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Creature Compositions: Chapel Hill Has Musicman for Pets

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CHAPEL HILL — Do you reward your pet with a nice juicy bone or a new squeaky toy? A Chapel Hill musician suggests giving the gift of music -- an album of animal-friendly tunes.

Joe Procopio of Chapel Hill has been writing songs most of his life. When he started composing a pop song in the presence of his daughter's pet birds, he got a fan reaction he never expected.

"I tried getting it way up high, and every time I did that, the birds started chirping wildly, and a light bulb went off in my head," Procopio says.

That light bulb eventually turned into an album andWeb sitecalled Pethoven. The music is designed to appeal to pets, thanks to some very high notes.

"Music right at the very edge of our hearing," Procopio says.

Procopio is a career musician -- a guy who has played with the likes of Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin. He is a longtime teacher who recently served as band director at Chapel Hill High School. But he may be remembered most for Pethoven.

"The more I think about it, the weirder it becomes. It wasn't what I was pursuing," he says.

WRAL decided to put Procopio's opus to the test. WRAL went to a Cary pet store to see what the animals thought.

Arnie the macaw was rocking to the high-pitched beat.

But not all pets responded as well. Some ferrets seemed unfazed, and Lady the Chihuahua just wanted to get out of the room.

Procopio makes no promises.

"There's a chance your pet will be completely indifferent to it. But, that's like people too," he says.

Plenty of people are taking the chance. Pethoven has attracted national attention, pushing thousands of animal lovers to serenade their pets with Procopio's work.