Tinley Park man finds that success can be had for a song
BY GINGER BRASHINGER Correspondent May 8, 2013 4:02PM
Andrew High School graduate was recently featured as the soloist on Channel 11's Christmas show. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 10, 2013 6:03AM
Wesley Frye has every reason to believe he has a bright future in music.
A recent performance that was shown on many PBS television stations across the country is just one of those reasons.
The 19-year-old Tinley Park man attends Luther College in Iowa on music and academic scholarships, thanks in part to four years of musical accomplishments at Andrew High School.
For about eight years starting at age 5, Frye studied classical piano. He also is an award-winning trombonist.
His first musical love, however, is vocals, and although it took him a while, he discovered he has a voice people want to hear.
Frye said until a few years ago, as much as he loved to sing, he was reluctant to do it in front of an audience.
“I knew from fourth or fifth grade that I could sing,” Frye said, “but I never did outside of the house.”
Frye’s father, Mark Frye, said Wesley actually “refused” to sing.
“I tried to work with him, but he just did not want to sing anytime,” Mark Frye said. “Of course, he’d start singing as soon as I left the room.”
Frye would accompany himself on the piano, playing his favorite pop songs by sight-reading or by ear. He said he had a personal breakthrough when he was chosen as the male lead in the eighth-grade play at St. Damian Catholic School in Oak Forest.
“Doing that eighth-grade play made me realize I really wanted to do something like this in high school,” Frye said.
In his first audition in his freshman year at Andrew, Frye was chosen as one of six cast members for the fall musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
“I was really stunned to find my name on the list,” Frye said.
Later the same school year, Frye was one of two freshmen chosen for a speaking role in the spring musical.
He continued playing instrumental music, but he knew he had found his passion in singing. Frye participated in 20 school musicals during his high school years, often in a leading role.
Frye and his father credit choral director Chris Moen for having the vision to set Frye on the path to singing success.
“Moen really propelled Wesley’s career,” Mark Frye said.
When Frye was a freshman, Moen suggested he enhance his natural talent with voice lessons. Frye took his advice.
“I think it was by the end of my freshman year ... that I knew I wanted music to be a significant part of my life,” Frye said.
The decision has paid off. As a member of Luther College’s freshman male choir, the Luther Norsemen, Frye was chosen as a soloist for “Christmas at Luther 2012: Tidings of Comfort and Joy” which aired on PBS channels across the country in December.
His intention is to make his first national performance one of many to come, Frye said, possibly in opera, musical theatre or both.
Whatever he chooses, he has a great deal of support from his musical family. Frye said both parents play musical instruments and his mother, Jean, has “a great voice.”
He doesn’t hold back when describing his siblings, Kara, 17, and Warren, 14, either. He describes Kara, a senior at Andrew, as a “gifted dancer” whose participation in Andrew’s chorale ensemble echoes his own. Frye said he was “blown away” by her voice in a recent performance.
Warren, a freshman at Andrew, is “a very accomplished alto sax player and singer” and “probably the smartest of all of us,” Frye said.
“We eat, sleep and breathe music and the arts,” Frye said. “It’s a wonderful communication between us.”
Frye said although he hasn’t decided on his long-term career goal, his reluctance to sing for an audience is definitely a thing of the past.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to sing in front of anybody and everybody who wants to hear me,” Frye said.