After spending some time talking to alumnus Christo Pellani (pronounced like the start of Christopher), you may feel the desire to start “living in the moment” and practicing the art of mindfulness as a way of life. As a life and health coach, expressive therapist, and sound healing practitioner in Los Angeles, Christo has created a unique approach to therapeutic arts services. In addition to being a master drummer, he uses specialized acoustic musical instruments with evolutionary protocols and techniques learned from the Tama-Do (“The Way of the Soul”) Academy of Color Sound and Movement, where he is a certified practitioner and teacher. Christo compares sound healing as similar to other forms of alternative services like drama, art, or dance therapy. More information about the Tama-Do Academy can be found online at tama-do.com.
In 2000, Christo founded his life’s work and vision, Soundformation, with a mission to share innovative products and resources for personal growth, creative expression, and wellness. Soundformation promotes mindfulness by creating retreats, experiential seminars, play-shops, classes, and events to uplift, inspire, and create a sense of community and healing. Christo created the Heart Rhythm Community Outreach Project, a therapeutic drumming service affiliated with schools, shelters, and various non- profit community organizations to expand this effort.
As an expressive therapist, he combines his love of sound, music, theatre, and meditation to create a dynamic community of integrated productions. As a vehicle for these events, Christo co-created the Possible Dream Players—a unique musical theatre ensemble for people with various developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.
Christo is the drummer for “The Beatles Yoga”, a multi- media production which includes a 7-piece band, rare film clips and video, and an informative lecture from venerable author of American Veda, Phil Goldberg. The band was formed in 2012 by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and Bhakti rock artist, Joey Lugassy. The mission of this unique production is to “illuminate the Fab Four’s spiritual journey and celebrate them as ambassadors of India’s timeless wisdom and creators of unforgettable songs.”
Christo was raised in rural western Pennsylvania and attended Penn State Altoona for two years, earning an associate’s degree in Letters, Arts & Sciences before transferring to University Park to complete his bachelor of science degree in Recreation and Parks. Christo stated, “Though enriched by the great curriculum at Penn State, my big dream was to tour the world as a performing drummer in a world-class rock band.” After graduating college, he set out to follow that dream. A social worker by day and performer by night, Christo honed his skills by playing in Washington, D.C. and East Coast clubs and festivals at night.
In 1985, after deciding not to complete an advanced degree in expressive therapy, Christo relocated to Los Angeles to follow his music dream. After many years of playing with the likes of Mary Wells, The Shirelles, Ronnie Spector, and countless auditions, he landed a gig touring the world with pop legends Air Supply. Although it felt like a dream come true, he found that once he had “made it,” he was ultimately not fulfilled in his life’s purpose.
Christo has since expanded his skills as a drumming facilitator and healer earning various certifications in the energetic healing arts. He came back to social work to facilitate services as an expressive therapist. He credits his desire to help the disabled and his interest in serving others with his formative experiences as a recreation specialist for three summers at the Ebensburg State School and Hospital, a now defunct state-operated institution.
When asked to reflect back on his Penn State experience, he noted that he had not anticipated a career in social work and sound healing. He stated that so many people talk about “getting there,” but he found that “getting there” involves finding peace of mind, loving what one does, and creating and discovering ways to serve and help others. Christo continued and said, “It is in the journey—not so much the destination. When ambition gives way to service, one finds the true meaning of success.”
His suggestion to any young student at Penn State Altoona is to “follow your heart’s dream, find your passion, and channel it to serve the world and help make it a healthier place for others.” Years later, his Recreation and Parks degree from Penn State still helps him today as he seeks new ways to help people as an expressive therapist.
To learn more about Christo Pellani and his various community services for personal growth, creative expression, and wellness, visit soundformation.com. Video and photos of Soundformation projects can be found online at soundformation.com/community-resources.