Next in our series on finalists in Morristown Onstage 2019:
By Marion Filler
When Jag Sace takes the stage with his electric guitar to play his original composition, Fresh Sound of Music, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center next week, he will have an unusual backdrop for his performance.
Directly behind him, a video screen will display an unseen hand – his own – drawing a picture of his face.
“I made a contraption with stuff piled on top of each other and put my phone on top, kind of like a tripod,” explains Sace, one of 15 finalists competing in Morristown Onstage on Feb. 27, 2019.
The Morristown High School junior spent about 30 minutes making the drawing with the camera running. When his sketch was finished, he adjusted the video speed to fit the four-minute song.
Born in the Philippines, Sace came to the U.S. when he was 17. He is a proficient artist and a self-taught musician who can play guitar, bass, “a small bit of the ukulele” and a little piano.
“I like music and art equally, but I think music is a better way of expression for me,” says Sace, who cannot read sheet music. Instead, he finds instruction on the internet, via sites that provide the chords for almost any song.
Fresh Sound of Music always was in Sace’s repertoire, but friends helped him narrow the choice.
“I let them listen to this and a few other songs to see what was in the top three.” The ultimate choice was his. “I think it’s a feel-good song, a happy vibe.”
A fundraiser for the Morris School District, Morristown Onstage aims to top last year’s record of $143,000 raised for local school programs. The competition is open to amateur performers who live, work or study in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to graduates of Morristown High School.
More than 50 acts auditioned for this 12th edition of the show, which was spearheaded by the Morris Educational Foundation.
The 1,300-seat Mayo Performing Arts Center is a big leap from Morristown High’s Coffee House, where Sace has played twice.
His aunt, with whom he lives in Morristown, will be cheering him on. But his parents remain in the Philippines and cannot attend.
Sace is eyeing a few colleges and hopes to continue his education in the U.S. after graduation.
“It would be nice to get some scholarships,” he says. “That way it will be so much easier.”
Fifteen top amateur acts from Greater Morristown will compete for cash and glory in the 12th annual Morristown Onstage, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Tickets: $29-$79. Proceeds benefit the Morris Educational Foundation. Call 973-539-8008.