Who is he?
Rick is originally from Lansing, Michigan. He attended college in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University and earned his Bachelor of Arts in music from F.A.U. in the mid 80’s. His mother was a school teacher and piano player and introduced him to the old ragtime style as a youngster. When I asked Rick what sparked his interest in music, he replied with the fact that his mother put both him and his brother in the church choir at young ages which then grew into a desire to take piano lessons. Rick ran full speed ahead in pursuing his dreams in music and has not stopped since. With a full background in composing and choral arrangement, the opportunities to create and excel are unending.
It is indeed quite amazing how far the art of music has taken Rick: long term local worship settings (10 years the worship director at Spanish River Presbyterian); the mission field in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Spain; tour dates with Dean Martin’s daughter, Deana Martin; movie sets in Hollywood; and even to a resident homeless shelter every Sunday here in town. And that’s just a small look into the life and times of this local musician.
What is his style?
Truly, Rick’s roots are deeply enmeshed in Jazz. Studying guys like Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, he began to craft his own style, but the strong influence of these fine players would greatly affect his choices as a musician. As a result, those of us who dig that groove are thrilled! When Rick is seated at a piano, something heavenly occurs and there is no question that God in his perfect design, as mentioned in Jeremiah 29:11, had a plan for this son, and it was musical. I honestly cannot say enough about his ability to own an audience.
There is another part of Rick’s style that is overwhelmingly noteworthy: he has a passion for missions and the elderly. I think it is common knowledge that music has the power to change things. The simplest of melodies can thaw a cold heart, change a mind, or draw one closer to God, and that’s just a melody, add strong lyrics to that and the entire wall you have constructed around you can come crumbling down in one verse. It’s hard to know what to say sometimes to a hurting person, but when Rick plays and sings, it’s as if God has given him the ability to communicate authentic love in an entirely different language. That kind of love changes lives. That is ministry in full force. I’ve witnessed it and been the recipient of it and it is powerful. When you have a gift, using it for God’s glory is fairly painless, but going into foreign countries and getting outside of your comfort zone is another story. I love the fact that Rick does this as well, and I think it’s an awesome example of allowing God to stretch us outside of where we shine naturally into area where he shines purposefully through us.
Rick’s Spiritual Journey
Rick shares some of his journey: “In the late 80’s, I was blessed to have done a portion of my work in a few of the recording studios of that time. One of those was Spectrum Recording, located then in Deerfield Bch. The head recording engineer, Mike Grosso, was also the head audio guy at Spanish River Church (he later went on to be the head audio tech at Calvary Chapel in Ft. Lauderdale for the better part of the last 20 years). Not only did Mike witness to me, but he was instrumental in introducing me to David Nicholas and SRC where I went on to serve in various capacities of the music ministry there for the past 26 years.”
What is he up to now?
Rick is Currently the Music Director/Part time Worship Leader at Cross Community Church’ in Deerfield Beach, and the Co-Worship Leader at Broward Outreach Center, a Spanish River ministry.
He is the first-call vocalist for Zimmerman Advertising, which means you have heard him on many T.V. and radio spots.
He is the Keyboardist/Vocalist for British singer LuLu, and the musical director for singer/entertainer Deana Martin, who will be appearing this coming March 7-8 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art (The Rrazz Room).
You can also hear Rick on the new Rob Reiner film, And So it Goes, accompanying Diane Keaton.
Mission 500: Get Involved
Rick wrote and produced the song “One Child at a Time” for a friend at SRC who works in the Security Industry and founded a non-profit organization called Mission 500. The goal is to reach out to his industry to obtain corporate sponsorship of children through World Vision. Two versions of the song may be purchased on Google, iTunes, and Amazon. All proceeds go to World Vision. Currently, the song is also being translated into Portuguese and Spanish to brand NGO Mission 500 in South America.
It is vitally important to support our local musicians. Rick is one of many very gifted local players and it was an honor for me to do this story on him. I hope you were blessed and that you have the opportunity in the near future to experience his gift. I promise you will not walk away disappointed!
Robin is a singer and published songwriter and currently sings with the praise team at CRPC. She is happily married and enjoys being a stepmother to three daughters. Follow her on twitter at @robinmahria or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.