Away from the microphone, Michigan City vocalist Joe Stewart casts a wide net when it comes to his personal music selections.
“My Pandora channels most used are probably the Mozart channel, the Opera channel, today’s R&B and hip-hop and probably the Frank Sinatra channel,” he said.
Stewart is scheduled to bid 2017 adieu at Michigan City’s Footlight Theatre as part of “Holiday Memories” on Friday. The singer was reared in a musical household – both his parents sang in their church choir. In kindergarten, Stewart hit the stage for the first time in a youth production of “The Wizard Of Oz” and hasn’t looked back since.
Stewart, a baritone, continued to perform in ensembles in high school and in the chamber choir as a student at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in English literature.
Earlier this year, Stewart participated in this year’s “Hoosier Star” vocal competition. He placed in the top five in the adult division.
Stewart cited a performance accompanied by the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra at the La Porte Civic Auditorium as a highlight from his "Hoosier Star" experience.
“It was remarkable,” Stewart said. “It takes months of preparation and publicity and rehearsing and more rehearsing. It’s certainly not grabbing a microphone and letting your soul free. It was a great deal of fun. It gave you the bittersweet taste of when you put in all that effort and it doesn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to.”
For Footlight's “Memories,” Stewart, who will perform holiday themed songs in a style he compared to Michael Buble and Josh Groban, will share the stage with the Region-based vocal ensemble The Footnotes.
Lee Meyer is serving as the musical director and keyboardist for the evening’s festivities.
“I can not say enough about him,” Stewart said of Meyer. “He picked most of the music, he has been instrumental in helping me practice for this, and he will be lending his incredible keyboard talents to the performances as well.”
Footlight Theatre’s next production, the drama “12 Angry Men,” is scheduled to open Feb. 2.
FYI: “Holiday Memories” runs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 at Footlight Theatre, 1705 Franklin St., Michigan City. Tickets are $10. Call 219-874-4035 or visit FOOTLIGHTPLAYERS.ORG