Carson kicks off Coming Home series
LA GRANDE — Tim Carson is a professional singer with quite the repertoire and perhaps an equally extensive list of places he’s toured as a vocal coach. He also happens to be a 1989 graduate of La Grande High School, and he’s returning to Northeast Oregon for a June 30 concert.
“I remember expressing a passion for singing to (LHS choir teacher J. Michael Frasier) when I was about 15, and he said that he saw talent in me and encouraged me to go for it,” Carson said. “But he also said he wouldn’t (coach me) for free.”
Carson said he was raised by a single mom with food stamps and a rent-free home provided by a friend from church. Carson couldn’t afford a monetary charge for lessons, but Frasier was willing to accept a different kind of payment.
“I kept track of the hours he coached me, and each summer I worked it off,” Carson said. “One summer I built a fence for him.”
Carson said he is grateful for not just the flexible payment system, but also the lesson he learned.
“It wasn’t a free hand out, so that helped me appreciate the value of working for what I want,” he said. “I learned to value my own effort and my own time.”
Carson said that sense of value and pride in his own work helped motivate him to continue working toward his career.
In addition to singing, Carson has started his own vocal coaching business, Vocal Artistry. He tours North America providing singers with the tools they need to reach their goals, either through private lessons or large conferences.
“I’d say the roles (of performer and coach) complement each other,” he said. “I am better at each because of the other. Coaching
makes me more refined as a performer, and performing makes me a more grounded coach.”
Tim Carson in Concert is the first in an occasional Coming Home Concert Series sponsored by the Liberty Theatre Foundation’s Organ/Piano Committee, and Carson is arguably the best person to launch the series.
“A classically trained singer, having earned a graduate degree in voice, Tim brings vocal mastery to his deep love for modern pop, jazz, and musical theater styles making his concerts a rare experience showcasing his vast stylistic diversity,” according to the event description.
Carson said audiences can expect that level of variety at the Presbyterian Friendship Center, 1204 Spring Ave., La Grande.
“Over the last few years, rather than boxing myself into one niche, my concerts span a wide spectrum,” he said.
The Coming Home Concert Series is devoted to bringing talented musicians of the Grande Ronde Valley back to share their passion. The series benefits the Liberty Theatre Foundation’s Organ/Piano Committee, a group of volunteers dedicated to ensuring the restored theater will include an upgraded electronic organ and grand piano.
Carson said it means a lot to return to La Grande.
“I haven’t been back much since graduating. I’m excited to return to the environment where it all started,” he said.
The event will also feature local musicians Luke McKern, Greg Johnson, Lea Emerson, Mark Emerson and Shahayla Ononaiye. Refreshments will be served, and beverages will be available for sale. Tickets are available online or at the Union County Chamber of Commerce, 207 Depot in La Grande.