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Concerts

Mannheim Steamroller drummer Tom Sharpe to perform at Wheaton library

July 10 show part of Concerts on the Park series

Oswego resident Tom Sharpe, who tours with the band Mannheim Steamroller, will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 10 on the Wheaton Public Library's West Plaza overlooking Adams Park.
Oswego resident Tom Sharpe, who tours with the band Mannheim Steamroller, will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 10 on the Wheaton Public Library's West Plaza overlooking Adams Park.

WHEATON – Oswego resident Tom Sharpe plays for thousands of people a night when he is touring with Mannheim Steamroller.

But he is just as comfortable playing in the intimate confines of a library.

"I love having the intimacy of that setting," Sharpe said. "The patrons can be very close and see what's happening. And it feels good to me, too. I play and have played to thousands and thousands of people at once, and that has its own reward. But to have a smaller, more intimate audience, I really feel like I can make a connection, and it really turns into more than just a concert. It really turns into this experience that people are leaving feeling motivated and inspired."

The percussionist and composer will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 10 on the Wheaton Public Library's West Plaza overlooking Adams Park. The library is at 225 N. Cross St. in Wheaton.

Seating is first come, first served, and those who come to the show are invited to bring chairs and blankets. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be inside the library.

Sharpe will perform with two other instrumentalists during the show.

"When I'm playing as a soloist or playing with a small group, I never say that it's stripped down or you are getting some sort of unplugged version," he said. "You are always getting a grand scale version of my work. It's just different depending on the setting."

Those who attend his show also will receive a music lesson.

"There's always an educational element to what I do," Sharpe said. "If I didn't say a word, there still would be an educational element to it, just because you are learning by watching."

Sharpe has called Oswego home for 14 years. He attends Oswego Presbyterian Church, where he is a worship musician.

"I feel really strongly that I am doing my life's work," Sharpe said. "Part of that is being able to share these gifts in as many ways as possible. Performing at the church has really just been a wonderful thing for me. I feel fortunate to only be doing music I really enjoy."

Sharpe has been performing with Mannheim Steamroller since 2007. He grew up listening to Mannheim Steamroller's music.

"When that first Christmas album came out in 1984, that [music] was just groundbreaking for that time," he said. "To have the opportunity to be in that group and to be a part of everyone's holiday tradition now for the past 10-plus years, it really is just an amazing feeling, to be on that side of it now."

Sharpe also had performed with former Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung for several years before leaving to concentrate on his own music. In 2014, Sharpe released "Lifting the World – A Symphony by Tom Sharpe."

He enjoys connecting with his fans. On his website, he urges fans to ask him questions.

An 11-year-old drummer left a comment about how much he has inspired him. Sharpe said that comment meant a lot to him.

"I feel like part of my calling in life is to motivate people of all ages," he said. "Everyone has a life's purpose and a life's work. And you never know when you are going to be called to do it."

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If you go

WHAT: Concert featuring Mannheim Steamroller drummer Tom Sharpe

WHEN: 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 10

WHERE: Wheaton Public Library West Plaza, 225 N. Cross St., Wheaton

INFO: wheatonlibrary.org

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