Last post was about a single we are surprisingly still working on. This one is a little more a fun oriented. I know this post is late but still worth documenting. This past February I (Theo Perry ) had the great honor to perform in Las Vegas at the Venetian Palazzo Sands Expo in front of 3500 Lowe's executives! How and why you might ask? Well last year (2016) Lowe's Home Improvement put out an inner store communication to its employees. It read that Lowe's would be having its own talent competition called "Lowe's Has Talent". To be eligible you had to be a current employee of lowe's and in good standing with the company. ( I was ) (unfortunately this meant not the whole band). You needed to audition via a video submission. Then a panel of about 30 people would sort through all of the submissions and determine winners. Bonus points for originality. What's the prize you ask? An all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to perform in front of Lowe's Top brass and compensation while you are there!
I saw this as an amazing opportunity as performing in Vegas was on my bucket list. I had just about talked myself out of submitting a video when coworkers encouraged me to go for it. After all Lowe's is a big company and thousands could submit right? I thought it over, called my wife and decided to give it a shot. I figured everyone might send in clips of them singing a cover really well, dancing or shredding on there instrument of choice. I decided that writing is still one of my strong suits and created a Jingle esc song embodying one of Lowe's biggest principles. Helping people love where they live. I made it catchy. Gave them reasons why I should win. Being on a team at the Pro Desk that was top in the country, a former employee of the month and the fact that I was a pro musician outside of Lowe's. Held my breath and uploaded the file. The waiting began. It would be about A Month and a half of waiting to see if I made it. I was now 2017 Mid January I believe. At this point I thought I had just as good a chance as any other employee yet worried I wasn't good enough.
Good news can come in the strangest places. I was at a Giant eagle "get go" in line to put air in my tires when my phone rang. It was a woman by the name of Lindsey Haigler calling from Lowe's corporate in North Carolina. "Hello is this Theo? I'm just calling to say we'd like for you to join us at the All store meeting in Las Vegas in February. Congratulations! You are one of our Lowe's has talent winners!" I was floored and almost got out of my car and danced like a maniac. I immediately hung up and called my wonderful supportive wife Chell Perry and told her the news! There were only two downsides. The 1st is when you receive news like this you want to shout It from the mountain tops but Lindsey let me know that I needed to keep it secret until they finished telling all the other winners and non winners. The second was as a Lowe's policy spouses could not join you in Vegas. That bummed me out a little and I tried for weeks to change their minds. But policies are policies. This wouldn't rain on my parade of course because my wife is awesome and understood.
Announcement day arrived. I was at work and focusing was a little more challenging this day. Because at this point I just wanted it to be out there already lol. I kept checking in with Lindsey to see if we could share the news yet. And she said soon but not yet. Hopefully today. My end of shift had come and I had to get home. The next day I arrived at Lowe's for my part time shift. Today, was different. I was greeted with high fives," congratulations" and "well done man's." It was so exciting to be able to represent my Store 1175 Silver drive in Columbus, Ohio and my state at this great event. I checked my work email and discovered that my name and picture was every where around the country via the Lowe's employee emails and Lowe's Net. What an honor. My inbox started to go crazy with congrats emails. My store Manager Ed Wuthrich was out on business but made a call to congratulate me and couldn't have been more proud. There were over a few hundred applicants and I was one of 12 people (4 acts) to be chosen! Later that week a call came in from the wonderful people at http://proscenium.com/we.html They are an event planning and production company out of New York. And they kick but and take names at what they do.
The trip began. It was the morning of roughly 5:30am and off we went to the airport. I think my flight didn't leave until about 8ish but there was a lot of stuff/protest occurring at airports recently at this time and I feared it might cost me time getting through customs and baggage claims. It was fortunately smooth sailing. I had pre printed my boarding pass and southwest usually rocks. I grabbed a green tea matcha latte and a breakfast sandwich at Starbucks. I then called my mom and checked in with her to catch up on stuff and let her know I made it through the gates. At 30 years old my Mom still wants to know that I'm safe while traveling. I love that. We spoke a while and I asked for prayer request that the trip would go great and that God would be with Grandma Waugh my Dad inlaws Mother who was battling cancer. Next I recently discovered that you could download movies from Net flix So I did. Finally our plane arrived we boarded and took off on our straight through 5 and half hour flight.
I made it. We landed at in Vegas and I couldn't believe how awesome everything looked. I headed for baggage claims to retrieve my luggage and to my surprise there was a man in a nice suit holding a sign with my name on it. I thought it was so cool I pretended I didn't see him long enough to grab my bags and sneak a picture of him. I believe his name was Stan. I could be wrong it was a while ago. I introduced myself and to the hotel we went. The colors and detail of all of the buildings with the mountains in the distance was overwhelmingly awesome. Stan played tour guide as I asked him sooo many questions. He'd been driving limos in Vegas for two years now and was clearly in the know. We arrive at the Venetian Palazzo hotel and I was met with a video crew and photographers shooting my arrival. It was something straight out of Hollywood. Proscenium and Lowe's wanted to document our experiences and document they did. It felt epic. Got checked in and met with my handler Lexi Nicholas. She rocks btw. Once checked in we parted ways. I went to drop my bags off in my room. I insert my key and walked into the best hotel room I'd ever stayed in in my entire life! It was gorgeous If I could duplicate it at my house someday I would. Lowe's had left us a nice welcome card and fruit basket to enjoy.
The scheduling was tight and we had been prepared for this for about a month. Circling back. When we all found out we won, we collectively and individually met with the talented people of Proscenium.com. We discussed what we would do as our performance at the show. I was paired with Rich Iacuzio of Phiiadelphia, PA and Jermani Ballinger of Indiana I believe. We would be deemed the Motown Trio. We would perform a medley of Motown hits "Rescue Me", "Superstion", "Ain't too proud to beg" and "Dancing in the streets". We all got to pick our songs. They chose wisely. All three of us would sing. Back to the hotel. We had a meeting and huddle scheduled with the rest of the cast/winners and production team and lunch. It was so cool meeting everyone from different states. They provided our meals as well. And I'll never eat that well again lol. We received further instruction and met with our Music director Michael Mancini of Mancini productions Inc. He was great and also provided us with a recording to practice to in advance of showing up in Vegas. What a great talent he is and awesome to work with. We also had a choreographer James who helped us make the best presentation on this large stage.
The next few days were filled with rehearsals, a little free time, Wardrobe fittings, hydrating (we were in the desert) and more delicious food. We had opportunities to meet some of the top executives of the company including Robert Niblock The president and CEO of Lowe's. When you work for a company this size at the store level it's not likely you'd ever have a face to face with someone in his position. But We did! He was so kind and despite all the necessary changes recently at Lowe's I believe he truly cares about all of his employees as well as share holders which I now am. When we got to the dress rehearsal the day before then It would be the first time we all got to truly experience the magnitude of the this show Moty 2017 all store meet. (Moty = Manager of the year). The stage was set. The lights were bright. The room was massive. There were cameras everywhere. While this would not be the largest crowd I'd ever performed in front of It would certainly be one of the most memorable. We had been practicing our singing and dancing extensively at this point and were super pumped to try it out on this stage. Rich and Jermani my Motwon Trio teammates had each gone through the Voice, American Idol and X factor audition process before and I have no clue why they didn't make it through as hearing and seeing these two perform blew me away every time. We did our blocking, checked out the green room, make up area and then we got to see the other acts practice on stage. I must tip my hat to the talent selection committee for this event because I was floored at what I got to witness. Beat boxer masters. Tap dancing like I've never seen by former Miss Iowa Mariah Carey. Floored I say.
The day had arrived. We'd have one more practice, A meal and then it was go time. We arrived at the Sands expo hopped into wardrobe Rich and I in Black shirts and dress pants with red bowties and he in his fedora that we found minutes before call time in the venetian shops. Jermani dawned a beautiful red dress. We headed to make up and there again was Robert Niblock and the one the only Jimmy Johnson of nascar! He sat in the chair just before I did and then we rushed to our pre show places. Our group The Motown Trio was the show opener. No pressure right?!?! The lights dem. Rich And I were hyping each other up back stage with one of the stage managers and Lexi checked in one final time and wished us luck. The music started and off Rich went to the stage. He had the first tune Superstion followed by Jermani singing Rescue me to him until I interrupted with Ain't to proud to beg. The room was on fire with energy. People were clapping, singing along a dancing. We closed our set with Dancing in the street. Rich and Jermani grabbed a couple people from the crowd and got them dancing more. Last notes sang we posed and the place went nuts! We took our bows and off stage we went. Met by our production team. Some Lowe's top brass and Jimmy J. We nailed it! I was so thrilled. We headed for the green room to watch the other acts. They too knocked it out of the park.
Food Allergies are the worst. While in the green room they had a buffet set up for us. I grabbed a plate, of veggies deli meat and sliders. And then..... My throat got tight and my hands began to swell. Ginger was in the slider sauce. I developed this allergy around 21. I Looked at Lexi panicked and asked if I had time to run to my room before our interviews and photo ops. She said not really whats up? I explained the allergy and she said well of Course hurry. Off to my room I ran. This hotel casino was about A mile from the show and my room all indoors. So I reach my room grab some benedryl and a red bull to counteract the drowsiness. Success crossing my fingers that I got it in time I raced back to the green room. I made it just in time to catch the last act. Everyone was concerned and kind. I was fine and we then grabbed photos with managers, Proscenium, Robert and Jimmy Johnson. Can you tell I really wanted to meet Jimmy? lol We then headed to a ballroom where the real last act/winners would perform as a band. They performed Mercy and All about that bass and one more. While the rest of us danced like crazy in front of their stage. We all got more photos together and realized that we would all be tied together through this experience of a life time forever. There was a raffle with the higher ups. One lady missed out on a brand new car as she wasn't in the room. I would have cried. lol. We were greeted and hand shakes from the Lowe's crowd which they were blown away by our talent they said. They loved our show. The food at that point in the ballroom didn't seem to grab my craving at this point so after that. The winners and I would text back and forth plans for the rest of the evening. Some of us met up. At some point I made it to the food court and just when I was about to order a Lowes manager offered to pay for my meal! I accepted. It just kept getting better and better.
The morning would arrived and my flight wouldn't be for a few hours. I grabbed breakfast and checked back in with my wife. Grandma Waugh had taken a turn for the worse and it wouldn't be long now. Before I left for Vegas I prayed to God that if it were to happen it could be before or after the trip. And Mid flight she was gone. Before I took off I thought I'd try a game or two since I hadn't really. And hey It's Vegas. Wouldn't you know it I won! The weather in Vegas was 70's all week. When I landed in Columbus there was snow! lol I wasn't ready. My wife picked me up. We grabbed a late dinner. And I was so glad to be home to comfort her. But was still on a high from what I had just experienced. Thank you to Lowe's for the memory of a life time.
The curveball of what was next Ironically enough I had been given and opportunity to be the on staff worship leader and Musical Director at my church months earlier than than before I knew I won. I had decided it would be a great way to get back to music full time. I accepted. I planned on putting in my two weeks at the close of our fiscal year at Lowe's me and my Pro Services team could go out on top. Then I won. And in order to take advantage of the Vegas opportunity I had to delay my two weeks until I returned. That was tough. When I returned that Monday I came in with donuts and coffee from and Tim Hortons and my letter of resignation. I scheduled Time with My Manager Ed as I had already given my supervisor a heads up over the weekend for scheduling. We met and I can't tell you how Important it is to leave a job in the right way. Ed was kind. He was proud of my growth with the company and my performance in Vegas. My team would later give me a card and cookie cakes on my last day. And back to music I went.
Since then, Theo's Loose Hinges and I solo have been adding more and more shows and recording. Things at the Church ( Guide Church Baptist )are in a productive swing. We are even adding a second campus. The Floorwalkers are booking more show and working on more recording. The future looks bright. Thanks for reading. I hope to catch you all at a show real soon!