Indiana University Auditorium Will Be “Home Sweet Home” For Opportunity Village’s Michael Carlo


Michael and Vanessa

Accompanied by their vocal coach, Daryll Borges, Michael and Vanessa perform a duet in the Opportunity Village music studio. | Photo Credit: TOMMY WARD/R-JENERATION 

Michael was born in Cleveland, Ohio with a deep love of music. He later moved to Las Vegas with his parents, Rosie and Mark, in 1997.  Shortly after that, he welcomed his brother, Vito, to the family.  The brothers are very close despite the age difference (8 years), and Vito is his number one supporter among his ever-growing fanbase.

He first showed inklings of his talent as a toddler when he tapped out music on his Little Tykes Piano.  From there, he graduated to bigger and better pianos and now uses a full-sized keyboard.  Michael has an ear for music and amazingly taught himself how to play the piano.  He has even accomplished the feat of playing the keyboard and singing at the same time.  For the past two years Michael has been taking private music lessons in piano and vocals at Opportunity Village with Music Mentor Daryll Borges. Now, with the aid of ear plugs, and Daryll’s encouragement, he has moved to playing the drums and twirls the sticks with the intense passion of his favorite drummers, Peter Criss (of KISS) and Tommy Lee (of Mötley Crüe)!

Though in the beginning he wasn’t as extroverted, Mike has now developed a presence in front of the audience that can only be described as FEARLESS and COMMANDING!  He has performed for Anthony Kennedy Shriver and also at this year’s Flash Mobs for Friendship with Best Buddies Nevada.  Most recently, he hit the stage at the Opportunity Village show “OVATION” in Las Vegas and left the audience clamoring for more!  Michael’s love for classic heavy metal can be seen in his impressions of his rock star heroes. He dons his blonde wig to channel Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil and stalks the stage like Gene Simmons while belting out KISS.

When he’s not enthralling audiences with song, he is wowing art lovers with his painting. In fact, Michael also works at Opportunity Village earning a paycheck as an artist in their Fine Arts Program. He is a charismatic and prolific artist with a passion for pop culture, specifically movies and rock and roll.  In his artwork, he focuses intensely on imagery from one specific  movie, actor, band or musician for a long period of time.  He most recently started hand-painting silk ties, which are becoming the most popular sale item in the program and flying off the shelves.

Brimming with talent for music and painting, he can’t wait to encourage others with intellectual and developmental disabilities that they can be (rock) stars as well. Mike is incredibly grateful to be part of the Best Buddies Leadership Conference (July 19-22) this year in front of his biggest audience yet!

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About Best Buddies

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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