Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Five For Fighting Orchestrating a...
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Five For Fighting Orchestrating a New Sound

Kristi Kates - July 14th, 2014  

Resting on one’s laurels after breaking the Top 40 wasn’t an option for pianist John Ondrasik, who hit the big time with the Grammy-nominated “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” in 2000.

Known professionally as Five for Fighting, the California native returned to the charts twice more with “100 Years” and “The Riddle.”

Now, with a new album called “Bookmarks” under his belt, he’ll not only be performing new material, but also fan favorites at his upcoming Interlochen concert.

In a bit of a twist, Ondrasik will be accompanied by an orchestra, which includes several Interlochen musicians.

EXPRESS: John, is there a specific theme to the new album? I understand that, as part of your recording process this time around, you deliberately pursued songs and sounds that you felt would be truly relevant to the music scene today.

ONDRASIK: As much as I’ve thought about writing a concept record, usually it’s ‘survival of the fittest’ songs. So ‘Bookmarks’ was no different. I do believe my albums represent certain life time periods that can be obvious, but certainly this record has a more modern tone and production than my previous records.

ONDRASIK: Certainly there is a larger dynamic and emotion that the symphony brings. I get chills at times sitting at the piano hearing them behind me. Even on the hit songs it adds a new dimension that makes a song I’ve played 5,000 times sound new again.

EXPRESS: Are there any particular songs that you think translate best to the ‘added orchestra’ format?

ONDRASIK: Well, typically the songs that have a certain arrangement already in place are obvious songs, but we also will rearrange songs to experiment. For example, the song ‘Hope’ is a orchestral/vocal presentation, which is quite different than the album version. I also have a song on ‘Bookmarks’ written specifically for symphony called ‘Symphony Lane.’

EXPRESS: I noticed you’re including some Interlochen musicians in this upcoming performance, too. Are you traveling in part with your own musicians, or are you tapping orchestras in each city?

ONDRASIK: Yeah, we’re playing with local orchestras across the country as it’s a bit too expensive to move everyone around. I do bring my own conductor to make sure we are on the same page, and of course my band members.

EXPRESS: How did the idea to match up your songs with orchestras come about?

ONDRASIK: I’ve always had a significant orchestral component to my records but rarely could present the songs live with symphony. At this point in my career, I’ve scaled back the long bus tours and looked to gigs that are a bit more fulfilling and musically ambitious. There is nothing better than playing with an orchestra, and I believe the fans also enjoy the experience.

EXPRESS: The symphony instruments add so many complex sounds to your already very melodic works – what do you like best about this?

EXPRESS: I’m sure the Interlochen audience is really looking forward to this blend of your great pop music and our local orchestra sounds. What are you personally looking forward to the most about your Interlochen show?

ONDRASIK: With a 13-year-old who’s an aspiring actress/musician, I’ve heard great things about Interlochen. I’m looking forward to seeing it firsthand, and excited to hear the Interlochen singer-songwriters who will be performing before me.

Five for Fighting (aka John Ondrasik) will be in concert on July 19 at 8pm at Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Kresge Auditorium. For more, visit tickets.interlochen.org, or visit fiveforfighting.com.

 
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