Opinion

Hodge: Gretzky-like music phenom rises above his contemporaries

For those of you not closely attached to the current Okanagan, Interior and Canadian music industry, Salmon Arm’s Greg Sczebel is somewhat of a reigning Wayne Gretzky of the music world.

He certainly carries that aura in the gospel music genre and continues to threaten to kick down the doors of multiple music genres across the nation. Quite simply—the boy is amazing.

That reality could not be much better exemplified than the fact that earlier this week Sczebel was selected as one of the three finalists in nine separate categories of the B.C. Interior Music Awards.

He earned nominations in the Songwriter of the Year, Album of the Year Producer of the Year, Single of the Year, and  Gospel artist of the year categories.

The final shakedown of the 2011 B.C. Interior Music Awards will take place on April 23 at the Kelowna Community Theatre, presented by Astral Radio.

It will be a great night of music. (For the complete listing of the final top three nominees in the awards go to www.BCIMA.org).

Sczebel’s outstanding writing and musical skills quite simply transcend him to another level from many others in the arduous and demanding world of on stage performances.

His musical and songwriting ability surpasses the majority of others in the field. In some ways, it is simply no longer a level playing field in B.C.

Many moons ago as a young newspaper reporter, I was part of a media hockey pool. Annually we’d battle for hockey knowledge supremacy.

In such a hockey pool, the goal was always to get the first overall pick, even though the top choice might be one of three or four equally talented players.

Then along came Wayne Gretzky. His phenomenal, superstar skills were such that we had to change the rules in the hockey pools.

No longer could the first pick overall take Gretzky and all his scoring points.

Because of his outstanding skill, we decided that it was only fair to split Gretzky’s point total between goals and assists.

In other words if you were lucky enough to win the first pick overall you could not take Gretzky’s full points—only half of them.

Perhaps the B.C, Interior Music Awards should consider the same rule for Greg Sczebel. Otherwise, not many others have a chance of gaining any hardware.

As one of the judges who had to reduce the multiple nominees in each category down to the top three, I can attest that the choices were difficult.

However, in many of the categories involving Sczebel it generally came down to who the ‘other two’ selections would be aside from Greg.

In the gospel category, a new, young talent by the name of Dave Bremner certainly awoke my attention.

It was only then that I fully realized just how difficult the odds were for anyone who goes up against Sczebel.

Bremner is wonderful—great songwriter, strong vocals, solid musicianship. Yet Sczebel still outshines.

What makes the whole phenomena of Sczebel even more amazing is that he is truly a wonderful, kind, intelligent, caring human being as well as gifted.

It’s taken him many years to get to this point of recognition and respect—years of hard work, incredible dedication, commitment, and struggle.

Yet I still feel somewhat sorry for Bremner. His timing sucks.

Bremner deserves huge recognition and hopefully he will get it someday soon.

But until Sczebel falls from grace (and don’t hold your breath on that), Bremner might just be like those other incredible talents in the NHL who battled for the limelight against Gretzky—who got it all.

We are blessed with so much talent in B.C. and Greg Sczebel will be the first to say he is incredibly blessed. But sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

Just ask all the other musicians nominated for awards on April 24.

***

Here is an event to pencil in well in advance.

Women—Voices for Action!, a full-day forum organized by the City of Kelowna’s advisory committee on community and women’s issues is set for Friday, April 15, at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre.

Attendance is limited for this free event, so pre-registration must be completed by April 8.

Call 250-762-2355 or email  womensforum2011@gmail.com.

The day-long events is the second community forum organized by the advisory committee since 2009.

It will provide an opportunity for women in Kelowna to learn and talk about local priorities.

For more info contact Micki at 250-763-2355.

 

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