Curry reaches ‘Milestone’ with first CD
by Kelly Kruithoff
Leader-Courier (Elk Point, South Dakota)
Printed June 10, 1999

It’s not often that a high school senior reaches one of his or her life’s “milestones” while still in high school, but Joe Curry of Elk Point has. Curry, a 1999 graduate of Elk Point-Jefferson High School, recently released his first CD, “Milestones.” He composed and performed all twelve songs on the album.

The composer-arranger-performer began his formal music career with piano lessons at the age of six. He has had three teachers in his 12-year career: Jacque Heckathorn and Mary Schuh of Elk Point and Richard Steinbach, a professor at Briar Cliff College.

About a year ago, Curry became interested in the prospect of making a CD before graduating from high school. He composed his first song, “Rejuvenation”, in April of 1998 and as he began completing more songs, he further investigated the process of making a CD.

Curry knew he wanted to use an acoustic grand piano to record his songs and chose Rainbow Recording Studios in Omaha, Nebraska. The studio was the closest with the type of piano he wanted, as well as being reasonable in price.

To help him in his search, he purchased a book titled, “How to Make & Sell Your Own Recording.” Curry said it was a great help in learning the lingo and process of making a CD. After recording the music at the Omaha studio, Curry began his search for graphic artists and CD manufacturers. He chose Precision Powerhouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

His book advised finding a graphic artist whose work Curry liked. Curry said he liked the work of Jim Hinman, who has done the artwork on several of New Age pianist Lorie Line’s CDs.

As he looked for Hinman in the Twin Cities area, he found three listings for persons with that name. Not knowing which of the three was the artist he was looking for, he was about to give up when he found that Hinman worked for the studio producing his CD. It was “pretty cool” to have Hinman work on his CD, Curry noted. Pictures for the CD were taken by Jack Bobier, a photographer in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

The CD’s are available at Pioneer Drug and Prairie Point Quilts and Gifts in Elk Point, South Dakota; Uncle John, Sam Goody, Bell, Book & Candle, Christian Book & Gift and Carol’s Corner in Sioux City, Iowa as well as K&M Music, Dakota Zone, Bath, Etc., R’ Little Shoppe and Zandbroz Variety in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They can also be purchased by mail.

In addition, Curry prepared a 62-page piano book of the songs on the CD. Curry said the best time to write a song “is when I’m most tired.” He added that when he’s tired “I’m the least critical and have the most inspiration.”

When he composes, Curry sits at his piano and scratches notes onto paper. He later inputs the music into Finale, a computer software program. “I use common chord patterns to write the basis of a song and then I add unusual Chords here and there to serve as hooks, or the catchy musical phrases, in a song.”

Curry said each song on his CD relates a special meaning, which is described in the liner notes in the CD. There are no vocals on the CD, but two of the songs have lyrics. One of the songs, “Test Your Wings”, was performed by Curry and the EPJ High School Choir at Elk Point -Jefferson’s graduation ceremonies May 23.

Curry will attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He won’t let his studies in the university’s business school stop him from writing more songs and possibly making another CD. Future plans include area performances of his music.