CFCArts – an Appreciation By Josh Garrick


Having attended – and been thrilled by – the CFCArts Community Choir & Big Band’s performance of “Icons – A Salute to the Kings & Queens of Music", I would begin by recommending that if you see this in time to claim any tickets that are left for tonight’s performance at Northland Church -- that should become your first order of business for TODAY. 

But I want to take a moment to call up the simple metaphor of the ripples in the pond to share the epiphany I had while watching over 300 performers – all drawn from the Central Florida community – singing, dancing, smiling, and entertaining hundreds of people in the audience while Joshua Vickery went through literal contortions (he won’t have to go to the gym for a month after these two performances) to conduct this massive effort in “pop” entertainment. 

The Finale with Dancers -- this concert introduced the CFCArts Dancers . From CFCArts – an Appreciation By Josh Garrick
The Finale with Dancers -- this concert introduced the CFCArts Dancers 

It came to me that in the one performance which I attended, CFCArts – under the genius direction of Mr. Vickery – had literally improved the lives of all those performers and audience members – and they do so with every performance of every branch of this ever-expanding Central Florida phenomenon. 

CFCArts – open to every person willing to commit to rehearsing and performing – is consistently bringing the JOY of fulfilling the elusive dream of performing to hundreds of people while offering quality performances at lovingly offered LOW PRICE tickets to hundreds of audience members. 

NOW – back to the pond ripples – A nice lady seated beside me noticed I was enjoying the performance – Yes, I know – as one friend recently put it – “Oh Josh – you’re always excited.” And I happily admit to that. Anyway, the nice lady asked me if I had a friend performing, and I didn’t hesitate to answer “Yes – Josh Vickery – the Conductor.” Even as I was saying it, however, I began to see how those pond ripples “work for” CFCArts – and for us. 

Please bear with me. ALL those – over 300 performers – are leading happier lives BECAUSE of their association with CFCArts. The Friends of those “over 300 Performers” are happier in their lives because they get to experience their friends performing BETTER than they could have hoped before seeing the performances, and then those friends tell MORE friends about this amazing CFCArts performance group … and some of those friends realize that their nights at karaoke bars can be turned into REAL performance opportunities overseen by one of the kindest, happiest, and most talented persons who happens to make his home in Central Florida. 

Just a section of the largest choir in the U.S.A.. From CFCArts – an Appreciation By Josh Garrick
Just a section of the largest choir in the U.S.A.  

Those ripples are ripples of pure and complete HAPPINESS. Now I truly do not care if you want to make fun of ‘this Josh’ sounding like Pollyanna, but I put forth the hypothesis that eventually those ripples will find each of us – making life better for every person who lives in the ever-enlarging circle of friends that make up the megalith that CFCArts is becoming. 

Please take a moment to let that thought sink in. The life of EVERY PERSON associated with CFCArts is better because of that association. The lives of the friends of those CFCArts performers are at least a little better, because their friends are happier, and ALL THAT shared happiness has to find its way into our wonderful community. 

For those of you who’ve read this far, and you’re thinking ‘this Josh’ has written some out-there reviews, but this one is WAY OUT THERE – it’s cool. Think what you will – I’ve discovered a gold mine of happiness to take our minds off some of the craziness of our lives, and I for one KNOW that I’m a better person because I just watched a bunch of people who I’m proud to consider neighbors create an event of a quality (once again) higher than I would have thought possible. 

Having driven that point home – yes, I know some of you got it right away – the repetition is for those readers who need a little HAPPINESS shoved into the most beneficial places, I will now gush over some of what I heard that truly thrilled me. 

1. Seeing Joshua Vickery conduct was a joy in itself. And while his back was to the audience, he had to swivel his head (because of the size of the Choir) so I could see his omnipresent smile never left his face. Bless you Mr. Vickery – I hope my words express my gratitude and admiration for what you are achieving (and growing). 

2. The Choir (the largest in the whole USA – uh huh) was OF COURSE IMPRESSIVE, and the CFC Big Band (I counted about 20 players) was terrific. 

3. The first-ever performance by the CFC Dancers (yep – we now have dancers too) added to the performance – especially in their unique take on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” 

4. And the individual performers who must be congratulated include Briana Scales take on Aretha’s iconic “Respect;” Jill Dautzenberg’s breath-taking “Madonna Medley” in which she literally improved on Madonna – SNAP! Evette Canino did Gloria Estefan proud, and Scott Kinkead, joined by Brandon Fender in the Elton John / George Michael arrangement of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” was so power-house it brought me to tears. It was way-cool to experience Andrea Tyler as Adele performing “Skyfall.” Adele should take Ms. Tyler on tour so that if she ever has to miss a performance, she could send Ms. Tyler to the stage, and not even Adele’s mother could tell the difference. Finally – Congrats to everyone in the Happy Medley that led seamlessly into the Michael Jackson Medley focusing on “We Are the World” and arranged by CFC’s own Brandon Fender. 

The amazing Andrea Tyler (as Adele) performing "Skyfall". From CFCArts – an Appreciation By Josh Garrick
The amazing Andrea Tyler (as Adele) performing "Skyfall"

Bottom line – “Icons” is an iconic (had to) night of music, song and dance that will remain forever in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to experience this latest CFCArts success. 

Should you wish to support CFCArts, our chance is coming up on June 1st when CFC holds its 4th Annual Fund-Raiser for their Theatre Company. I think we can be reasonably assured there will be some singing on that night as well. 

Thank you Joshua Vickery and CFCArts – may your special brand of happiness rain down on us – forever. 




Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators


All photos courtesy and copyright Josh Garrick