Tag Archive for Music

Norwayne Students Hit All The Right Notes With ‘Music Man’

My wife, Wendi, and I had the opportunity to see Norwayne High School drama and music students perform Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” on opening night Friday. We were joined by her parents, Bud and Dolores Breese, and her sister, Randi Breese. What a treat it was.

Music Man

Katie Moore, one of the girls with whom we go to Parkview Christian Church with (you can see her on the left side in the blue dress), was in the production. It featured Alex Miller as Prof. Harold Hill, a spellbinding con man looking to swindle the people of River City, Iowa, out of their money by selling the hopes and dreams of putting together a band (which means buying instruments, instruction manuals and uniforms), and Katie Rickey as Marian Paroo, the librarian and music teacher in town who Prof. Hill has to convince the band thing is legitimate.

My wife and I own the movie version with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones; we have seen the Matthew Broderick remake; we have seen the Broadway Series touring show; we have seen community theater productions; and my wife was in a dinner theater production of the musical.

One of the problems with putting on “The Music Man” is that Robert Preston owns the part. Everyone who takes on the challenge of bringing Prof. Harold Hill to live yet again will always be compared, unfairly, to what Preston did with the part. He played the role on Broadway and in the movie. It is tough to follow in his steps.

However, Miller did an admirable job with his performance, and he’s only in high school. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and gave the Norwayne Players and stood to applaud their efforts at the end of the performance.

“It was entertaining,” Wendi said. “I enjoyed all the students’ acting. The time and effort they put in practicing showed; they kept the audience engaged.”

There are still two performances, but I am not sure if there are tickets left. There is a 7:30 p.m. performance tonight and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets are $5 for children and students and $7 for adults.

If you cannot see the show, then have a look at the opening number:

Jim McComas leaving “Thrill on the Hill” for national position with Free Will Baptists

Pastor Jim McComas, who has been part of the Canaan Free Will Baptist Church (aka the Thrill on the Hill) for the past 25 years, will step down as senior minister at the end of February as he transitions into his new role as director of church revitalization for the National Association of Free Will Baptists in Nashville.

JimMcComas

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him for a story that appeared on The Daily Record’s Religion page Feb. 21, 2014 (read the story here). I shot video of our conversation and much of what McComas had to say appears in the story.

Some of the things that did not make it into the story concern his calling to the ministry and his favorite themes on which to preach.

McComas accepted the Lord as his savior when he was six years old during Vacation Bible School at Grace Brethren Church. By the time he was in third grade, he knew God was calling him into the ministry. He said he would preach into a tape recorder because “who wanted to hear a nine-year-old preach.”

When I asked McComas about what themes he liked to preach on, he said he could come up with a list of a hundred sins and start preaching on them. However, “If I can get them to fall in love with Jesus,” that will take care of a lot of stuff, he said.

When Doug Hunter was doing his Wayne County 365 project, McComas was one of his subjects. In Hunter’s piece, which you can read here, McComas talked about how he wanted to be known as more than just a guy in a suit to the students in the Norwayne school district. McComas touches upon that and more in our video conversation.

Check it out:

Now ‘The Ex Factor,’ Fox cancels show that put @JoshKrajcik on map

To hear Fox has canceled its singing competition show, “The X Factor,” after its third season comes as no surprise. After the first season, the Simon Cowell-led show lost its mojo. Actually, after Season 1 there was no Josh Krajcik.

Josh Krajcik and band in Orrville

Krajcik’s gruff look, his years of struggling to make it and trying to support himself slinging burritos provided a gripping and compelling back story. When he auditioned and Cowell heard him blast out Etta James’ “At Last,” there was this interesting juxtapositioning of this guy who looked like he came from the wrong side of the tracks with an incredible voice.

The same thing happened with Susan Boyle. The exterior just did not seem to match the voice within.

Can you name anyone who performed in seasons 2 or 3? Can you name the winners of seasons 2 and 3?

There were also signs not everything was going as smoothly as it should be for the show. What’s Season 1 winner Melanie Amaro up to? Has she even released a record? What about Chris Rene? See what I mean.

Krajcik was ready to go into the studio soon after finishing as the runner-up on “The X Factor.” However, it took forever for him to sign a deal. Why, who knows. Whenever The Daily Record‘s Lydia Gehring interviewed him, he never wanted to complain about how slow things were going and would only say it was the business side of it.

Further indication things might not be going as well as they could be for the show was when Krajcik’s album was finally released, it was with BMG and not L.A. Reid’s Epic Records.

No use crying over spilled milk. Season 1 introduced Krajcik to the world, and it was his version of “At Last” that captured everyone’s attention. The show served its purpose.

Here is Josh Krajcik, along with Eric French (guitar), Mitch Pinkston (bass) and Corey Gillen (drums), performing “At Last” at the Orrville Rib & Music Fest this past August.

Oldie But Goodie: @JoshKrajcik Connects with Fan in Deeply Personal Way

Editor’s note: I was reviewing the Top 10 most popular posts on The Z Section, and this one is the No. 1 blog post of all-time here. When I looked at this again, I saw the photo of Josh with Ali and immediately knew I wanted to highlight this one again. Enjoy this blast from the past.

The photo below tells me everything I need to know about Josh Krajcik, a singer-songwriter originally from Wooster, Ohio, who gained national attention with his rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at an audition for “The X Factor.”

Krajcik

Josh Krajcik speaking with Ali Booth at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton.

I was in Canton on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, to shoot video for Krajcik’s performance and CD signing at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton. I was part of The Daily Record team there to cover the event. Living Editor Lydia Gehring was there to interview Krajcik and do a story; Dan Starcher was there taking photographs; and I was shooting video.

Krajcik had just finished his acoustic set and stepped outside for a little break before signing autographs for his fans. On his way back in, he stopped to talk to Ali Booth, who works as a cashier at the Best Buy. The two met earlier in the green room.

What impressed me, and why I wanted to take the photograph, was how Krajcik treated Booth with dignity. He got down on her level so the two would be eye-to-eye when they talked. He could have easily just stood there, towering above Booth, and made some idle chatter before excusing himself. But that is not what he did.

Jane Carmichael is a long-time friend of Krajcik’s mom, Lisa Pim. Earlier in the day, we spoke about Krajcik, the album and how he knows what he wants and is working toward that goal.

Despite the success on The X Factor (he was runner-up) and the record contract, Carmichael confidently proclaimed, “He will never change. Josh will never change.” The context was that fame is not going to change the humble Krajcik.

To see something as captured in the photo above, it makes you think Carmichael is onto something.

Updated info:

The videos below are from The Daily Record’s YouTube Channel, check out the 23 Krajcik videos there. You can check out Gehring’s story, along with photos from Starcher, here. To see another post on The Z Section regarding Krajcik, click here.

Here is a slideshow from the Canton event and videos follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy Krajcik performing “Lost at Sea”:

Gehring’s interview with Krajcik, along with him performing his new single, “Back Where We Belong.”

Or, listen to Krajcik’s album on Spotify:

Never-before-seen footage of Josh Krajcik from House of Blues

Before Josh Krajcik stepped onto the stage of the House of Blues Cleveland Aug. 1, 2012, he sat down with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring to talk about a variety of subjects: The concert, the then-upcoming record, the recording sessions in Los Angeles and his backing band.

Josh Krajcik sits down with The Daily Record's Lydia Gehring.

Josh Krajcik sits down with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring.

Much of the video footage shot that night has not seen the light of day. With today being Josh Krajcik’s birthday, what better time to give his fans a glimpse behind-the-scenes.

Most of the video footage has never been seen before. Some of it appeared with a video that accompanied Gehring’s original story, which you can read here. Here is how she opened her story:

CLEVELAND — Before walking onto the stage at the House of Blues on Wednesday, “The X Factor” runner-up, Josh Krajcik, was “feeling good,” staying cool, calm and collected.

Just before playing in front of a packed venue of his fans who came to see him in only his second local performance since the show wrapped up in late December, the Wooster native and Triway graduate was doing some pre-concert relaxing in his dressing room with close friends and family. He had just had some snacks and completed a sound check.

“I’m the same guy, the same performer, I’ve always been,” Krajcik said of his post-”The X Factor” profession. “I just have better opportunities and more open doors. There are so many more things I can do now that I wasn’t able to do before.”

Today might be Josh’s birthday, but his fans are receiving this gift. Listen to the interview and tell me what you think about what the singer had to say nearly a year-and-a-half ago.

Update: This blog post was revised to include the opening paragraphs to Lydia’s story to give you a flavor of that night.

Blast from Past: Grandmother treks cross-country for @JoshKrajcik

The first time Josh Krajcik performed at McGaw Chapel on the campus of the College of Wooster September 2012, Ida Mae Lasick was there. She traveled from California to Northeast Ohio to see her favorite singer.

Uvs140119-001 Lydia Gehring, editor of The Daily Record’s Living section, documented the 68–year-old grandmother’s cross-country trek in a story. She wrote at the time:

Ida Mae Lasick traveled more than 2,450 miles to hear Josh Krajcik sing live at McGaw Chapel on Friday. The 68-year-old Penryn, Calif., resident had a crush on Elvis, but never wrote him fan mail or flew across the country to meet him. Lasick did both of those for her favorite musician — and more.

Ida Mae had contacted the newspaper wanting to know if she could hire someone on staff to record video of her trip. As much as I would have liked to earn a little extra money, the newspaper was already paying me to be there. Ida Mae wrote me a letter, and we exchanged some messages on Facebook. I kept asking her to give some time, I would get to it and do something with the video. I never did. Until today. Cherish the memories, Ida Mae, and enjoy Josh Krajcik singing your favorite song. The video is done, at last.

Are You Headed in the Right Direction

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 14:12, NIV

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I love the Tom Cochrane song, “Life is a Highway.” It is a fun, upbeat tune. I admit, I am one who does not get caught up in lyrics, unless it is a Christian song. So, don’t ask me what the song by Cochrane really means, but I will tell you want it means to me:

Life is an open book, and we can take ours wherever we want to.

We have the opportunity to strive for greatness or wallow in complacency. We can choose to do good or no good at all. It is up to us.

As for where we find direction, there is no lack of influences: Parents, preachers, friends, teachers, book, movies and bands. All of these can be positive influences, but not necessarily. People, even those with the best intentions, can fail and fall.

As it says in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Not everything is as it seems. We need to be careful and cautious.

For me, I have strayed off the straight and narrow, but a good guide for me has been God’s Word, the Bible. It helps me to stay on track. It has a lot of wonderful advice in it, and it leads us to heaven.

We’ll explore more tomorrow, but for now, enjoy Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” on Spotify:

Or, on YouTube

Josh Krajcik Connects with Fan in a Deeply Personal Way (Updated)

The photo below tells me everything I need to know about Josh Krajcik, a singer-songwriter originally from Wooster, Ohio, who gained national attention with his rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at an audition for “The X Factor.”

Krajcik

Josh Krajcik speaking with Ali Booth at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton.

I was in Canton on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, to shoot video for Krajcik’s performance and CD signing at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton. I was part of The Daily Record team there to cover the event. Living Editor Lydia Gehring was there to interview Krajcik and do a story; Dan Starcher was there taking photographs; and I was shooting video.

Krajcik had just finished his acoustic set and stepped outside for a little break before signing autographs for his fans. On his way back in, he stopped to talk to Ali Booth, who works as a cashier at the Best Buy. The two met earlier in the green room.

What impressed me, and why I wanted to take the photograph, was how Krajcik treated Booth with dignity. He got down on her level so the two would be eye-to-eye when they talked. He could have easily just stood there, towering above Booth, and made some idle chatter before excusing himself. But that is not what he did.

Jane Carmichael is a long-time friend of Krajcik’s mom, Lisa Pim. Earlier in the day, we spoke about Krajcik, the album and how he knows what he wants and is working toward that goal.

Despite the success on The X Factor (he was runner-up) and the record contract, Carmichael confidently proclaimed, “He will never change. Josh will never change.” The context was that fame is not going to change the humble Krajcik.

To see something as captured in the photo above, it makes you think Carmichael is onto something.

Updated info:

The videos below are from The Daily Record’s YouTube Channel, check out the 23 Krajcik videos there. You can check out Gehring’s story, along with photos from Starcher, here. To see another post on The Z Section regarding Krajcik, click here.

Here is a slideshow from the Canton event and videos follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy Krajcik performing “Lost at Sea”:

Gehring’s interview with Krajcik, along with him performing his new single, “Back Where We Belong.”

Or, listen to Krajcik’s album on Spotify:

MMA coming to Wooster Jam 2013 (Sorry, not that MMA)

It’s not Mixed Martial Arts, rather a blend of Music, Magic and Art coming to the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster on April 13, and I will be providing the magic.

Wooster Jam Poster 2013-540

This is the third year for the Wooster Jam, an ambitious effort to blend music and the arts. This will be my third year performing magic at the event, and I was quite surprised to see my name on the official poster.

For the second year in a row, the event will be held in conjunction with the Wooster Ethnic Fair.

Here is a little about the event from the Wooster Jam website:

The Wooster Jam is an end-of-semester celebration of music and the arts, consisting of an array of individual artists and ensembles from a myriad of art forms and media.  The gathering will take place at the historic Wayne County Fairgrounds on April 13, using several distinct and non-traditional venues. One may hear an A Capella ensemble, the Ohio Light Opera, the Cedar Valley Cloggers and the best rock music on campus – all at different venues simultaneously.  The Jam is a unique fusion of language art sound motion music and interactivity.

We are looking for participation by Visual Artists, Installation Artists, Musicians, Media Artists, Light and Sound Artists, Theatre Artists, Poets, Sculptors, Performance Artists, Laser Artists, Magicians, Electronic Artists, Drummers, Video Makers, Filmmakers, Dancers, Floral Artists, Street Performers, Culinary Artists, Ceramicists, Sculptors, Fire Artists and more to participate in our art event!

We welcome your imagination and ideas.

The Wooster Jam is organized by the Wooster Jam Inc. Board of Director under the guidance of James Levin (founding director of Cleveland Public Theatre and Cleveland’s IngenuityFest). Further information about the Jam’s staff and history can be found on our website, listed below. “The Wooster Jam Festival is currently sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council and the J.M. Smucker Company.”

Official partners for Wooster Jam 2013 are WE Fair 2013, Wayne Center for the Arts &  120 Artist Co-op.

The Wooster Jam will take place from noon to 10 p.m. on April 13 (in collaboration with the Wooster Ethnic Fair during the afternoon).

The Wooster Jam will also have food and beverages on site from local vendors.

Hope to see you there!

Learning Some Lessons About Persistence From Josh Krajcik

Josh Krajcik is well-known and well-respected as a singer, songwriter and musician in his hometown area of Wooster, but despite all of the love, he found it difficult to make a mark in the music industry. Until The X Factor.

Krajcik at COW Pixlr

Krajcik was among the performers featured on the inaugural season of the latest singing competition from Simon Cowell. The singer’s rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” went viral and catapulted Krajcik into the country’s consciousness. He was an overnight sensation after about 14 years.

Eventually, Krajcik would finish as runner-up behind Melanie Amaro. Despite the second-place finish, Krajcik seemed poised to have a better, longer-lasting career than the Amaro or third-place finisher Chris Rene. His soulful, bluesy voice, described by “The Rolling Stone” as a combination of a “young Joe Cocker, Bob Seger and old Joe Cocker, just seems to have a staying power what will not be as susceptible to changing fads.

The second season of The X Factor did not do as well as the first. After reading about some of the ratings struggles, I posted this:

Krajcik provided a compelling story line for that first season. The 30–year-old burrito slinger resigned himself to working at burrito joint and playing gigs when he could. Then came the audition for The X Factor. Once that aired, it looked as if it would be smooth sailing: Incredible voice; incredible talent; and incredible response.

Despite turning in wonderful performances and being a fan favorite, trying to get a contract signed and album recorded was very trying. Even though Krajcik wanted things to move at a faster pace, he was always able to separate the business side from the music side.

Whenever Lydia Gehring of The Daily Record would interview him (and I would shoot video, as in the photo above), Krajcik always remained upbeat that something would happen soon. Well, finally something is happening. He released an EP on iTunes, and it was a top seller. He recently announced his new album, “Blindly, Lonely, Lovely,” to be released April 2. (You can preorder it through this Amazon affiliate link: Blindly Lonely Lovely.)

“The Rolling Stone” had a reader’s poll, and Krajcik’s album came in as the sixth-most anticipated release of 2013, behind U2, Pearl Jam, David Cook, Arcade of Fire and Queens of the Stone Age. (I can understand being behind U2 and Pearl Jam, but not the other three.) To understand how impressive this is, consider the rest of the Top 10: Black Sabbath, Brittany Spears, Tool and Lady Gaga all finished behind Krajcik.

Until Krajcik demonstrates he can sell records (or digital downloads), all he has done is shown a potential. However, he is in a position to be successful because he never quit, he never gave up, he pursued a music career on his own terms and played with the hand he was dealt. We can learn about persevering from watching what he has done.

In the times I have been with Krajcik (and he has been generous with his time at the Cleveland House of Blues and College of Wooster concerts), he never complained about what was happening on the business side of the ledger. Instead, he focused on those things he could do.

Life might put up obstacles in your way, but let’s focus on what we can do and start there.

Check out this video I shot and edited featuring Lydia Gehring interviewing Josh Krajcik:

Updated April 5, 2013: Listen to the first five minutes of this video. Everything Krajcik was talking about in September is playing out right now, including the promotional tour.