Tag Archives: Erin

From Rebecca: Joe performed the Beatles last Friday, May 13th

Joe took a chance against the curse of Friday the 13th last week, with a performance of Beatles songs in the community room of the Addison Court apartment building. Except for a few problems, one of which delayed the show for half an hour, which I’ll get into in a moment, he defied the curse with a great show.

Joe did a bit of air guitar and air drums, but mostly he sang to the sounds of the Beatles playing through his speakers. Most of the songs were ones he had performed before in shows, but some were new for him, like “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” He started the show with “Twist and Shout,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and, and a new one for him, “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” Another song from his first set that he also performed for the first time was “Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown).” It has a different tempo than the others, and Joe did a great job adjusting to the change.

By the end of the first set, people were starting to join in the singing here and there. People were coming in and out of the room, and the audience size went from small to big and back again throughout the two and half hour show. But for one song, the one Joe has in almost all of his shows, the audience was spell-bound. He started “Yesterday” and it seemed that everyone got still and focused. By the end of the third line, we started singing in a low chorus, sounding mournful and reverent. Joe connects this song with a woman who lived in the building until she passed away, and he sang it for her in a tribute concert he did for her in July of 2013. He may not have been the only one thinking of Erin as we sang it with him. Looking back in the archives, I see that the first time “Yesterday” was in one of his show, in December of 2012, it was played on the cello. I remember that and it was uplifting and special, but I was more moved last week, as we all softly sang the song with Joe. Then he finished the set with “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” a song that lifted the energy and party mood again for the break.

Joe started the second set with two special songs, one to his girlfriend Traci Harter and the other a special request from the videographer. The one for Greg Brown, “And This Bird Can Sing,” was added less than two weeks before, so Joe warned the audience ahead of time that it would be rough. He did a good job with it though. Greg worked hard on the video and Mike Weaver did an equally good job taking still photographs.

The special song for Traci as a surprise, which Joe had to spoil the night before for unforseen personal reasons, was the theme song to Traci’s favorite TV show Reba, “I’m a Survivor,” by Reba McEntire. Traci liked it very much and was touched. She had someone record it on her phone, so she can watch it again. I used to watch Reba and knew the theme song, but the version Joe did was the full song from her album, which included lyrics I had not heard before. I was a little teary-eyed too, from the touching lyrics, and the sweet gesture of Joe singing them to his girlfriend.

Songs in his second set included “Lady Madonna,” “Come Together,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” and “Lovely Rita.” One song in particular impressed me. Joe sang “She’s Leaving Home” for the first time in a performance, and I was not familiar with the song before. In the chorus part, there is a section with lyrics from the parents in the story, sung a little softer and in between the main chorus lines. Most people would sing the more prominent lines, I think, and let the back up sing the softer words, but Joe did the opposite, giving voice to the confusion and hurt of the parents who don’t understand a daughter being so eager to move away from home. It was poignant and brought out the sad side of the piece. I thought it showed talent from Joe, to make that choice and to sing the section almost underneath the main part.

Joe was getting tired by the middle of the second act, and needed another short break, but he rallied. He finished the show with “Get Back” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise).

I mentioned that there were a few Friday the 13th issues, including the show being delayed at the beginning. The community room has a door to the bathrooms just behind where Joe was set up to perform. Just before start time, one of the toilets overflowed on the floor in the bathroom. The water had to be turned off at the pipe, and a maintenance man came through to fix and mop up. The mop was then left in view in a corner of the room, apparently the only place for it. Then later in the performance, a staff member had to bring back a big trash-gathering bin, go through Joe’s space, and return it to the closet. Joe understood, and stopped to let him through, then began that song again. Despite these challenges, and that he was getting tired toward the end, Joe gave it his all. It was a great show, that I enjoyed very much. We sang, we clapped, we bopped along, and we had fun. Good work, Joe.

We will get pictures of the performance up as soon as we can. It might be a week or two, but we intend to get it done.

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Top ten list of the best things I’ve ever done

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of highlights from my life, plus one honorable mention. They are eleven things or events which I’ve done, that every time I look back on them they bring a smile to my face. Only #1 and #2 are in definitive order. So I hope you enjoy.

#10. Taking a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California with my Aunt Marilyn. [Circa the late 70s or early 80s.]

#9. My transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. [1973. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I sat at the captain’s table. I have a photo of Dad and me in white hats, on board the ship, most likely on the way to dinner.]

#8. While married to Georgia Barnhart, we took a cross-country trip, via the southern states, to visit my mother-in-law in California, and the subsequent trip to Disneyland.

#7. As a child, learning to play Christmas Carols on my organ. [Ordinarily I’m not good with instruments, but the chords were one finger touch for my weak left hand, so I was able to learn some songs to play for my parents.]

#6. Becoming the Godfather to David and Geri’s older daughter Ashley. I also treasure becoming part of my best friend’s wife’s family as their uncle figure. [Extremely rewarding.]

#5. Meeting and remaining good friends over many years with David Trost, Rebecca Taylor, Georgia Barnhart & Jim Sneeringer.

#4. Wrote my three books and had them published through CreateSpace.com. [I am also proud of my play which got a staged reading at a nearby playhouse, and is currently being turned into a novel by Darren. I also wrote a screenplay for a Charlie’s Angels TV movie back in the day.]

#3. Started my blog in December 2011.

#2. My various trips to Europe with my parents. [Especially Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.]

#1. Going to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine.

Honorable Mention: Giving several performances of my lip-sync air-guitar show in my apartment building, including a tribute concert to a late friend, Erin Beish.

Well, there you have it. As most of my steady readers will note, Bear Spring Camps is #1. No big shock there folks. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

A dreary Friday

Greetings, readers. This will be a short one today because our note-taking for a new writing project took longer than I expected; I needed to do more research for it than I thought. Both Rebecca and I think that the idea has much promise. I still have details to iron out and to get that all important first chapter going. Once I get into a work routine, i.e. number of pages per day, I intend to stick to it. For me, it’s just getting started that is the big bugaboo.

Yes, it’s a dreary, rainy Friday. There was heavy rain this morning in State College, which made my leaky ceiling – I am on the top floor of my apartment building – start to drip. It’s looking a bit brighter now and the rain has ended. Hopefully the storm front will be out by tonight. I’m just glad it all wasn’t snow. As we approach mid-October, it’s only a month or so until those rain showers could be snow showers. Oh, how disgusting.

As for next week, I plan on working on my new project parts of Monday and Tuesday, Rebecca and I will put a new blog post up on Wednesday, and then probably back to work on the new project Thursday and Friday. I shall try to get up a second blog post toward the end of Friday afternoon, if I can.

Today I will fighting the bus schedule, because the Penn State football team’s homecoming parade will be taking place just when I need to get on a bus. But that is okay, I’ve got a flight sim I need to do for research and for fun, so I will go to Denny’s early and wait for my friend, who will arrive around 8:00. Plus I have my video of the show I did for my friend Erin, and I can watch that too if I get bored with the flight sim.

One last football note. I didn’t realize that last Saturday PSU lost to Indiana. My friend Dave said that Indiana is an up-and-coming team and that’s good for them. However, if we lost to Indiana, I’m not certain at all we will beat Michigan, our homecoming opponent. But as they say, on any given day any team can beat any other team.

Until next week, take care and happy reading.

Chris Rosenblum CDT article about my memorial lip sync show

Greetings, readers. This is the write up by Mr. Chris Rosenblum of the Centre Daily Times newspaper concerning my memorial show for my late friend Erin Beish. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience and most rewarding. I’m certain that she would have been pleased. Erin always wanted to see KISS but it just wasn’t to be.

This was the first time ever in my lip syncing air guitar “career” that I went all the way by including make-up and black fingernail polish. What follows is the reporter’s actual article from the on-line late Saturday night CDT. What is included is the two-minute video promo of me talking. The photos did not transfer to this blog entry, so you will have to follow the links to see the work of Nabil K. Mark.

Update: 10/11/13 – We just discovered today that these links to the CDT pages do not go to the video or article. Update: 8/26/16 – We removed the links to the CDT pages since they did not go to the content anymore.

Chris Rosenblum | Tribute sealed with a little Kiss

Published: June 15, 2013/

By Chris Rosenblum —crosenbl@centredaily.com

Joe Kockelmans rocked out, his invisible guitar slung low on his hips.

Black and white makeup covered his face like the members of his favorite band, Kiss. His fingernails shone black, the same color of his Kiss T-shirt.

No longer was he a mild-mannered 48-year-old writer.

He was Ace Frehley, lead guitarist, slamming out the solo to “I Stole Your Love” in the community room of the Arnold Addison Court apartment building in State College.

He was a grieving friend remembering a lost soulmate.

He was the Mimic.

That’s his alter ego, his stage persona for the air guitar, lip-syncing performances he’s been doing since childhood. He loves rock, but mild cerebral palsy keeps him from playing real guitars and drums.

For his latest show, he wore a black M on his face, Kiss-style, not for himself.

He did it for Erin.

Erin Beish, an Arnold Addison Court neighbor of his, died in May from cancer at only 34. Also a diehard Kiss fan, she always wanted to see a concert but never had the chance.

Kockelmans, in her memory, filled in the best he could.

“I’m going to give her spirit a show that she would be proud of,” he said the day before his performance.

He chose 18 songs for two sets and downloaded them to his laptop. Studying Kiss concert videos, he picked up mannerisms of original members Frehley, bassist Gene Simmons, rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss, as well as musicians from later lineups.

In a backroom of Panera Bread downtown, his second home, he rehearsed for weeks. He shaved off his beard.

On the big day, a friend at a salon painted his face. About a dozen friends from the building gathered in the community room. Kockelmans arranged his laptop and two tiny speakers on a table in front.

Then it was showtime.

His audience wasn’t treated to spurting blood or pyrotechnics — just good, clean, rock ’n’ roll theatrics.

Singing sometimes, lip-syncing other tunes, the Mimic furiously strummed as he shifted from Frehley to Stanley in midsong. He shook his shoulders and head, strutted, nodded, grimaced and glared. One minute, he pointed skyward and then the next, he wagged a finger at his audience or, after slashing power chords, raised his fist.

During some numbers, he switched to drums, laying down a crunching back beat, rolling fills and riding a cymbal.

He even showed some tongue, a Kiss staple.

Of course, no concert would be complete without song introductions.

“Some people like to have a little wine. Some people like to have a little beer,” the Mimic said, playing to the arena. “Some people like a little something harder. And some people like a little …”

And he kicked into “Cold Gin.”

Before “Nothin’ to Lose,” he offered a dedication.

“Some of these songs I chose just because I like them. Some of them are just great Kiss songs,” he said before explaining his next selection.

“Because to me, it signified what Erin had to go through to fight her cancer. She had everything to gain, and she just put up one hell of a fight.”

To applause, he added: “She had everything to gain … and nothing to lose.”

Two more songs honored his friend directly.

Opening his second set, the Mimic sat and gently sung his only non-Kiss song, “Yesterday.” Six months before to the day, he had rehearsed it in front of her for a Beatles show he and friends were doing.

“Why she had to go, I don’t know,” he sang.

Then came the classic “Beth,” only with a twist.

“Sister, sweetheart, this is for you,” he said. “It’s called ‘Erin’ today. If they want to sue me, go ahead.”

Rock ’n’ roll is hard work, and the Mimic needed a few breathers. During one, a boy in the audience came up, curious about the middle-aged guy in makeup. Like a pro, the Mimic gave him a few minutes.

“I’m Joe — usually,” he said. “Today, I’m the Mimic. I know I can’t sing. I know I’m all over the place, but, hey, I’m trying.”

Toward the end, the tribute began taking its toll. His solos grew less frenetic. He stalked the stage more slowly.

But he rallied for the anthem “Rock ’n’ Roll All Night,” waving his arms and urging his audience, in true arena fashion, to sing the chorus.

After a rousing “I Love It Loud,” he closed the performance with the showstopper “Detroit Rock City.”

He pulled out all the stops: a hip-shaking, head-tilting, tongue-extending song from the heart to a fan dearly missed.

“We love you, Erin,” the Mimic sang.

He windmilled a chord.

“Thank you so much, Addison Court,” he said.

With a last resounding strum and the time-honored two-fingered rock salute, he said goodnight to State College.

“Thank you.”

Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter@CRosenblumNews.

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2013/06/15/3654857/chris-rosenblum-tribute-sealed.html#storylink=cpy

From Rebecca: Quick post about Joe

Joe gave a performance today, Friday June 14th, in tribute to his friend Erin who passed away earlier this year from cancer. He did some lip-sync, some singing, air guitar, and air drums to KISS songs (and one Beatles song) in the community room of the Arnold Addison court building. He did a great job and it was a fantastic show. The local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, covered the show and will put the human interest story in this Sunday’s paper, probably the front page.

He had to do a lot to get ready for it, so he was not able to blog this week. We also had a couple of technology glitches to work on, so that took time too. We will get back to regular blogging next week.

Have a great weekend. Thanks.

Inspiration comes when you least expect it

Greetings, readers. As my memorial show for my late friend Erin draws closer, I needed one more song to add to the playlist. Which KISS song would it be? There are many to choose from. Too many to name here. But I had one in mind. It is called “The Oath”, from the album Music from the Elder. I purchased this song from itunes and dropped it into the playlist slot where I wanted it. I hit play and came to a startling conclusion. I couldn’t figure out what they were saying.

The way the band recorded that song it had an echo effect. My next step then was to go to Yahoo! and try to cut and paste the lyrics to the song on a word document. With that in front of my eyes, I began to make sense of the song. This morning I practiced for the show from 8 until noon, concentrating heavily on the newly added song. Now, here is where the inspiration comes in.

Every time I saw my friend Erin, who battled cancer every day, I rarely saw her without a smile on her face. She never quit fighting, not even at the end. I was a gnat’s eyelash away from deleting the difficult song and asked myself, would Erin want me to quit? Would she want me to take an easy way out? The answer was obvious.

With renewed enthusiasm and inspiration, I said to myself, this song is not going to get the better of me. And, by the end of practice, I can honestly say I have confidence that this song shall remain in the playlist. Whether I shall lip-sync or vocalize the song has yet to be determined.

Readers, inspiration comes in many forms and most times it comes when you least expect it. This performance of mine for Erin, I already know in my heart, is going to be a success. I feel her spirit will be with me.

Until Friday, enjoy the nice weather if you have it. Take care and happy reading.