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Surviving The Fire - Michelle Lordi

Michelle Lordi 1Michelle Lordi is a Philadelphia native and Jazz vocalist, who has received international attention and heavy rotation on jazz radio stations far & wide for her recording projects. She has performed at many performance venues, Jazz clubs and festivals such as the Mann Music Center, The Kimmel Center, Birdland (NYC), DazzleJazz (Denver, CO), BluJazz ( Akron, OH) Bop Stop (Cleveland, OH) and Cliff Bell's (Detroit, MI). Michelle Lordi is an educator and has taught private vocal lessons for children and adults with Kimmel Center's Jazz Standards Program and Paul Green School of Rock. She has also curated musical events at the Abington Art Center, Barnstock and Vintage Bar & Grill. Michelle Lordi is cofounder of Bandwagon Excursions, an entertainment service that provides transportation and more to Jazz and other cultural events in NYC and beyond.


In late December during the Holiday Season, Michelle Lordi and her family experienced a tragedy. This is video from the television news.

The following are Michelle Lordi's own words describing her ordeal...


"It had been an especially sweet Christmas and I spent the afternoon of December 26th, 2017 in domestic bliss - cooking & preparing for friends to come over to celebrate little Leo’s first birthday that evening.


My son John had asked me for Christmas, if he could Uber to Dallesandro’s and meet a friend and eat a cheesesteak. He and his friend, Henry had returned safely and were out and about on our property being remarkably helpful  – chopping firewood for the wood stove and riding our tractor around to get everything done for the party.


Our children, Vivian and Leo were in the house playing with our babysitter, Nani. Mac was up at his office working and playing the Rolling Stones, loud.


Michelle Lordi FireAround 2:30 pm our house fire alarm sounded. (This unfortunately is not an on common experience when I am the cook ) but when I checked the alarm panel it said “fire attic” I yelled to Mac and he ran to check as I got the kids & dog out of the house and tried to quiet the alarm.  ( at this point, I still thought it might just be my cooking smoke that had set it off) When I stepped outside, I saw my son and his friend running towards me and smoke pouring from our roof.


I ran back in to get Mac and he was already on his way down the stairs calling 911.


I grabbed my son’s car seat, Bose sound system (my essentials!) from beside the door and ran out. I dropped the car seat and Bose on the patio and then reentered the house.


I stood there and thought, this is real. I looked around. The house smelled like Christmas – Pine and orange and cinnamon and clove and allspice. There were three, no four different dishes cooking away and the house was all set up ready to receive our guests. A little snowman cake was there for Leo’s first birthday-I stood there and thought what can I grab that matters? My heart went to the boxes of photographs and memorabilia on the second floor in my office – the hard drives with all my music In the bedroom - my husband's work journals... for a moment I started up the stairs to the second floor to rescue a special box containing photographs of my eldest son’s childhood photos and his deceased fathers photos and letters... But then, I smelled a different and awful smell and looked up and saw a blanket of smoke descending and the ceiling glowing molten red and ran as fast as I could out of the fire.


We were all out safely. Mac took the little ones and Nani and the car away from the site and down to the bottom of the old Ford Road. John and I stood together and watched the Fire trucks arrive.


Police came. Firefighters came. The hoses sat slack for an eternity as the firemen tried to figure out how to get access to our oddly located lot.


We watched the roof fall. We watched the second floor burn. I watched the black smoke curl outside the window of my office that contains so many pictures and memories that cannot be replaced.


There is so much lost.
But it is not us, it is not the deepest kind of loss.


Michelle Lordi 3


Since the fire, There has been an overwhelming outpouring of love and care from our community. The excellent organization, Jazz Bridge has set up a charitable fund for tax deductible donations. CLICK HERE TO GIVE


The very fine Commissioner John Spigelman ( Abington Ward #11) set up a gofundme for us. CLICK HERE TO GIVE


There have been a thousand kindnesses since the fire - small and large.  


So many DEAR friends, family members, ANC and BACS teachers and families, Neighbors and our "Vintage Family" of listeners and musicians have rallied and supported us. I am grateful beyond words - and humbled by the grace that we have witnessed by the outpouring of support and our safety and health.

It is such a strange and wondrous thing to have some of your best moments feeling so loved and cared for around an experience of loss like this.

Thank you for your help, I just want to remind you to: digitize your family photos / get an alarm / get a fire safe / check your smoke detectors / make sure you are insured / to just look at you and be happy to be alive and THANK YOU AGAIN."



Michelle Lordi at work singing and spreading joy:


Once again, to support Michelle Lordi and her family, feel free to donate at:






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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.