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Moliere’s 1644 satire “Tartuffe”, ever a controversial and hilarious story about the abuses of a few church leaders,  was set in modern times in the quite appropriate city of Canton, Ohio. Canton was the home of Ernest Angely, the hellfire and brimstone televangelist who healed the sick nightly (‘be healed!!’) from his mega-church meetings. 
A bold move, indeed for the Players Guild of Canton’s director Jerry Lowe. Mr. Lowe created a very different production: It was in English and completely Americanized. The main character’s names were changed: Orgon became O.R. Damas was Donald, etc. But most important of all: O.R. looks like, acts like, and sings like Elvis Presley. Brilliant. 
All that Jerry Lowe needed was someone to create canned arrangements of some Elvis hits that O.R. could sing to: that became my job. I learned Elvis songs, and then went over the top in their re-arrangement, in the spirit of this wonderful satire – pulling all the stops on glitz and over doing it. Great fun. 
This is the opening curtain music and intro to the first song, “Love Me Tender”. We see O.R. mounted on a sparkling crescent moon way atop the stage – slowly coming down. Right out of a Busby Berkely film. 
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Opening Curtain and introduction to “Love Me Tender”

Jailhouse Rock / Hallelujah”
Notice there is no credit for my work (or even the Kopperhead name) on the title page at all. It’s not anywhere in the book. While Jerry Lowe was superb at pulling off a bold show at a time the community needed to laugh at televangelism – he wasn’t so organized about the music. All of these songs had to be produced in very short order – and that he was used to coming to Lee Kopp for his company’s musical needs expecting ad gratis asap. I’m sure the booklets were printed before I began working on the project. I did the work for nothing, but had a great time doing it for a few days, plus, I got to see the show. 
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 My commercial music career began in 1987 while still a Masters of Music Composition student at the University of Akron and quickly grew. After getting started with music for radio ads and industrial in-house video productions, my next step was to affiliate with the bigger-league people and facilities in my region. 

 

That move happened when I was invited to join Kopperhead Studios – an excellent studio in the residential streets of North Canton, Ohio – about a 30 minute drive from my apartment in north Akron. Kopperhead was the child of Lee Kopp, a trumpet player and self taught audio/music professional. Lee is an expert in the New England Digital Synclavier Digital Music System. His was one of the larger systems in the country and he became my Synclavier mentor. 
 

His Synclavier had 32 sampling voices, 32 FM Voices, two racks of MIDI interfaces (8 ports each), 16MB of RAM (quite expensive) and a 40GB Winchester Hard Drive (12″ platter), LTC sync, and a full multi out. Typically, his system consisted of a keyboard controller station and a 6 foot tower located in another room. The sound of the Synclavier is legendary – and even though it’s architecture output with only a 16bit audio resolution – it sounded more open and natural than nearly any product I’ve since heard – even 25 years later. Most of Kopperhead’s library was tweaked for size efficiency by Mr. Kopp to afford large ensembles to be sequenced and play back simultaneously within the 16MB memory limit to facilitate quick production.

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