BG teen steps up to the big stage
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor
Friday, 27 July 2012 09:34
Connor Rose is brimming with confidence.
|Connor Rose entertains at a lunch in City Park (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The 16-year-old country singer has become a familiar face, and voice, in the area over the past couple year.
He's sung the national anthem at Bowling Green State University as well as at a Cleveland Indians game and other sporting events . With the Connor Rose Show, he's played dozens of shows for listeners of all ages.
Rose has made appearances at county fairs around the area, including his hometown Wood County Fair.
This year though he's going to step up to the big stage.
On Aug. 4 Rose and his band will perform on the Grandstand Stage as the opening act for fair headliner Gretchen Wilson.
His job, Rose said, is to get up and "give them a kick." That means a set of the kind of up-tempo tunes he loves to sing.
Rose said in the two years he's been performing, he's learned to manage his nerves. "Eventually you get over it, the nerves turn to adrenalin."
Rose, the son of Don Jr. and Kim Rose, of Bowling Green, grew up surrounded by music.
Don Rose Jr. said his grandmother was a piano player, and his father Don Sr. played at square and round dances around the area for many years.
Don Rose plays bass, and has a piano and other instruments around the house as an encouragement for Connor and his sister Taylor, to play.
Despite that exposure to music, Connor Rose said, "I really never had the passion until I started performing."
His musical style of choice was naturally country. "I grew up with it," he said. "It's all I know. ... It tells a story."
Connor plays mandolin, which he started teaching himself about a year ago, and harmonica on stage. He's also self-taught on piano.
It's his voice, though, that has earned him his fans.
Having a big break at the county fair is fitting. The first time he sang in public was at the Sandusky County Fair when his dad called him on stage to sing "Sweet Home Alabama" with his band.
The young Rose has been hooked ever since. He loves the attention from audiences, and revels in the photos fans wearing his souvenir T-shirts send him.
This, he said, is what he wants to do.
He's not the only Rose enjoying himself. Don Rose said that with the focus on his son - the band is now the Connor Rose Show, he's having the time of his life. After playing music for 35 years, he said, "I'm enjoying it more now than ever."
Connor has traveled down to Nashville to scope out the scene and to record.
His first single "Textin' and Talkin'" a humorous look at teen social life inspired in part by his sister.
He's now working on a half-dozen other originals with an eye toward getting a record deal.
In the meantime, he's playing dozens of gigs a year. In addition to the grandstand show, he's also playing the first night of the fair in at free tent Monday at 8 p.m. and then an acoustic show for seniors Thursday at 11 a.m,
At Christmas time he does a circuit of senior centers and nursing homes, joined by his sister Taylor and his father. "It's a way of giving back to the community, Rose said.
Later in the month he'll play at the Rossford Fest, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Park.