While pursuing her law degree at Temple, Irene was amazed to find a host of fellow students who were also interested in music. "Lots of lawyers are frustrated performers," Irene notes, "They see lawyering as an acceptable outlet for that kind of energy." Law school talent shows provided a golden opportunity for Irene and her classmates to display their musical abilities.
After graduating from Temple in 1989 and going to work in a big Philadelphia law firm, Irene buckled down to putting in the long hours required of a new associate. Although she and some law school friends continued to "fool around" with bands, it wasn't until 1990 that Irene's innate love of performing sparked her into more serious action. She says, "It would break my heart to go places where there were female singers. I'd avoid those places because it killed me."
Acting on impulse, she contacted a voice teacher who, after hearing Irene sing, said. "There's nothing I can teach you," and offered a spot in a showcase at a bar. To her surprise--and delight--Irene won the showcase with a Bonnie Raitt song, "Thing Called Love." The prize: a recording session. Armed with the "demo" tape, Irene boldly approached the band leader at a Greek dance. He took the tape and a few days later she got the call inviting her to join the band.
Since then, Irene has sung in several different "society" bands, playing weddings, parties, and other social events. Irene's Greek-American background has been a wonderful asset, as she has worked with both Greek and "American" bands. Her repertoire includes rock, big band, and both popular and traditional Greek songs. Currently she sings with a seven-piece band called Second Vision. She says that while she loves singing rock and roll, singing elegant "torch songs" with the rich horn sound "transports her to a different era." She gets a thrill out of the reaction of guests who lived through the 1940s. "Having people respond to this music makes me feel so good." One of her proudest moments was singing before 1,000 people at the Philadelphia Convention Center to celebrate Greek Independence Day in March 1997.
Since 1992, Irene has been a law clerk for the Honorable Phyllis W. Beck, Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She now shares the position of Administrative Law Clerk with Marie Barnhurst '77. "This is the best part of the law to me: doing research, writing, solving problems and settling issues," Irene says. She lives in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania with her husband of seven years, Chris Paschos. "I can't help wanting to perform," Irene states simply, "so I do law from 9 to 5 so then I can put on great dresses and makeup and sing to people."
-- Susan Messina '86
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