Our people: Mentality for music

Courtesy photo Clovis resident Chuck Tipton has been involved in music for more than 20 years.

Most stories about Clovis resident Chuck Tipton begin with “When we were working on that musical…” There’s reason for that. Tipton taught music in Clovis’ schools for 20 years at all levels, including college, and he never got out of it. He has worked with show choirs, Cotillion and directed and adapted shows for all age levels including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oklahoma,” “Annie,” and “The Mikado.” Tipton’s involvement was rarely kept to backstage and he has performed in several productions in the area.

Working with others in theater and music is about watching people expand, Tipton said.

“I love that moment when they hear their first applause or their first laughter at a joke. You can just see their eyes light up and they get the fever,” he said.

Tipton said he has never taken a vacation and spends what little spare time he has doing housework, golfing, composing and writing music.

When you were a kid, what did you think you’d be doing as an adult? I never seriously thought about it until college. I was just trying to make it ‘til the next day as a kid.

What is your most prized possession? Whatever I can take with me when I die. Oh wait, that would be nothing. Hey, it’s all gonna burn. Stuff is just stuff. But if I had to pick one thing, it would be my glasses. I am pretty much paralyzed without my glasses.

If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place? It wouldn’t take very many billions of dollars to eliminate world hunger. I would do that. Of course, we would have to replace the corrupt politicians that siphon off a large part of the aid we already send, but that’s a whole other issue.

What do you not like about your job? Got to work weekends and always on call. Can’t really prepare my stuff ahead of time to be gone.

Make up your own question and then answer it. Mac or PC? Mac, without hesitation.

What is your favorite smell? Hot sugary vanilla on a cold afternoon.

Tell us about a time you were afraid. I lived by myself in high school, and about two weeks into it, I realized that I didn’t know what to do if something went wrong. Was not a pleasant realization.

Who is your hero and why? Jesus. I know that is sort of idealistic and cheesy and all, but my view of Him is that He is very real and very alive and very relevant in my life. You know there’s more to this life than what we see. He is my hero because I examined the evidence and it made the most sense.

Tell us about your first date. Sponsoring a church group to Six Flags, she hung around with us.

What is your favorite taste? Tree Top Apple Juice. Always the best.

Tell us how you met your spouse. The wedding was actually the 8th time I’d ever seen her. She lived in Dallas and I lived here. Met through a friend. It’s always been an odd relationship, but it works.

When I get in my car, the first thing I listen to is…the engine and the car noises. I rarely turn the radio or iPods on. I dig silence.

What do you think about Clovis? I think Clovis is a small town with a big town attitude. People diss on it until they live here a while and when we don’t have hurricanes or earthquakes or tsunamis, 120 degree temperatures, floods that take out our downtown or really very much bad weather, they start liking it. I mean we have great schools, the music program is consistently top 100 in the nation. We have a relatively stable economy, compared to some towns our size. I think we need to be part of Texas though, ‘cause the rest of liberal New Mexico doesn’t like us anyway and we’re embarrassed more often than not about Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

What do you envision your life being like in 10 years? Working less, but working. Songs published. Maybe teaching at a college.

What is your greatest hope? That my kids will grow up with compassion and action on behalf of those less fortunate.

What would you be going if you weren’t doing your job? Probably teaching school again or going back to get a master’s in composition.

Who is your favorite entertainer? Carol Burnett. It would be Jonathon Winters but he’s a little creepy.

In an alternative life, I would have been a… skinny, great looking billionaire.

What’s so great about your favorite sport? I don’t really have a favorite sport. I like the Olympics, country pride and all that.

Tell us a story about your childhood. Grew up in the Air Force. Dad was overseas most of it. Had to work hard, lots of responsibilities, didn’t have much money but we did OK. I remember one time mom had to use the two bucks I got from my grandmother for Christmas to buy milk. My grandmother got so upset when she found out. I thought it was pretty good. Better than socks and underwear…

Tell us about a time you cried. Really? Ummmmm. No. Not that I’m ashamed to cry, I actually do it often, but only over things worth crying about.

Do you have a favorite joke? No, just favorite phrases.

Tell us about a happy time. Ah, you know. At the risk of alienating people that weren’t a part of it needlessly, let’s just say there were some.

What was your most embarrassing moment? Going to parties have always been terribly embarrassing for me. I hate ‘em.

After a long, hard day, I love to… get a glass of ice water, sit at a piano and compose.

What’s invited to your fantasy dinner party and why? Jesus, and then whoever he wanted to bring. We would have an open buffet for anyone who would attend. Why would I invite Him? Really?

One movie I could watch over and over again is… I hate watching movies over and over again. I can’t enjoy movies anymore now that I’ve been directing and producing. I’m always critical of shot angles, lighting, etc. It’s not good but it is what it is.

If you won a $1 million dollar lottery, what would you do first with the money? Deposit it and live off the interest.

If you had four hours of unplanned free time, what would you do with it? If it was free, play golf. If I had to pay for it, probably finish up the remodel on my front bathroom and start the demolition on the back bath.

My family and friends call me… only when they need something. No, really, Chuck to my face at least. Now what they call me when they talk to other people? I don’t what to know.

What would you like printed on your gravestone? See you later…

My favorite bad-for-me food is… cookies…no question about it.

What is your theme song? “Dance, Shout” by Gary Oliver.

The most unique place I’ve ever traveled is to… the Bolivar Peninsula after Hurricane Ike. The entire beach was moved 500 yards inland for the entire length of the peninsula. You saw 30 miles of dead grass going inland from the beach. Boats ten miles from the beach in some dude’s yard.

If I had an open plane ticket to anywhere, I would go to… like Tasmania. I mean, who can say they’ve been to Tasmania? Not many. Even better, the Russian station in Antartica. Yeah! Like three people can say that…

What’s your idea of a perfect day? When the house is clean and nothing needs repairing and I have 12 hours of uninterrupted brilliant inspirational episodes of creativity. And it needs to be in the upper 40s and drizzly.

What’s your favorite TV show, past and present? Past TV show was probably “Gilligan’s Island.” Two words…Mary Ann. ‘Nuff said. Present…I’m diggin’ “Hawaii 5-0” and I bought the entire four seasons to the new “Battlestar Galactica.” Oh yeah, I said it.

One of my favorite childhood toys is… Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. Had hundreds of ‘em.

— Compiled by FNM Correspondent Liliana Castillo