New Castle News

December 20, 2013

Gary Church: I’m no puppet — and no John Tesh either! (with video)

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — You would think a guy my age would have some idea what his next adventure would be.

Apparently, that’s not the case.

About a month ago, Gaylord Kauffman made an announcement that comedian/ventriloquist/musician Taylor Mason was coming to First Baptist Church.

I didn't pay much attention to his announcement, because I had never heard of him.

I found out later that back in the ’90s, he won on “Star Search,” a program I was not familiar with.

The very next week, Gaylord approached me and ask if I would do something during the program.

His exact words were, "It won't be hard."

Having a huge problem with saying "No" to people, I said, "OK."

The following week, Gaylord told me to watch a video on YouTube with Taylor Mason and John Tesh.

I did, and realized it was going to be easy. I had to play the part of John Tesh.

Because of a time change I was not aware of, I arrived at the program just before the band had to go out on the platform. I briefly met Taylor Mason, and told him I watched the John Tesh thing, and I know what to do.

He said, "We're not going to do that."

That was the total conversation I had with him before the worship band took their seats in the audience.

It was getting toward the end of the program, and I figured he changed his mind about using me in his act.

That was not the case.

Out of the clear blue sky, he said he would like Gary Church to come to the platform and teach everyone a new song.

Panic set in. I'm not a fast learner.

Taylor sat at the piano and had me lead the congregation in the song, "Jingle those bells, it's Christmas in New Castle."

It didn't make any difference that I had no idea how the song or the arrangement went.

As I was leaving the stage, someone in the audience shouted, "Have him play the piano!"

Taylor invited me back on stage, and we played a totally unrehearsed piano duet.

Should you ever have the opportunity, go see Taylor Mason. He is a very funny fellow.

A few helpful hints will help you get through the program without being embarrassed.

Don't come in late like Doug's wife did. He won't stop heckling  you the rest of the program.

Should the puppet ask you a question, don't answer the puppet. You'll get made fun of.

If you have to go to the bathroom while he is at the piano, expect some fast moving music to accompany you on your way out.

When you return to your seat, expect a welcome back song.

My daughter Leann was able to video the few minutes I was on stage with Taylor, if you care to watch it.

I'll give you a clue which person I am, so you don't confuse me with one of his puppets.

Look for the fat guy with the bad knees, and no hand up the back of his shirt.