The Bible has played a big part in Jim and Debbie Schmitt’s work for the last seven years, so it’s no surprise their newest music CD is the story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, titled “Israel’s Colorful Boy.”
The CD is part of the musical “Good Shepherds,” one of six musicals with a common theme composed by Jim and E.A. Messenger in a series called “A Simple Ode.”
“Israel’s Colorful Boy” is released just in time to coincide with the return of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to the Auditorium Theater this weekend. The Schmitts are both adjudicators for the theater.
“Israel’s Colorful Boy” tells the story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and his father Jacob. Like the other five musicals in the series, the newest musical has an upbeat modern flair that appeals to all ages.
The story of Joseph is performed by a cast of 13 local singers who bring the story to life through the use of a variety of tempos and musical styles, narrated by the youthful character, Rare Bird.
Among the local singers are Oakfield native Nancy Fancher, Matt Mayne of Medina, Joe Kusmierczak of Bergen and Jennifer Neroni Trupo of Lyndonville.
The Schmitts, who live in Lyndonville, have been involved in the music and entertainment industry all their lives, and have been entertaining together since they met.
He went to school with her sister in Rochester. In 1976, Debbie was already playing and singing in local nightclubs when she asked her agent if he thought two keyboards would be a hit together. She and Jim were booked at Captain’s Cove in Fairport, and they have been a team ever since.
They were married in 1976 and have four daughters, including Becky Parmenter of Batavia.
Early in his career, Jim performed in one of the first productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the National Theater of the Deaf.
“At the time, Andrew Lloyd Weber had released early rights to an exclusive group, and we were one of them,” Jim said.
When the Schmitts moved to Lyndonville in 1988, they naturally became involved in Lake Plains Players. They have done productions for their community, including “This Man” in the elementary school gymnasium, followed by “Gettysburg” and “King David.”
Much of the Schmitts’ work is available on CD with completely illustrated companion books and scripts.
They have won a number of awards for creativity, marketing and original music from the Association of Marketing Communication and Professionals.
“Usually it’s just the big networks who submit work for these awards, so for us to win anything is amazing,” Debbie said.
The Schmitts became involved in their latest endeavor when Walt Blatter, owner of Castle Products where the Schmitts lease space for their recording studio, introduced them to composer E.A. Messenger of South Carolina. Messenger had created the stories and song ideas, but didn’t know how to develop them.
Jim took the initial material and put all of it to music, including writing the arrangements and orchestrations.
“I actually structured the entire musical,” Jim said.
The six phases in the series “A Simple Ode” are “The Garden,” a modern Adam and Eve with a light-hearted twist; “Whelmed;” “The Ark;” “Good Shepherds;” “The Four Horsemen;” and “Reunion.”
Schmitt has set “The Four Horsemen” in Western New York, featuring four people from different walks of life who have united in a common psyche bond in modern times. The musical is set in the not-too-distant future and mirrors the history of the Seneca nation in Upstate New York, Jim said.
“The war with neighboring tribes from Ohio is not unlike what is happening on the other side of the world,” Jim said. “It’s a whole lot different when it is in our back yard.”
“Israel’s Colorful Boy,” as well as all phases of “A Simple Ode” are available at www.Qarab.com.
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