‘Disaster is the best place to begin a miracle’

By on August 3, 2016

Cring & Clazzy will perform at Lititz UMC

Cring & Clazzy, dubbed by a recent reviewer as “the biggest two-piece band in America,” will bring their act to Lititz United Methodist Church, 201 E. Market St., on Aug. 7, at the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services.

Jonathan Cring and Janet Clazzy will be sharing an inspirational program called “567: Go Tell it from the Mount,” a modern-day look at the Sermon on the Mount, using music, stories and song. The duo will also present excerpts from Cring’s new book, “Within.”

The Record Express recently had an opportunity for a Q & A with the devotional duo. Here’s what they had to say. The name of the person answering the question is in parentheses.

Q: Who dubbed you the “biggest two-piece band in America” and what is it about your act that prompted such a bold claim?

A: (Jonathan Cring) Listening to those who leave our concerts comment on how much they have enjoyed the wind machine, the oboe, the piano, the singing; each one is always impressed by how much fullness comes out of two people playing music. But I do believe it was a fellow named Franklin from South Carolina, who boldly and proudly proclaimed us “the biggest two-piece band in America.” I suppose such a statement will stand until more worthy duos proffer their proof.

Q: It sounds like you incorporate music, humor and faith into a unique message. Who are some of your inspirations in those three realms (music, humor, faith)?

A: (Janet Clazzy) I think I can speak for Jonathan and say that we are a musical collision of classical, the Beatles, gospel, and The Who &tstr; all converging to form and congeal new musical passages. Jonathan has always been funny, and I know he appreciates the efforts of everyone from Mark Twain to Richard Pryor. And when it comes to faith, we both contend that the best place to build a lemonade stand on the road to life is where joy, common sense, and mercy converge.

Q: Where are you from? Tell me a little more about your backgrounds.

A: (Jackie Barnett, agent) Cring is a Buckeye (Ohio) and Clazzy was born in the Volunteer State (Tennessee). They ran into each other in Louisiana, started a confluence of creativity in the San Francisco Bay area and finally created a partnership in 1997 in Nashville, Tenn., when Cring had completed his first novel, “I’m…the Legend of the Son of Man,” the story of Jesus, told in the first person.

Q: How did you meet, and at what moment did the light bulb turn on, making it clear that you need to take this show on the road?

A: (Cring) Disaster is the best place to begin a miracle. When Janet escaped an abusive marriage, with her three children, and was looking to continue a musical career and also continue a viable motherhood, she and I sat down and realized that we had much more between us than we did separately. But I think the real lightbulb turned on the first time we joined together, and within 48 hours an entire symphony seemed to roll right out of our innards. That was 20 years ago, and the rolling continues.

Q: Can you share a unique road/performance experience that keeps you inspired?

A: (Cring) Most people don’t realize that the average church on Sunday morning contains a more diverse audience, more variety, than almost any other gathering of Americans. There are larger groups, but they are specifically tuned to some political cause, generational perspective or business interest. The church is where people from every generation, and often every culture, nervously perch to consider something bigger than themselves. Every time we have the privilege of bringing a match to that gasoline, to start a human fire of enthusiasm, we are ecstatic and become better humans.

Q: Who is your typical audience and what is your typical performance venue?

A: (Barnett) As Mr. Cring said, the demographics of the church afford a broad spectrum &tstr; from children who show up with their phones, ready to text; to great-great-grandmas, who hope the choir will sing their favorite old hymn. That is where Cring & Clazzy find themselves on Sundays. During the week, Mr. Cring writes three daily blogs which reach tens of thousands of people in 138 countries. The pair are also intricately involved through encouraging younger performers to channel their efforts toward a message of uniting instead of dividing. Even though it is not easy to be a “repairer of the breach” in a season of demolition, the duo continues to actively pursue as many doors as possible which are open and knock ferociously

Q: What do you love most about performing?

A: (Clazzy) There is a point during the perfection of a piece of music when I always realize that I have it under my fingers, and then can allow it to enter my heart. I love that blend of professionalism and passion. It’s the juice that keeps me going. I never want to take for granted the power of perfecting my technique. But I also want to make sure I allow the experience to become emotional, and flow from me so the audience can feel what I feel. That’s the greatest part of performing &tstr; when you can tell that the chill that is going down your spine is translating to those around you.

Q: We’re in the midst of a very negative presidential campaign that has divided our nation’s people in many ways. You claim to unite generations and close political gaps through laughter. Is that a tough task, and how are you able to achieve such a lofty goal?

A: (Cring) The distance between people can either be viewed as a span or as a chasm. We happen to be living in a time when our political leaders want to convince everyone that the chasm betwixt us is the Grand Canyon. What we do with our show, our humor, our stories, our songs, and our insights is to remind people how much we have in common and welcome them to come a little closer to the fire of fellowship &tstr; where it’s toasty. I think it’s summed up best in one of the opening lines from the show, where we define “good cheer” this way: “Nothing happens until we show up, and nothing is over until we give up.” You can give people permission to fight, or you can encourage them to get along. They are willing to do both. It’s just a question of whether we have enough sense to create harmony instead of foster friction.

For more information about the upcoming concert, contact Lititz UMC at 626-2255

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