The Journey with Andy Ooley


How many kids have said, "Tell me a story!" That desire doesn't go away when you grow up. People loooove a great story! And they love great storytellers. Jesus knew that so well that much of what he taught was in the form of a story.

Whatever you do- do your best to take the listener/watcher on a journey somewhere. I've found that performance is just like the ebbs and flows of life- like the waves of the ocean. To depart from this theory is to risk that the watcher may become dazzled by your talent, but bored with your performance.

I remember watching two excellent guitarists playing background music at a fundraiser. Being familiar with their talents separately, it was my first time seeing them play together. I expected great things- but after listening for 10 minutes, I was let down. They were performing stratospheric feats of guitar gymnastics, but there was no structure. No dynamics. No ebb and flow. It was just a lot of skillful noodling. There’s a difference between being self-aware and self-absorbed. As artists, we’re here to serve others. Not ourselves.

Being a musician myself, I understand background music should be unobtrusive. But make no mistake- people are listening. And singing, acting or dancing- every time a performer practices the craft, people want to be taken somewhere.

One of my personal favorite songs since I was a kid is a 17-minute piece from 1968 called "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly. Simple lyrics at the front and back end, but the music in the middle is where the magic happens. It's theatrical. It has highs and lows, intense energy and soft lulls. To me, the song gives the illusion you don't know where it's going to take you next. It creates pictures in my mind of different places around the world as it plays out.

Another one- a Classical piece- is Symphony #9 in E minor, aka “The New World Symphony” by Antonin Dvorak. All 4 movements paint a different picture. Again, highs and lows and variations on a theme. Were he alive today, he would be writing movie soundtracks.

When you dance- as you move through space, tell me a story. Take me somewhere. When you act, introduce me to someone I've never met before. Show me who they are in truth, humor, energy, and clarity. Develop their backstory, and bring me to this window of time in their history.

Jesus in you is a great storyteller!

Andy and Bernie Ooley,

Andy and Bernie Ooley,