CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Lifestyle

May 2, 2006

Making music

Veggie Tales music director to speak in Cullman Saturday

By Carla Jean Whitley

carlaw@cullmantimes.com

Kurt Heinecke’s Cullman upbringing has manifested itself in his profession in some unexpected ways.

Heinecke, music director for Big Idea, the company which produces the Veggie Tales series, was active in band, choir and church musical groups while growing up in Cullman. He was senior class musician at Cullman High School and also in the senior hall of fame before his 1982 graduation. He studied music education at the University of Montevallo, then went on to complete his education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

But Heinecke said perhaps the most ironic influence on his career was the two years he spent directing the CHS German band while in high school.

“The first song that I was working on with Veggie Tales was their theme song, which was a polka,” said Heinecke, who worked on the arrangement of that tune and played the tuba for it. “So my experience back in high school was very helpful for what I do now, because we enjoy a lot of fun styles of music and we’ve been known to throw a couple of polkas in there.”

Heinecke will share insight on the company’s history and his musical work at the Cullman City Schools Foundation’s annual fundraiser Saturday. Seth Thompson, president of the foundation, said fine arts contest winners will also be recognized that evening.

Heinecke was working as a director of music at a church in Chicago when Big Idea formed nearly 13 years ago. The company’s creators all attended that church.

“So as they began to formulate their ideas for Veggie Tales, or a new form of computer-animated series telling biblically based stories, they had seen me working in the music of this church for several years and invited me to help out with the music from the very beginning,” Heinecke said.

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