springfield festival every year.
Describe the D.C. music scene. The D.C. music scene is a very, very good thing. There is a lot going on; we are just one part of it. You’ve got hip hop, rap. Country is big here in some areas - jazz, classic rock. I think you have just about every venue available in this area. It’s difficult, with the competition, to keep going. We do well, though.
What is your favorite place to perform: Our favorite place is Fort Belvoir - the Officers Club, because it overlooks the Potomac with big picture windows. We enjoy that a lot.
Community concerns: The main thing is the speeding up and down Lee Chapel Road. People that drive too fast in this area. That is a concern I think. It’s shocking the way people drive. It’s dangerous. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized you really need to slow down and take it easy.
What is the best thing about teaching? My favorite thing about teaching is trying new things. I have a keyboard that has all the bells and whistles. It has rhythm and different sounds and you can record. I work with my students on composition. If they have songs they want to write, I help them with that. I also have software that can do theory and writing out their music, so I use that with my lessons, trying to integrate all the technology.
We work on performing because I’m a performer and I like my students to try to perform. We do the festivals and we do a nursing home. We do the mall. National music week is also part of what we do for the national federation, so our club does a performance. We did a performance at Landmark Mall.
And one of my students is really a gifted singer and she wants to try out for American Idol. So I’m helping people, whoever wants to further their career. That’s their dream. I try to help people follow their dream.
How would you most like to spend one day: A lot of time I spend in my garden, anywhere I can sit and relax and enjoy the outside. Flowers. My favorite place that we visited is Hawaii. Walk along the beach. It’s really beautiful.
What was the last book you read or the last movie you watched? The last movie was "Pirates of the Caribbean," the third one. I don’t spend a lot of time reading books, but there is a book we’re using for the workshop called “Kindling the Spark” by Joanne Haroutounian.
Roadtrip: My husband has a private pilot so we like to fly. We flew to Myrtle Beach. That was nice.
Personal goals: I’d like to record an album of all original music. I do have some songs I’d like to put together. Usually I play everyone else’s music but I’d love to do more recording. That would be a personal goal.
— Lea Mae Rice