By Bill Parry
The concert choir from the Frank Sinatra School for the Performing Arts in Astoria got some national exposure during the Fall Classic, backing up the school’s founder, Tony Bennett, as he sang “America the Beautiful” before the Mets series-ending loss to the Royals in Game 5. But a 2009 graduate of the Frank Sinatra school also played a role in the World Series, one that was tied to slugger Yoenis Cespedes and his walk-up song, which is played as he approaches the batter’s box.
Josefina Sola, 26, of Corona, a recording artist who goes by the name Fina, approached the star after singing the “Star Spangled Banner” before an Aug. 30 game against the Red Sox at Citi Field.
“I didn’t know very much about him, because he was the new guy that came to the Mets at the trading deadline,” Fina said. “I told him that I heard his walk-up song and thought it was old and boring.”
Fina was surprised when Cespedes challenged her to make one that was better. Fina wrote and recorded “The Power” the very next day and e-mailed the 20-second snippet to Cespedes.
“He said he loved it and on Oct. 12 it made its debut,” Fina said. “I was watching the game on TV and I thought I heard it, but then I started getting a ton of text messages from all my friends who were at the game. I was having this crazy party inside my body and I thought my mom was going to have a heart attack, she was so excited.”
The Mets bats may have gone cold during the World Series, but Fina extended the track to a full-length single that has been getting some airplay and plenty of hits on her website, finam
But in May, the Far Rockaway-born rapper was gunned down on Queens Boulevard in Briarwood.
“He was a very good and humble guy. It was very sad that he died,” Fina said. “I was one of the last people he recorded with. I was going to tour with him and perform it all summer long.”
Instead she was at home in Corona, just blocks away from Citi Field when the Mets called and asked if she would perform the National Anthem.
“I sent them a recording back in April and I actually forgot all about it. They only gave me two weeks notice,” Fina said. “Not only did they give me a chance to sing, but it was during a big game, too. I couldn’t believe how many celebrities I met that day.”
As for her performance, she knocked it out of the park.
“When I was at the Frank Sinatra school, I was classically trained and they always gave me the solos,” Fina said. “I loved it there, even though it was on two floors at the DeVry Building at LaGuardia Community College, before they moved into the new school across from the Kaufman Astoria Studios.”
Fina said she was born to sing and credits the school for classically training her as well as crafting her strong work ethic.
“I’m going to do a full-length video of “The Power” and then it’s back to the studio where the work never stops,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get an album out and then I’ll win a Grammy Award. I’m a Corona girl who’s living her dream and slowly reaching it. Nothing’s impossible when you work hard.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr