"The inspiration was my Greek background," he says. "My parents always said the clarinet was a prominent instrument in Greek culture, so I started to impress them!"
Valanti has wracked up one achievement, after another, in his four years at Rush-Henrietta High School. That includes the highest scores in All-County and All-State ensembles. This year, he topped hundreds of other students from 11 states for a seat in the All-Eastern Honor Band. Valanti is a leader, not just in the school band, but the school orchestra, the jazz band, and the choir. He intends to study music in college.