Song and Dance Man

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I have been asked to digitally preserve a number of videotapes containing theatrical performances for a local actress whose career spanned decades and over 60 stage shows at various venues. Most of them musicals. I love getting these jobs.

As an actor, I always envied the triple threat people… you know, the ones who could act, sing, AND dance. Myself, I was more of a threat and a half kind of performer. I could act, and move across the stage without tripping over my feet. Singing was something I reserved primarily for showers and while stopped at red lights.

But the desire was always there. And sometimes desire, if left unchecked, will overrule common sense. And so one day I found myself auditioning for the lead of a musical – a community theatre production of They’re Playing Our Song. The audition song I used was one I had written for myself while in college, something I prepared in the unlikely event I was ever asked to sing in order to be considered for a role. I called it The Audition Song and it began like this:

I can act my way from a paper bag,
Quote Shakespeare til I’m blind.
But there’s one thing that I must confess:
I can’t sing worth a dime.
But I can sell it… any song that I sing.
Gotta sell it… just to make the voice ring.
I will sell it… so that you’ll never know
When I open my mouth, out comes a sound like a crow.

While I may have been crazy to think I would ever be considered, I know with all certainty that the directors were crazy when they decided to cast me. I was now the lead of a musical. It was my Gene Kelly fantasy come true.

Truth be told, I had a blast working the show and my performance of the titular number was, in all modesty, the evening’s showstopper. My singing never did improve but boy did I “sell” the heck out of my numbers. One reviewer put it like this, “Mr. Ondrasik does not let his untrained voice stand in the way of enjoying himself onstage.”  I took that as a compliment. It was, wasn’t it?

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio cassettes, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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Spring Fest is Here!

 

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Mount Dora is well deserving of its reputation of being a festival city. It can sometimes feel as if every weekend brings another opportunity to celebrate something of note.

During various times of the year we play host to an Arts Festival, a Crafts Fair, a Storytelling Festival, a Blueberry Festival, a Seafood Festival, a Bicycle Festival, a Plant Fair, and multiple Christmas events just to name a few.

Mount Dora’s Spring Fest kicks off this weekend.  I know because one of the exhibitors was in my studio yesterday with a rush order. He needed extra copies of his CD which he will be making available to attendees who stop by his booth. Turns out he is an interesting man who shared his story with me and permitted me to repeat it here.

His name is Colin MacLeod, a native Scot living most recently in Australia. A former accountant whose love of music and its properties has compelled him to pursue that passion as his new profession. Over the past years he has traveled the world, performing and teaching the celtic fiddle to appreciative audiences and students. Dubbing himself the Celtic Fiddle Guru, he has launched an International Executive MBA of Life Program (where the MBA stands for Music Business Adventure.)

And this weekend, he’ll be found right here on the streets of Mount Dora, delighting Spring Fest goers with his engaging style and music. If you happen to be coming to town for the festival, be sure to look him up. He’ll be the one in the kilt.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Up With People

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A woman walked into my studio today with a small order. It was a single tape containing kids’ songs she recorded.  Songs for kids, sung by kids. She wanted to digitalize them so her grandkids could continue to enjoy the same songs that her kids enjoyed when they were growing up.

It made me think back on the songs I listened to… not as a teen, but as a child when I basically had to listen to whatever my parents were playing.

My dad liked marches.  Every morning, growing up in the suburbs of Washington DC, he played a local am station whose gimmick was to start each day with a military march. It certainly woke me up in the morning and got me to school on time, but it also instilled in me (because of his example) a deep sense of patriotism. Anytime I hear a march, I think of him and his strength and integrity.

I remember an album my mom would play called Up With People. It featured a singing group of young, wholesome, clean-cut Americans singing about the ideals of the country in which we lived.  I must have heard that record hundreds of times. I heard it so much growing up that I can still, 50 years later, remember the lyrics of many of their songs.  Here’s one, typed from memory:

Up, up with people… You meet them wherever you go.

Up, up with people… They’re the best kind of folks you know.

If more people were for people… all people everywhere,

There’d be a lot less people to worry about

And a lot more people who care.

Sure, it may sound a bit cheesy… but when you get right down to the heart of the message, doesn’t that paint a picture of the kind of world we would all like to live in? There’s nothing to say we can’t. We just have to first be the change we want to see in others. Speak kindly. Be gracious towards others. You know… the Golden Rule. It still works if we just choose to apply it. #UpWithPeople.

 

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevidestudio.com/mtd.