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John Riesen, tenor

Neill Campbell, piano

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"This is a disc of stories touchingly delivered and well told...most appealing. The repertoire is carefully chosen, and the delivery fervent. Recommended.



"Growing up, baseball was my first passion. I earned All-State Academic and All-Region awards in Michigan as a pitcher and was primed to take the collegiate world by storm. I never considered the idea of being a professional singer, and in hind sight, it is amazing to see how my path has unfolded. It wasn't until I was nearly in college that my grandmother, Ruth Banker, offered me and my siblings the opportunity to receive lessons in the arts. My family thought that voice lessons would be a good idea, as I was the only member of the family to be tone-deaf... unable to match pitch, if you can believe that! One thing led to another and my first voice teacher, Mr. Goslin, took me under his wing and encouraged me to consider singing as my career. Everything that followed was a blur, moving so quickly I can hardly remember the details. It was at this turning point in my life, from baseball to voice, that I met Richard Fracker at Michigan State University, who has been my mentor ever since. It was Richard Fracker who introduced me to the song that changed my life, "What you'd call a dream" by Craig Carnelia: a song about reliving a memory of playing baseball. I wept the first time I heard Fracker sing it and found myself hoping that someday I'd be able to share my experiences with audiences through this piece too. In time, the mantle was passed to me to carry on this glorious piece and it has since become my signature song across the U.S. With much encouragement and support, I am thrilled to finally share it, along with several other songs close to my heart: "You're the Best," a song written by my father for the passing of his mother years before I was a singer, "The First Drop of Rain," a song written by Mark Dickson for his wife Chantal both of whom Gillian and I simply adore, and a world premiere by the incredible Evan L. Snyder."

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