Diane tells the story of how, at the age of four, after watching Hee Haw, she went to her family’s upright piano and started picking out the melody to a song she had just heard. Her Mom came in from the other room recognizing the song and recognizing that her daughter in fact had a gift! She was later asked to quit piano lessons because she tended to play by ear.
This is how a long life of creative and artistic expression began.
Diane made her stage debut in third grade in Mrs. Petersons production of Winnie the Pooh as Eeyore. She was cast in large part because her voice was the deepest amongst her classmates.
While honing her stage and musical talents, Diane was also a natural at visual art. Her abilities in all mediums took her into a teaching career as an Art educator. This led to a master’s degree and additional opportunities in theatre directing, designing sets, costumes, and staging shows. There was also church choir, High School musicals and school choir. All along this journey, Diane was a constant writer. One would call them short stories or poetry, but these pieces had a lyrical quality that would later benefit her singing and recording endeavors.
Because of her incredible ear, she has played cello, melodica, ukulele, harmonica, percussion, and of course she sings. Diane imagined herself as a writer and performer. She has always written lyrics, but it wasn’t until she met her musician husband Mike that the music she heard in her head came to life. Mike writes music but has no gift in the lyric world so they were a perfect match! They formed their duo “The Shockitanos” and have released 2 albums so far, with the 3rd scheduled to release summer of 2021.
Her goal is to continue to write and record music that will inspire, enrich, and touch people’s lives. It’s a different musical world now than it was even.
20 years ago, with digital downloading and social media outlets. So now the woman that at one time only heard the songs in her head can now reach people all over the world.
Beyond her work as one half of the Shockitanos, she has an active Art School with levels of visual art opportunities and experiences for ages five to 105. Her Art School has held in person classes, online teaching and parties that are both fun and educational, and the participants learn while creating. Diane has also served as Executive Director of the Kearney Area Arts Council where she was a vital force to bring the arts council back to a well-managed, financially secure and respected organization.
Written by Brad Driml with Chuck Peek
* Comments Kate Benzel
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