(OCTOBER 6, 1956 – MARCH 27, 2017)
~Singer, songwriter, vocal coach, music director and double lung transplant recipient~ “What a journey it has been so far.”
Check out Eric’s FACEBOOK page for remembrances.
Born October 6, 1956 in Highland, Indiana. By the time he was 12, his family had moved to Chicago, where he studied classical guitar. After high school, he attended Chicago Musical College, where he studied voice, classical guitar and then stumbled upon the theatre dept. He left the conservatory two years later and joined Chicago’s Free Street Theater, a traveling performing arts outreach program.
After four years with Free Street, performing, writing songs, and working in schools, hospitals, and communities, he won a major role in “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road.” The show took him to New York City. There, he pursued a career onstage, worked in touring musicals, did bit parts in soaps: The Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, One Life to Live – and did Theatre by the Sea in Portsmouth. He toured Europe with “Annie Get Your Gun” and landed the title role in “Volodya/Russian Hero” at the eclectic, world-renown LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Company. By 1995, he had decided on a career as a solo singer-songwriter and found his music was well accepted. He won two Back Stage Bistro Awards from New York critics. In addition, Eric worked as a visiting musician for Hospital Audiences Inc. and soon made it to the top of HAI’s roster as a most-requested performer.
In spite of his success as a solo artist, Eric found he was performing sick all the time. In June 1997, he was diagnosed with Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which destroys lung function. Enough of that…. See News Flash. NEWS FLASH: March 21, 2013 he received the amazing gift of a double lung transplant! The condition, however, meant a lifestyle change – pacing himself, no more smoky bars. His next “gig” would reveal another side of his talent, nurtured by the children of New York’s Hudson Guild. There, he wrote and taught the music curriculum for 140 pre-kindergarten children in the poor and working-class neighborhood of Chelsea. “It was one of those life-changing experiences,” he said. He discovered he had another gift – a talent for working with children. However, in 1999, after a bout with pneumonia, he decided to move to Arizona in search of better air quality, but not before recording “I Am I” with the Hudson Guild children for his CD Real Slow. The title song reflects a turning point in his life. “I was thinking about death because I was feeling so bad. I had gone through such sickness and pain. I remember the moment that I read the article about the Indian Ocean, (to which he refers in the lyrics), and that’s the moment that I chose to fight. I stood up and said, “I want to swim in the Indian Ocean.” Eric now happily lives in Tucson, AZ. Part of his song “True Friends” is in the family film “First Dog.” Two of his songs are featured Coalition to Unchain Dogs videos. Eric has written songs for the Learning A-Z educational website where his music has a been a total hit! He has produced six CDs of his own music as well as CDs for other artists in the Tucson area. He was Musical Director of the Sonoran Desert Center For Spiritual Living. In the past twelve years he successfully brought his music to New Thought churches around the country. His music has been featured at spiritual retreats such as: Asilomar, The Big Sky Retreat and ANTN.
His song Hero In The Dark won the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award. His song The Holy Man won 2006 Unisong International Songwriting Competition. He won a Music to Life award, presented by Noel Paul and Elizabeth Stookey. He was also named a Kerrville Festival New Folk finalist 1999 and 2007, and he was a finalist in the Plowshares Songwriting Competition. Eric recorded six CDs on his own label, Half Moon Full Star Records and he published songs from his family CD in The Nobody Knows Songbook.
Eric taught voice and coached singers and was musical director at his church. “I’ve always had this fantasy of someday being a famous teacher that works with folk singers.” He had a vision of himself in his later years: long, flowing gray hair, flip flops and tank top. Maybe sporting a goatee… “And people would come from all over to Tucson to study with me.”