Spirited duo brings entertainment, inspiration to Brookfield

July 29, 2014

After nearly 18 years of touring, a unique kind of performance is making its first stop in Brookfield.

In the middle of a national tour taking them coast to coast, the duo known as Spirited will be appearing for two events at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 4600 Pilgrim Road, next weekend. The duo, made up of author and composer Jonathan Cring and his musical partner Janet Clazzy, will offer two separate performances.

The first performance "567: Go Tell It From the Mount," will take place at 6 p.m. on Aug. 9.

"It's based on Jesus' sermon on the mount. Jonathan does a lot of cool stories and then we have adapted all of this music to go with it," Clazzy said. "It's 55-minutes of the Sermon on the Mount being retold through story, song, and music."

"567: Go Tell It From the Mount" will feature the familiar pattern of Cring narrating a story and a message for the audience while Clazzy provides a variety of musical accompaniment courtesy of her Yamaha WX-5 Wind Machine.

"The WX-5 Wind Machine was a real game-changer. I went from being an oboe player to an everything-player," Clazzy said. "It has the sounds of about 250 different instruments in it. We're able to do so much with it."

A second show

The next morning, at 9:30 a.m., the duo will return to the church to offer another program, "The Gospel According to Common Sense."

"It has more music and it's a little more freewheeling and less scripted. It's very audience-friendly and it's just about the notion that common sense is what Jesus came to bring," Clazzy said.

While both performances are heavily based on Christianity, Clazzy noted that non-religious audience members choosing to attend for the musical elements or simply out of curiosity will still be entertained and inspired.

"It's mostly just common sense messages that should be brought up and reminded. 'Do not judge,' 'Love thy neighbor,'" Clazzy said. "If somebody considers themselves not Christian, they can still take a lot away from this."

Cring, an award-winning screenwriter, composer, and international columnist and singer, and Clazzy, a former symphony orchestra performer and conductor, originally met in Louisiana nearly 30 years ago. Clazzy recalls attending a musical written by Cring titled "Mountain."

"I was a bit of a classical music snob. I thought the only good composers were dead composers," Clazzy said. "I was blown away. It was so good."

Clazzy and Cring's paths crossed again in Nashville, Tenn. in 1996 and the pair formed Spirited soon after. "567: Go Tell It From The Mount" is a two-person adaptation of "Mountain."

Visits to Wisconsin

Clazzy noted that while this is the duo's first time in Brookfield, they have spent a good deal of time in Wisconsin, including the entirety of July. Other stops so far in the dairy state have included Janesville, Cedarburg, Fond du Lac, Hartford, and Monona.

"I'm just loving it up here. I'm starting to think I need to always spend my summers here," Clazzy said. "I don't think we'll tour here in February though."

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