I was a guy who was too afraid to sing in the shower for fear that my family would hear me and tell me to shut up. But, in August 2004, I found myself in front of a microphone for the first time in my life at Nye's Piano Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had decided that if I didn't try it at that time that I'd regret it for the rest of my life.
I heard my name called by the pianist at Nye's. Lou Snider had been the pianist there for close to 40 years and knew how to make a new singer feel comfortable. As a matter of fact, my mother used to go down to Nye's to sing with Lou. I grabbed the microphone and the lyrics book. As I fumbled to find the words for Unforgettable, Lou asked me what key I wanted to sing in. I didn't have a clue. She had me sing a couple of the opening words and quickly found my key. I held the book up high enough to hide my face and my shaking hand held the mike up to my mouth. After I finished singing, I was surprised to hear very loud applause. Of course, their applause encouraged me to sing another song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco. The applause after my second song sounded thunderous to me and I was hooked!
I returned to Nye's every weekend for two months until I got up the courage to audition for Amahl and The Night Visitorsa mini-opera put on by the Woodbury Community Theatre in Woodbury, MN. I was not exactly looking to do an operaI was just trying to find any musical that was currently looking for my talents. I won the part of a singing and dancing shepherd (singing very high tenor). The experience in Amahl gave me the courage to audition a second time, and I earned the part of one of four male lead singers in The Original Broadway 'Swing'. It was in this show that I learned how to scat.