PITSBURG — Musician and performer Chase Padgett played to an audience of students at Franklin Monroe High School Wednesday afternoon. The show was organized by the Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA).
Padgett performed at Arcanum, Mississinawa Valley, and Ansonia High Schools earlier this week, and has shows scheduled at Tri-Village, Bradford High School, Greenville High School, and Versailles Thursday and Friday. Padgett will also bring his show, titled ‘Six Guitars,’ to The Bistro Off Broadway Thursday, February 22, at 7 p.m..
Padgett plays six different characters during the course of his show, each performing a different genre of music, including: blues singer Tyrone Gibbons; aspiring rock star Michael Marsh; country singer Rupert; folk singer Peter; jazz fan Wesley; and a Spanish classical guitarist named Emmanuel.
A resident of Portland, Oregon, Padgett created his one-man show and began touring the country in 2010. In 2014, he went into his first high school.
“It was a situation where they said, ‘Hey, you do school shows, right? ‘Cause we’ve got some money we’d like to give you!’ And I was like, ‘Sure! Of course I do,’” Padgett joked before his show at Franklin Monroe Wednesday afternoon. Since then Padgett has done over 30 shows in schools across North America.
“Performing for high school kids requires a different sort of energy, one that’s more immediate,” Padgett said. “You may lose some of the intimacy and subtlety you get with an older audience, but what you gain is fresh eyes and ears from a new generation.”
Padgett transitions between characters fluidly throughout the course of his show, and finally starts blending them together a bit toward the end, til it’s hard to tell exactly where Tyrone the blues musician ends and Peter the folk singer begins. It’s all part of the connection between different styles of music, which Padgett said all comes from the same place, regardless of genre.
Padgett said the most rewarding part of going into public schools is being able to encourage kids who may dream of having a career in the arts.
“I like being able to tell kids that if they want to have a career in the arts, they can,” Padgett said. “It’s not an impossible dream. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely possible.”
The key to surviving as an artist, Padgett said, is that you can never stop hustling.
“If you’re an artist, you’re also an entrepreneur, whether you want to be or not,” Padgett said. “It’s all about self-promotion, professionalism, and knowing what you’re worth in the marketplace. Technology has changed the landscape these days, but the go-get-’em attitude you need to carve out a place for yourself in the music industry is the same as it ever was.”
Padgett did riffs on “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and “This Land is Your Land,” along with some original songs, before closing out with a multi-genre rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon.
“A friend of mine made it to finals on America’s Got Talent last year,” Padgett said. “But what you don’t see is that he got that good long before the show found him. For every breakthrough you see, you don’t see all the work that it took to get there.”
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