Hats Off: Janesville trio uses music to inspire

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Nick Crow
Sunday, March 9, 2014

JANESVILLE — WHO: “The Trio” --  Brandon Crandall, Joanie Heinze and Wayne Olson.

WHAT THEY DO: The group performs faith and gospel, show tunes, old favorites, Christmas songs and patriotic music for service clubs and retirement homes throughout Janesville free of charge.

“It started about 10 years ago at a church Christmas party,” Olson said. “Joanie (Heinze) was playing piano, and it went from there.”

Heinze said the group has been together ever since.

“We get joy from practicing and singing together,” Heinze said. “We all have a love of music and get so much from what we do for each other.”

Crandall said the group started with gospel but has expanded its range.

“I can share my faith musically and the joy and uplifting expression of our feelings and the folks we sing to, many of them know the songs and enjoy hearing them,” Crandall said.

He said the group is always warmly received.

“We like the kind of songs the folks we sing to like,” Crandall said. “It's wonderful to be able to enjoy the music and provide enjoyment for other people who we are pretty certain will enjoy it.”

Olson and Crandall sing lead in the group. Heinze and Crandall sing harmony, and Heinze plays piano.

“All of us individually have been singing our whole lives,” Heinze said. “We've sung in front of eight or 10 people, and we've sung in front of 1,500.”

WHY THEY DO IT: Group members say many of the people they entertain are unable to seek out entertainment on their own. They see their mission as helping those people enjoy themselves.

“Some of those folks remember the songs and words to what we sing,” Crandall said. “Many don't converse very well, but something about the songs brings them alive, and they nod and sing along.”

Heinze said she enjoys seeing the smiles on people's faces as they sing along with the group.

“George Burns said it best,” Crandall said, paraphrasing. “If you want to find happiness, find someone with a need and fill it for them.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Heinze's husband, Doug, said he enjoys watching people who enjoy the group's music.

“It's kind of cool this day and age, when people are asking for something or expecting to get something to do it just for the enjoyment,” Doug said.

Olson said he is satisfied that his wife, Phylis, enjoys the music and enjoys his participation.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Trio will perform at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School, 210 S. Ringold St., in Janesville at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 16. The performance will raise money to benefit St. Paul's Youth Group mission trip to Alaska to run a Vacation Bible School in July. A free-will offering will be held during the event to raise money for the trip.

“In the broadest stroke, this is volunteerism,” Crandall said. “We're just another example of people volunteering to bring joy to people.”

If you know somebody who deserves a “Hats Off” in The Gazette, call local news editor Sid Schwartz at 608-755-8293 or email The Gazette at newsroom@gazettextra.com.

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