What is your current occupation?
I am currently in rehearsal for the production ELF: THE MUSICAL for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. I play Mr. Greenway, an uptight business executive whose vision of Christmas begins and ends at the dollar sign. I expect it to sell out. For more info, check out www.fwcivic.org. I am also the organist at Zion Lutheran Church in Garrett, IN, as well as a substitute teacher at CLHS.
What led you to your current occupation?
When I was at CLHS, our Symphonic Band played an instrumental medley from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. I played trumpet. It was a difficult piece to play. My band director, Mrs. Moellering, was always challenging us and pushing us to be our best with our God give gifts. I fell in love with the music, eventually buying the original cast recording and training my voice while singing along with the songs. The following year members of our drama club, led by Mr. Kusch, went to New York City over spring break. It was my first time seeing anything on Broadway and I was caught up in all of it. One of the shows we saw was Phantom, and I picked up the piano vocal score while we were in New York. Before long I started learning how to plunk out the notes on a piano, which also eventually led to my career as an organist! God works in amazing ways, and he certainly did by laying out a path I couldn't even see then!
What was your education after Concordia?
I attended Concordia University River Forest (now Chicago) and graduated in 2004. I received a B.A in Theatre/Communications with a minor in systematic theology. Most of my education in theatre though has come from being involved in theatre. You learn by doing. Before I ever auditioned for anything, I volunteered to work backstage in any way I could. Eventually I got to know the right directors. A few years after graduation from CURF, I was acting in plays based out of Chicago. Now that I've been back home a few years, I try to audition for as much as I'm able in Ft. Wayne. And I am constantly learning! Every production I am in and every production I see gives me chances to learn and develop my own craft.
What did you love most about CLHS?
The dedication to the Fine Arts and keeping Christ at the center. Unlike many of my fellow students at the time, I did not come up through the Lutheran school system. I came from a public school that didn't put any resources into the arts. At CLHS, I was able to participate in theatre, music, video production, and strengthen the fundamentals of my faith. We were encouraged to do as much as possible. It was tricky at times with multiple rehearsals and various club meetings that sometimes ran at the same time. But the Lord watched over me and everything always worked to His glory.
What advice would you pass along to students?
Be open to learning EVERYTHING you can about as MUCH as you can. There isn't a role I have done where I didn't find a way to use something I learned in school. More importantly, pray for the Lord to guide in whatever path you take and give you patience on the way. Sometimes it may not be the path you end up on, and that's ok! Even when our career seems stuck, or things don't add up the way we thought they would, Christ will never forsake us.