DECATUR — Michael Scherer wears many hats in his line of business, but the musician will soon slip into the role of pianist back on stage.
Decatur native Scherer will perform at the Decatur Celebration on the Central Park Stage on Friday evening.
Scherer, a graduate of the Jim Culbertson/Steve Schepper era MacArthur jazz band, said the program formed the foundation for his future career.
“(Culbertson and Schepper) were very disciplined,” he said. “'C' (Culbertson) was always on the mark, but it was the key that I needed. He knew how to develop people into musicians.”
Scherer graduated from Millikin University with a degree in commercial music, which he has parlayed into several job opportunities. One of those came in the form of a Korean production crew filming in Illinois. Scherer was hired on to compose the music for the film, titled “Slap Down.” Scherer said he and business partner Zach Garrett studied film scoring through Berklee College of Music online, so the production allowed him to put his extra training to use.
“That was a cool experience, being able to work with the director and (crew members) and finding out what their vision is,” he said. “The music ended up shaping a lot of the scenes as they were filming.”
Beyond cinematic endeavors, Scherer used his degree to form Dreamvizion Productions, a sonic branding company, along with Garrett. The team helps other businesses develop promotional tones and jingles, he said.
“It’s finding what’s a really creative way of branding a business that defines them through sound,” he said. “We do on-hold music and messaging as well.”
However, Scherer and Dreamvizion also produce studio albums with different artists. Scherer himself has produced five albums; he created his first and second albums, piano and gospel/hip-hop, respectively, at Millikin. His third album, “Exceeding Expectations,” hit national charts. He has also produced a second piano album and a Christmas album.
Scherer is now working on his sixth album, “That’s the Life,” which he and Garrett are in the process of mixing. Scherer will perform portions of the album, which features Scherer on piano and Garrett on guitar, during his Celebration performance, he said.
“It’s a mixture of smooth jazz and some funky songs, adult contemporary stuff, but it’s all instrumental,” he said.
The Celebration performances will encompass a variety of genres including jazz, funk and blues and will include an eight-piece band, Scherer said.
“We’ve got a drummer, a Latin percussionist, a keyboard bass player, two guitar players, a saxophonist, a vocalist and then myself on piano,” he said. “So it’s going to be a nice group.”
Group members include Zach Garrett (guitar), Arthur Hinton (vocals), Adam Blakey (saxophone), Dion Wilson (guitar), Kyle Lovett (keyboards/bass), Myra Johnson (Latin percussion) and Will Hood (drums).
Inspired by her mentor with New Age influences, and influenced by her love of artists as diverse as Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz and Sheryl Crow, Barbara began composing her own songs. Her debut album, “Second Act,” was born from this fusion of sound. Long versions of her "Second Act" album have been produced into a 60-minute spa CD, "Sweet Autumn Splendor."
The CD's and her newly released singles (July 2013) are available on iTunes, Amazon and at cdbaby.com/Barbaragraff2
Released on June 3, 2013 the award-winning album “All the Days of My Life” is a collection of instrumental solo piano music that gives contemporary expression to the timeless wedding classics. Produced by Windham Hill founder and Grammy Award winner William Ackerman, this recording is Vicente Avella’s solo piano album debut. CD’s and digital downloads are available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.
Through working with couples over the years, Avella encountered an ever-growing need for music that gave a current expression to the traditional wedding classics. “This inspired me to create this album: a collection of piano music that embraces both the traditional and the contemporary”, he says.
In William Ackerman’s words “There is a freshness to Vicente’s approach to this material that utterly avoids cliché and provides depth and beauty in its place… a remarkable achievement”. Kathy Parsons of Mainly Piano calls it “An impressive project” and “a welcome addition to wedding music repertoire”.
Awarded for Instrumental Performance Solo, Album and Cover/Art/Graphics at the 2013 Global Music Awards, “All the Days of My Life” was described by the judging committee as “Stunningly performed, fresh, beautifully arranged and magical”.
As Michael Diamond of Music and Media Focus says, “While the album features many classic songs, this compilation of Vicente’s performances of them could well become a classic in itself”.
Mr. Avella has been writing and performing internationally since 1998. The Boston Globe described his composition work as "good taste unto genius”. He has scored numerous independent films, orchestrated and worked on music production for major network television shows including Family Guy (FOX) and American Dad (FOX), and written music for worldwide advertising. His music has received multiple accolades.
To find out more visit, www.vicenteavella.com
The pianist and composer from St. Paul, MN known as Jennifer Theuer Ruzicka has re-released her 2012 LP record album, “Earth Sky,” on Alchymie records. The album contains eight original tracks over approximately 30 minutes of gorgeous, instrumental music composed entirely by Ruzicka, herself. It is mastered by Chris Graham.
“Earth Sky” is primarily focused on piano, but has elements of ambient and experimental electronica, also. These digital attributes serve to blend Ruzicka's piano pieces into one cohesive, organic whole, adding contour and abstract shape for a listening experience that is full and lush, like nature, itself. Ruzicka's tone is evenly divided throughout the sonic spectrum, sometimes warm, sometimes cool, but always consistently pleasant, vibrant and alive.
The biotic atmosphere of “Earth Sky” is not accidental. Ruzicka, herself, calls her LP an ambient, meditative project that is based on the visual, emotional and sensory experience that both the earth and the sky can impart.
“Through music,” she writes, “we are able to experience the interconnectedness of our earth, our sky, our senses and perhaps ourselves.”
Each of the eight tracks on “Earth Sky” are representative of a natural segment of earth or sky. In order, they are named in Czech (here translated): “Sunrise,” “Clouds,” “Rapeseed,” “Trees,” “Water,” “Poppies,” “Sunset,” and “Stars.” These compositions flow into one another exactly like seasons intertwining, or like the light of the sun passing over the eternally revolving globe. The music of “Sunrise” resonates gradually into a crescendo that welcomes the listener to the rest of the album, while “Sunset” fades into calm like the slowing of a child's music box, until the sonic space that is left ushers in Ruzicka's final piece, appropriately titled, “Stars.” The sheer majesty of this finale is not unlike that of the stars, themselves, and like the return of spring after annual snowfall, the listener will almost certainly want to begin the record anew from Track 1 at its placid conclusion.
Ruzicka has played and toured for independent and major label artists in the USA and in Europe, such as international R&B recording artist Alexander O’Neal, Paisley Park recording artist David “T.C.” Ellis, and Mallia “The Queen of Funk” Franklin, from the original Brides of Funkenstein. She has also performed with legendary Czech artists such as Pavel Bobek, Ilona Csakova, Karel Sucha, Helena Vondrackova, and the well-known alt-rock jazz group, Laura a jeji tygri (Laura and Her Tigers). She continues to collaborate with artists from the USA, Czech Republic, and England.
Jennifer Theuer Ruzicka's LP record album “Earth Sky” is available online worldwide.
Staff Press Release Writer
The LP “Earth Sky” is distributed globally by MondoTunes ( HYPERLINK "http://www.MondoTunes.com/" \n _blankwww.MondoTunes.com) and is available at iTunes for convenient purchase and download
Two solo piano pieces composed on consecutive days by Brian Kelly for an album and songbook currently in production.
Amy Lauren's sixth CD release is now available. Based on the picturesque northern shoreline of Lake Superior and the surrounding Great Lakes, "On Water" takes the listener through the profoundly spiritual and eloquently quiet, yet powerful and ever changing, element of water. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Grammy award winning engineer Brett Huus, the sounds and overtones of this recording paint a realistic portrait of the mysterious and stunningly beautiful North Shore. Please visit amylaurenpiano.com for more information.
This concert features Whisperings artists Louis Landon (New York), Amy Janelle (Sedona, AZ) and Tim Glemser (Gilbert, AZ).
LOUIS LANDON is a Steinway Artist and has dedicated his life to music. His passion is for peace. His career has taken him around the world playing a variety of styles with some of the most recognized names in the entertainment industry: classical music for Mikhail Baryshnikov on national and international tours, Latin music with "Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers" on national and international tours, pop music with Rupert "Pina Colada Song" Holmes on television and national tours, rock & roll with John Hall, opening for "Little Feat" on national tours. For the past 23 years, through his production company, Landon Music, he has written and produced music for film, video, and commercials, including three years of "best plays" and "bloopers" commercials for the National Basketball Association. Not long ago, Landon realized that his music - the solo piano compositions that bring him so much joy and peace, could surely bring joy, and particularly peace, to millions around the world. Louis Landon's mission is to create a more loving and peaceful world by writing, recording and performing, music from the heart. He has released 11 CDs on the LCI record label and has just finished recording his latest album project entitled Peaceful Solo Piano from the Heart.
AMY JANELLE's debut album was released in November 2010. Her healing, soothing and peaceful solo piano and vocal music has touched the hearts of many and is heard on several radio stations including Pandora, Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Sky.fm and Solopiano.com. She performs in her hometown of Sedona, Arizona, as well as across the country.
TIM GLEMSER grew up listening to the music of George Winston, Michael Jones, and David Lanz. He began piano lessons as a young teen. Once he was allowed to learn "new age" pieces, he fell in love with the genre. He wanted to do that also - to create music that emits story and emotion. Tim earned his B.A. in Music from Arizona State University, started his own studio for piano and voice students, and then finally turned his attention back to composing his own music. The result of this was "Painted Echoes", his debut solo piano album that was released in December 2011. His goal was to assemble a collection of emotional melodies that would evoke nostalgia and pastoral simplicity. The album gained outstanding reviews and earned him a spot in the Whisperings solo piano artist community. His music can be heard on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, along with other online radios and the Soundscapes channel on Music Choice satellite radio. Tim lives in Arizona with his wife and two children. He is currently working on compositions for his next album.
Tickets are $15/$10 advance and $20/$15 at the door