Composer, Actor, Musician, Singer
Jeff has been fortunate to be able to share these gifts and skills that he has over the years with an ever widening audience. Whether it’s preparing a sermon, leading a workshop, or writing music. Somehow, someway, he hopes he is part of telling God’s story. I understand that not everyone believes in God…..but you know what? I do. A while back I learned about a dishwasher in a hotel. As he waited for the evening to end,he listened to the speaker of the evening talk about Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the whole story of the virgin birth. Afterward he asked this question. “Is that story really true? If it isn’t, it should be, because it’s so beautiful”. For me that’s enough of a reason to believe right there. Everyone needs something extraordinary in there life. Some pull that from imaginary things, I choose to believe that it’s real and true. And if I am wrong, at least I am reaching out to something that is far greater than my own thoughts. Even with a faith that is smaller than a mustard seed.
He’s played piano since he was about eleven years old. But he’s not had formal training other than Rutherford Mains at the Ostrowsky Institute…… but that’s another story.
Jeff’s been working with various theater groups 1986. From improv to composing music, he continues to receive invitations to collaborate. In 2002 life changed a little….okay a lot.
What kind of music?
I get asked that question a lot. What kind of music do you play? I suppose some assume it’s all churchy music. I’m not exactly sure what they are referring to. A little jazz, a little blues, I don’t really know. I suppose it depends on the venue. I try to inject truth into the lyrics. I try to have fun when playing. I immerse myself. Some ask,”is it all faith-based”? My answer? It’s life-based, and the soul of my life is around faith and things spiritual. Not that I’m some perfect church dude. In fact, I once was described as a great “misunderstander” of God’s Love. While I think they meant it as an insult, I’ve really come to embrace that idea. I am indeed that. And anyone who honestly thinks they understand that fully, well I guess I’ll never measure up to that.
What I honestly hope for is that my music is not stodgy and stiff and that anyone can listen and find something they relate to. Some of that might be the blues, some of it is crunchy discordant 7th chords with flatted 13th’s added. Does that help? At the very least, it is music filled with color. I write songs about Training Wheels as sons grow older. I write about Honey and Locusts and the story of John The Baptist. I even have one called, “What would I do, without my debt?”
Limited Seating Coffeehouse
You may have noticed on the calendar this thing called the Limited Seating Coffeehouse and wondered where it is. Well we hold those here at our house. We host some and occassionally others host them. Sometimes we know the guests, sometimes they are new friends. We can only seat 18 maximum, hence the name. And we only hold these during the Winter months. It’s also by invitation only and so it takes awhile to get through the list of people. It’s a delightful evening where we reveal the story of how we got the Schimmel piano. There is a wonderful spread of desserts, fresh fruit, coffee, and more. And then Jeff shares songs and stories that have been part of his journey over the years. If you’re interested….. let us know.
One update on this. The Limited Seating Coffeehouse is now on the road. So book Jeff at your own venue for this very special kind of evening.
Jeff has been blessed to be working with Ted Swartz on various projects. In 2008 they created the show Tattered and Worn and that has reached deeper than what was imagined. It’s a poignant, delightful story of an angel helping a homeless man re-discover the faith he thought he lost. In 2009 they co-wrote a new Christmas show – “Just Give Em The News. and the bookings for that are continuing to increase. There’s a scene of God & Gabriel in God’s office as they differ on the way to let Mary know she will be with child. After all “It’s a little complicated”. And who would want to miss the chance to sing along with “Get Mary Off The Donkey…she’s gonna have a baby tonight? Finally there’s a delightful exchange between Schmidick the Shepherd that should not be missed. They are remounting a show about money called What’s So Funny About Money? A great teaching kind of show that gives you the opportunity to explore stewardship, and new ways to broach the subject of money. If you would like a little sample…..check this out. They have also poured more effort and creativity into another new show called “The Jesus Stories…What’s for Lunch?” New songs, new scenes, a delightful new look at Jesus and the many ways we learn about coming to the table.
Beyond his role as co-creator, actor and musician in some of Ted & Company shows, Jeff is
This might seem to be an odd entry in comparison to some of my other roles. Read on. I’ve worked at Crane in both full and part-time roles since 1998. In fact I still work there part-time when I’m not out on the road. You sometimes read about how the support of the arts is down. I will tell you this; Crane Specialists Inc. in Manheim PA, co-owned by Mike Farmer & Jeff Kline are indeed supporting the arts. When in town I work for them and they offer me a good wage. Then when I have opportunity, they release me. And my part-time job is there for me when I come back. It’s really a great relationship. Someone asked me once” Do you still get benefits since it’s part-time?” Yes, I have a fantastic benefit. It’s called a job! And in doing so, Crane is supporting the arts. Allowing me as an artist to pursue my creative life on the road yet providing a wage for work I do when home. I’m grateful that I have such an opportunity.
He’s also been called for leading some church retreats. Small groups as well as congregations. Laughing, Singing, Reflecting, Praying….. Finding all of those things deeply connected to our awareness of God in our lives. But not being afraid to be wonderfully flawed in the presence of God at the same time. He’ll write original scripts for your group and get you engaged in the time together. If you would like to know of groups that have had Jeff lead them, please contact him and he will get you in touch.
By the way, if you if you or your small group, theater cohorts, corporate collaborators or others are looking for a place to share some vision and time together “away” be sure to consider http://www.auntkarensfarm.org/. It is appropriately located in Mount Vision NY which is conveniently located about 2 hours away from ….well …..somewhere that’s 2 hours away…..but you can get there from anywhere….go…..relax…..enjoy……retreat.
He was called to serve at Ridgeview Mennonite Church as their Minister of Music. And now that is changing as well. At the end of August 2011, his time at Ridgeview came to a close. He served on the staff for 8 years, had given leadership to the music for about 17, and had been playing there for almost 29 years. And was quite simply, time. He will continue to seek out the new opportunities that come his way. And now will have more openings on weekends, for you to invite him…..(hint, hint)
Raught N. Apples
It’s an Improvisation Comedy Troupe called….Raught N. Apples – comedy to the core. If you are looking for something for a banquet or company gathering. ..this is it. Jeff and his troupe of talented comedic actors deliver improv comedy hand-picked by you. Jeff has been doing “Improv” for many years, but now with Raught N. Apples it has an identity. And now you can contact us and book us for a different night of entertainment.
Raught N. Friends
There are times when the original band members are not available. And besides, Jeff’s work has taken him far and wide and he has the opportunity to work with a lot of different musicians and so Raught N. Friends was born. I mean we all have some good friends, but hey they let you down from time to time. What everybody needs is some Raught N. Friends. You don’t expect much, therefore you’re not disappointed So if you are feeling a little down, give us a call, let us be your Raught N. Friends.
Raught N. Shane
In 1992 Jeff along with Deeter Lutz formed the band Raught N. Shane and Doug Kulp joined them in 93′. They don’t perform together as often as they once did. But the band is still loosely banded together and when the opportunity presents, the schedules align, the wind is blowing from the west, the sun is 37 degrees above the horizon….well they continue to perform.Robin Work & Lisa Meck Engel have been a part of the mix, and join them when they can.
Since 1983 it’s been Jeff & Cindy. They have two fine sons, Alan and Ed and an extraordinary canine….Henry. Alan calls Salt Lake City UT home these days. And Ed has moved to Rochester NY and is now married to Kaylee. So it’s back to Jeff & Cindy time. But what matters is most having God surrounding him and his family.