The Grand Jubilee with Singer Jonny Drockelman
“Cut From the Same Cloth”
Singer Jonny Drockelman performs in the Grand Jubilee with New South, a dynamic quartet with tight gospel-like harmonies. Jonny sings baritone with New South, and has previously performed at Silver Dollar City and the White House Theatre. You can see Jonny Drockelman perform with New South year-round in The Grand Jubilee 7:30pm daily at Grand Country Music Hall (1945 W 76 Country Blvd).
Q: Where are you from and where did you go to school?
I grew up in Pekin, Illinois and went to Pekin High. Nice little town, it’s about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis. If you’re familiar with the Peoria area, it’s around there. I graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois before I made it down here in Branson.
Q: What did you study there?
Music Education. I might want to be teacher someday, but I’ve been in Branson for 15 years now and I’m just having fun down here.
Q: How long have you guys in New South performed together?
New South has been around for 12 years, with Mark [McCauley, bass singer] being an original member. This particular edition of New South has been together since August.
Q: Last August ?
Q: Wow. You can’t really tell you guys haven’t been performing very long together.
Thanks! (Laughs) We’ve got a lot of genuine chemistry we developed early on, and it’s really helped us feel natural in putting on a good show and getting the audience into it.
Q: Whose music and sound influenced you the most?
I love this question! (Laughs) Growing up, my dad and older brother’s music really inspired me. The Beatles, definitely. The Allman Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor. Country, jazz, and blues, basically everything but rap.
Q: You sing baritone for New South. Do you play any instruments? If so, who taught you to play?
I play guitar. My first lesson was at 6 years old and I’ve been playing off and on my whole life. But I pretty much taught myself to play, and I write music as a hobby. I learned to sing by ear in church, and sang tenor at one time. I originally sang tenor when I first joined the band, but our baritone left last year and we had the chance to get Jason (Robinson), who sings tenor. I went up to Mark and said, “If we can get Jason, I’d gladly move over to baritone.” So that’s what we did.
Q: You guys seem to have a lot of chemistry.
Yeah, we’re cut from the same cloth. Our dressing room is only 10 feet long and 4 feet wide – it really forces us to form a close brotherhood.
Q: Who would you say is the ham of Country Jubilee?
(Laughing) Probably Wayne Massengale, our fiddler. (Cracks up) He has fun up there. What people don’t know is Larry Allred, our bassist, is one of the funniest behind the scenes.
Q: Of the numerous awards Country Jubilee has won, which ones are you most proud of?
We won Gospel Group of the Year last year, for 2014. We’re actually performing a matinee gospel show once a week this year called New South Gospel. It’s 2 hours of southern gospel, a great blend of voices and harmony.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entertainers in Branson?
Never give up. That’s the most important thing. Be diverse in different styles and genres of music and comedy…this town is NOT just country!
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson? Where can we find Jonny Drockelman on an off day?
(Laughs) The rare occasion I do have a day off, I play basketball. I also enjoy hiking and mountain bike trails. I’ve been going to this trail they have by the State Park Marina – the Tablerock Lakeshore Trail. I also like the Lakeside Forest Trail off of Fall Creek Road.