November 26, 2004
For most East Valley re sidents, the name Schnepf is synonymous with farming.
But long before she became the matriarch of Queen Creek’s Schnepf Farms, one of the Valley’s popular family destinations, Carrie Schnepf was a classically trained pianist and self-taught singer who worked her way through college performing in musical theater.
"Music has always been a passion of mine," Schnepf says. "When I’m happy I’ll sing, and when I’m having a rough day I’ll just sit down and play the piano."
Aside from singing the national anthem at sporting events around the Valley, Schnepf has not performed publicly for nearly 20 years after spending a decade in TV news, raising four children and helping tend the family farm.
Saturday night, Schnepf will make her return to the stage at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, singing music from her newly released holiday CD, "Season of Seasons."
Guest performers at the holiday extravaganza will include David Osmond (son of Alan Osmond of the famed Osmond Brothers); renowned Nashville songwriter Gary Baker, who wrote three songs on Schnepf ’s disc; and Los Angeles-based producer and arranger Jerry Williams.
Tentatively scheduled to perform is Schnepf’s lifelong friend Shawn King, wife of CNN’s Larry King and an aspiring country vocalist.
"This will be an opportunity to not only hear me sing, but to hear these other people, who are the best of the best of musicians," Schnepf says.
"And to hear me sing — a lot of people just think of me as ‘Carrie Schnepf: farmer,’ " she laughs. "And that’s what I’ve been for 14 years. And now everyone is going think, ‘Wow! She sings!’ "
A year ago Schnepf’s husband, Mark, surprised his wife with a gift of studio time, and work began in earnest on her debut CD.
"My husband said, ‘Here, I want you to record,’ " Schnepf says. "He has been so supportive — he loves it when I sit at the piano and sing. He said it was time to record my voice right now, as voices tend to change when you get older."
Working with producer Williams, who coordinated the backing tracks laid down by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Schnepf recorded her vocals in Nashville, Tenn.
The result is a holiday CD featuring her vocals and rockabilly, country, torch and R &B versions of seasonal classics.
"I love to do Christmas," Schnepf explains. "I love to sing Christmas songs — they are timeless songs that everybody loves."
Schnepf’s son Connor, 10, a member of the Phoenix Boys Choir, sang on a tune and wowed everybody in the studio.
"He nailed it in one take!" Schnepf, says laughing. "Everybody was saying, ‘Why can’t you teach your mother to do that?’ "
The disc can be purchased at Robb & Stuckey and through www.Carriesmusic.com. Two dollars from every CD sold will benefit Childhelp USA.