The Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts at Victoria College presents its ongoing 2022 Charity Concert Series featuring country music singer Janie Fricke and singer/songwriter Dion Pride (son of the late Charlie Pride) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in support of the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch, the Victoria Lions Club and the Welder Center.
Fricke, who previously played at the Welder Center and is a strong supporter of the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch, said she was delighted to be back on the Victoria stage.
She actually started her career in the marketing industry singing jingles for big companies like Coca-Cola and United Airlines. Then she went to work as a studio singer for great country artists such as Loretta Lynn, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis and others. Eventually, she burst onto the country music charts with her own hits and won numerous awards, including being named the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year – twice.
Fricke said his earliest musical influences came from television variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show. “You have to watch people like Dionne Warwick and Connie Francis and all the headliners of the day. So I learned all their music and singing techniques.
“I was just amazed at how wonderful their voices were and what they were able to do with their voices,” she said. “So, I just studied that. And I sang with the radio continuously.
Fricke grew up on a 400-acre farm in Indiana. “We were country people. And we were still working the land and everything. I turned on the radio at night when I was trying to fall asleep. And I would sing along with all the songs on the radio, I would learn harmony parts and I would learn a tonal quality value for the voice.
She said her mother was a helpful critic because she was a skilled pianist who performed weekly at her church. “And she was always like, ‘Jane, you’re sharp or you’re strong or whatever.’ So I should change my pitch and make sure I sing in tune.
She said her adult musical influences are wide ranging, from the Andrew Sisters and Barbra Streisand to Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins. “All of these people influenced me in a different way. So I didn’t have a favorite,” she said. “I collected all of their albums. I still have a few of those original albums that I bought back at the time.
Faith has always been an important part of Fricke’s life and work. She grew up “in a church family” and learned the gospel and scriptures from an early age. She was confirmed in the Lutheran Church at age 13. His parents, however, attended two different churches. “We were talking about Lutheran doctrine and country church discussions. We had everything. She recorded an album called “Crossroads” in remembrance of her mother’s country church which was at a crossroads just a bit down the road from their farm.
Fricke said she looked to God “for strength and direction. I have little prayers all the time, everywhere, and especially when I go to bed at night, and grateful to wake up in the morning.
Although she earned an elementary education degree from Indiana University, she never taught. She realized that “I was not cut out to be a teacher”.
Of all her many experiences, however, she said the most exciting thing she has ever done was sing for four presidents.
She performed for Presidents George HW Bush and George W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan and President Gerald Ford. She said one of the greatest moments of her long career was when she sang for President Reagan at Camp David, Maryland.
She said they were brought to Camp David by a presidential helicopter “and they searched us”, adding with a laugh that it was a bit unnerving and a very thorough search. They were “taking guitars apart and everything,” she said.
Reagan hosted the then President of Mexico, Jose Lopez Portillo. “We did our show and then they had their meeting after that. … I don’t know how we were chosen, but I was just thrilled,” Fricke explained.
“We were installed at the edge of the swimming pool. And for some reason during the first song the AP didn’t work. She said there was no sound when they started their performance. “I was mortified.” The sound was quickly settled, however, and after the show she said President Reagan “congratulated me,” shook her hand, then presented her with a jacket with a presidential crest on it.
Other memorabilia that she particularly enjoyed were doing TV shows such as Hee Haw, the David Letterman Show and Jane Pauley on the Today Show. “Things like that stand out. It was just a good time.
When asked if there was anything left on his to-do list, Fricke replied, “I covered pretty much every part of the gamut in this business. So I can’t say there is anything I missed.
Fricke’s husband, Jeff, who calls himself “the champion of steel”, plays a major role in his career. He is her drummer, tour bus driver and handles her bookings. “Jeff is very involved in everything we do,” she said.
“We’ve been working on a new show and we’re really excited about it,” Fricke said. During this tour, Fricke will pull numbers from his ‘Greatest Hits’ CD, “because it has 41 songs, including some of the main duets I’ve recorded with great male country singers like Charlie Rich and Merle Haggard. , and Johnny Duncan and such. And Ray Charles. So there’s some great duo spots on it. And we’re going to do some of those on our shows this year.