Oct. 23, 2021

Dorothy Menker Theater

About the performers:

 

Jim Witter

Jim Witter
Jim Witter has been entertaining crowds for over 30 years. Whether it be his original music, the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, or any of the other many artists he pays tribute to, Jim’s versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada, the United States, the U.K, Dubai, and the Netherlands.  His unique approach and comfortable rapport make each member of his audience feel as though they are a part of a private concert in the comfort of their own living room. This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, make him a favorite with theatre goers everywhere.

It all started at a very early age, as Jim began performing in the comfort of his own living room. His Mother would play piano, and Jim would belt out the hits...everything from The Beatles to Broadway musicals. Not bad for a 4-year-old! All through his school years, Jim knew that he was destined to have a career in the music business. “I never really thought of doing anything else”, he says, “and neither did my parents because they always encouraged me to follow my dream”. And follow it he did. Jim honed his craft, playing in the clubs and bars around his home in Southern Ontario for years. He would write songs and record demos during the day, and play in the clubs at night to pay the bills. Jim met his wife Rebecca in 1985. Together, they worked tirelessly to promote Jim’s talent and music in hopes that one day their efforts would be recognized. Finally in 1990, one of Jim’s demos came to the attention of a Sony Music Canada executive, which really got his recording career rolling. A record deal with a smaller independent label in Canada, soon gave way to a multi-record deal with Curb Records of Nashville, home of Tim McGraw, Leanne Rimes and Wynonna Judd. From his first self-titled record to All My Life and Forgiveness, Jim has had 10 top-10 radio hits in Canada, seven hit videos on CMT, and impressive chart action in the U.S. on Billboard and R&R.

Jim’s music and songwriting have been recognized on both sides of the border, earning him multiple awards and nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, the Juno Awards, and the Dove Awards in Nashville, where Jim’s album “Forgiveness” was nominated for Inspirational Album of the year. “Songwriting has always been a real love of mine”, says Jim. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with so many incredible song-writers over the past years, like Steve Wariner for instance. Not only have the collaborations produced songs that I am very proud of, but I have gained an invaluable education and created lifelong friendships along the way.”

In 2001, Jim came up with the concept for the show “The Piano Men,” a musical journey through the 70’s featuring the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John. This multi-media rock musical has turned out to be a hit, receiving rave reviews from music critics all across North America. The show has even travelled overseas to Dubai, England, Scotland and the Netherlands. “Through the years, audience members have suggested other artists that they would like me to cover and I’ve listened. I now have tribute shows to The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and other great singer/songwriters from the 60’s and 70’s. I’m also really excited about my latest project which is a journey through the songbook of Barry Manilow,” he says.

Jim still lives in Southern Ontario with his wife, Rebecca, and their four children, all of whom have shown an interest in the “family business.” “My oldest son, James, spends all of his spare time in his bedroom/ home studio writing and recording his own material. My daughter, Roslyn, has the voice of an angel and even got to sing a duet with Keith Urban in front of 20,000 people. I often hear Ryan in his bedroom banging on the guitar and learning new songs and my youngest, Luke, plays drums and is probably the biggest Beatles fan you’ll ever meet!” Many fathers might try to deter their children from the life of a musician, but Witter and his wife are firm believers in the “do what you love” adage. “Rebecca and I continually encourage our children to do what is in their hearts,” he says. “We tell them...do what you love and give it everything you’ve got, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” At 55 years of age, Witter feels blessed to still be doing what he truly loves to do.

lisa brokop 02

Lisa Brokop
It’s not often – in fact, some might say very rare – for an artist to have an enduring musical career. In a day and age when most artists barely flicker for a moment before fading out of the spotlight, Lisa Brokop is set to celebrate 20 remarkable years of singing, songwriting and performing.

What’s the secret to her success?  “I love what I do,” says Brokop. “Every note I sing, whether in the studio or from the stage, is true.  It hasn’t always been an easy road. There have been many curves, bumps and detours.  But really, it is the love of the music that motivates each step I take in the business. It keeps me moving forward.  And I think fans feel and appreciate that love.”

Lisa’s love affair with performing began in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia. As a baby, it was clear to her parents that she was special - She was singing before she could talk! By the age of 7, she was on stage with her musical mother and brother, performing everything from polkas to Kenny Rogers' classics. 
By age 12, she was sitting in with other Vancouver bands, and went professional at age 15 when she joined a touring band. A year later she began a solo career and released Daddy Sing to Me, the first of a string of successful singles from her independent debut album My Love.

At the age of 19, Lisa landed the lead female role in the feature film Harmony Cats. The movie, in which Lisa plays a country singer who leaves home in search of a big break in Nashville, proved to be prophetic. Shortly after filming wrapped, and on the strength of her very first Nashville showcase, Lisa was signed to Capitol Records. Over the next three years, she released two critically acclaimed albums, the Canadian-certified Gold record Every Little Girls Dream and the self-titled Lisa Brokop, which garnered hits such as Give Me a Ring Sometime, Take That, Before He Kissed Me and She Can't Save Him. In 1995, the prestigious Academy of Country Music recognized Lisa with an award nomination for Top New Female Vocalist.

In 1998, Lisa signed with Sony Nashville/Columbia Records and released When You Get to be You featuring the hit singles What's Not To Love, How Do I Let Go and the top-10 smash hit Better Off Broken. 

Now comfortably established in her adopted home of Nashville, Tennessee, she took some time away from the rigors of the road and discovered a hidden wellspring of songwriting talent, which gave her renewed self-respect, strength and determination. The result was Undeniable, a Canadian independent album that saw Lisa recognized with a series of Canadian Country Music Awards, including two nods for Independent Song of the Year for the hits Something Undeniable and I'd Like to See You Try, and three consecutive trophy wins for Independent Female Artist of the Year.

It was during this time that Lisa really began to get noticed for her songwriting abilities. All 10 songs on Undeniable were co-written by Lisa, and before long, other stars were recording tracks she penned, including Reba McEntire, Terri Clark and Pam Tillis.

In 2004, Lisa signed with Curb/Asylum Records and released a breathtaking collection of songs entitled Hey, Do You Know Me. From the poignant title track to classic ballads like Just a Girl and Try Me Again Around Midnight, Lisa crafted an album that she was truly proud of – a perfect combination of compelling music and gripping lyrics.

Brokop’s seventh album, Beautiful Tragedy, was released in 2008 on the independent Ellbea Records label and featured the top-20 hit Break It. Eleven of the album's 12 tracks were co-written by Brokop and all tracks were produced by Brokop and her husband Paul Jefferson.  Lisa and Paul welcomed baby Ivy into their lives in 2009.  The couple released a duo project The Jeffersons in 2011.

In 2013, Lisa returned to commercial country radio and had success with songs Let It Burn and Love Me If You Can both of which were produced by fellow Canadian superstar Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

In 2016, Brokop put together the new musical venture Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project, where Lisa pays homage to one of country music's greatest ladies with some of Cline's classic hits like Sweet Dreams and Walkin’ After Midnight as well as some of her own material specifically written for the project.

"I've come full circle with this project," Brokop says. "When I first started singing, I would sing some of Patsy's song because I didn't have my own. They are still among some of my favorites today, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to honor this amazing lady and the incredible music she gave us!"

And now hot on the heels of The Patsy Cline Project, Lisa is bringing more of her favorites to the stage with Legendary Ladies of Country. This show will include songs from many of the female legends that have been influential to Lisa and her career. Songs from some of the greats like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris (and many more!) will be featured in the show along with plenty of stories to go with!

 

Moraine Valley Community College acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Illinois Arts Council Agency

Fine and Performing Arts Center Staff

Managing Director

Technical Director

Assistant Technical Director

Secretary

Art Gallery Coordinator

Front-of-House Staff

Technical Crew

Tommy Hensel

Sean McIntosh

Amanda Hantson

MaryAnn Luciano-Smith

Cecilia Vargas

Ramsey Bauer, Karen Datro, Page Domikaitis, Tom Gerez, Robin Kmiec, Jim Novak, David Roczkowski, Lisa Rock, Sujith Saju

Jaclyn Bobbitt, Nathan Carpenter, Alex Craig, Samm Hilger, Jessica Miller, Tom Schoenbeck, Guadalupe Sosa, Quintin Turnbow

By attending this performance, you acknowledge that you have granted permission to appear in photographs, video capture and capture by other media in all public spaces in the Fine and Performing Arts Center. Your image may be used by Moraine Valley Community College for promotional purposes. This blanket permission releases and  waives any claim against the college and its employees arising from the use of such images in any medium.