Singing Her Truth
September 24, 2010
In her own words, Sharen Robertson '99 has "had a tough go of it."
She grew up in a house with domestic violence, became a teenage bride, and spent her 20s raising four babies.
She is a survivor of domestic violence herself. After a 30-year abusive marriage, she finally summoned the courage for a divorce in 2007.
Then in 2008, her 20-year-old son, her father and her dog died within a month of each other. One rainy August afternoon, Robertson's son, Carmelo Cacciatore Jr., was driving home from work when he lost control of his car and hit a tree. He was killed instantly.
"He was here one minute, gone the next. As you can imagine, I was broken, completely devastated.
"That's when my singing started," Robertson said.
A year later, she was laid off from Randolph Public Schools.
But since then, she has started over. And she is doing it through song.
"I love expressing myself, because for years I couldn't. I couldn't ruffle feathers because (I thought), ‘Well, what will happen to me if I speak up?' So now, I need to be able to speak my truth," said Robertson, 50, of Wareham, Mass.
Her album, "Whisper on the Wind" is written for and dedicated to her son.
Robertson has had articles written about her in various newspapers, interviews on radio stations all over the country, and was invited to close out a three-day benefit concert for survivors of domestic violence in Buffalo, N.Y. recently with her song, "I Won't Cry."
She was invited to sing her popular song, "Give Us Back," a song about the BP oil spill, at the Spill into Washington D.C. Rally, a peace march, on Labor Day weekend.
The song has been getting radio play in stations in the Gulf Coast area, as well as small private stations in New England and out west, Robertson said.
Robertston writes her songs then sings them with the musical accompaniment of Joe Merrick at his studio in Middleboro. She produces the music herself.
"The words. That's what my music comes down to," said Robertson. "The music has given life to my words."
Robertson credits Stonehill for helping her start over.
After graduating from the College's evening division program at age 40 in 1999 with a degree in humanities, Robertson was accepted to Harvard, where she earned a Master's in Education degree.
"Stonehill was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. It was the most wonderfully supportive environment that I had ever encountered. I thought I had died and went to Heaven. What a wonderful, intellectual community. I wish I could go back in time and be in Stonehill again," she said. "Stonehill got me into Harvard. Stonehill helped me become the person I am today."
"My professors and advisors helped me see the potential in myself. Pat Brinegar, my advisor, was amazing. Professor Gary Highlander (history) was one of my favorite teachers. John Lanci (religious studies), Tom Clark (religious studies & history), Anthony Celano (philosophy)-all those professors really gave me the foundation for being creative. They made me feel I could be successful," she said.
"It was the fact that I was successful at Stonehill that gave me confidence, and laid the foundation for my life after that," Robertson said. "Stonehill was a pivotal transition in my life. I wouldn't have done what I did without graduating from Stonehill."
Today, Robertson is working at the tutoring center she founded in Middleboro, called Stories Literacy Center, and is the grandmother to three little girls. Her daughter Cathy (Cacciatore) Semino graduated Stonehill in 2003. She also has two sons, Al Cacciatore, 32, and John Cacciatore, 25.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.