PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Many children are encouraged by parents and teachers to try out a musical instrument. But, in the Slivon household, it was a requirement.
Says John Slivon, manager of Bowen Realty in Port St. Lucie: “All three of us children (he’s the youngest) were required to play instruments. My sister played piano and sang in the choir. My brother play trumpet in a band, and I sang and played trumpet as well.”
When in junior high school, Slivon’s talent became obvious. “I sang in the choir and was in the orchestra for our junior high play, which was 42nd Street. My parents came to watch one night, and they couldn’t believe I was up there singing and dancing. My mom was so excited about my talent.”
In fact, Slivon went to a private high school to explore his talents. “I played two varsity sports and decided to try out a drama class,” he says.
Slivon’s big break came when, after college, he was auditioning in Italy and being signed for the leading role of Freddie in an all-Italian production of My Fair Lady. When he got on stage for his audition, he sang “On the Street Where You Live” in Italian (which he didn’t speak at the time).
“Half the guys in the room walked out,” recalls Slivon, laughing. That was in 1993, and that year he completed 160 performances in 60 different cities throughout Italy.
“Once I came back to the United States, I was bitten hard by the performance bug,” he adds.
He was a gardener by day and took voice lessons at night. Finally, Slivon secured a temporary job with Raytheon in Princeton, N.J. While in Princeton, he worked with a famous voice coach. The coach was in a tearing-down process to build Slivon back up as a baritone-tenor when he died in 2000.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Slivon says. “I didn’t feel like I could sing or control my voice, so I just stopped.”
A few years later, Slivon packed up and moved to Florida, where he became a Realtor.
“I got my first listing and sold it in two weeks, and I thought, ‘Wow, real estate is easy,’” he laughs. Then, the housing market crashed, and Slivon worked hard to survive. Now, he’s the manager of the second firm he’s ever worked for, and he has served his local Realtor association in volunteer leadership since 2007. He was the 2017 president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
The women in Slivon’s life have inspired him in all that he’s done.
“My mother is a survivor of a Japanese prisoner of war camp,” he says. “She always pushed me to do better. I also have a sister, five years older than me, who has been inspirational. My first voice teacher was female; my drama teacher was female. All the influential people in my life have been women.”
Slivon doesn’t do much singing or acting these days. He’s too busy traveling with his wife and working in real estate.
However, he says, “No one can take music away from you. As you battle through time, you realize that you may not reach all of your goals, but I’ve had a great experience. Maybe I’ll start voice lessons again. Real estate is a job that allows for that!”