Packing up the car to go off to college will be a little more of a challenge for Jacob Craner than the typical high school graduate. And a dorm room? Forget it. It will be much too small.
The 18-year-old Sandpoint High School senior plans to leave Oct. 2 to attend the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona. During the 10-month program, eight of which are training and education and the remaining two an internship, Craner’s keyboard, drum set and guitar will take the place of textbooks.
“I am hoping that it (the school) will help me get my foot in the door in a career in music,” Craner said.
But Craner is more than a pianist, guitarist or drummer; he is also an extremely talented vocalist.
From singing along with the radio as a young boy, to performing as a toddler in front of the video camera, music has always inspired Craner. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that he considered a career in the music field.
“I always thought I would go into something like business,” he said. “But in the last couple of years my priorities have shifted from what is lucrative to what feeds my soul.”
The conservatory will teach more of the technical aspect of music rather than performance. Craner said he will be instructed on how to use software programs for live sound mixing and studio mixing. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t still perform.
“My ideal career would be a performer,” he said. “That would be the apex of my aspirations. But really any career in music I would enjoy, including being a studio technician.”
Jon Brownell has been Craner’s choir director for the past six years. He says Craner has a gift for music.
“Jacob is extremely talented,” Brownell said. “He placed second in the baritone division at state, meaning he is the second-best high school baritone in Idaho. He is very driven and determined to succeed at whatever it is he sets his mind to.”
Attending the conservatory with Craner will be two of his friends who are members of his band Lazarus. The three plan to perform at restaurants to help pay their bills while in Arizona.
Craner does not have any definite plans following the 10-month program in Arizona. He may pursue a four-year degree in music or he may begin working in the music industry.
“I guess I’ll see where it takes me,” he said.
The younger of Dan and Margaret Craner’s two children, Jacob Craner said his parents have always been very supportive of his music.
In addition to being a member of the Sandpoint High School men’s choir and concert choir, Craner is a member of a quartet led by Brownell.
He is also the Associated Student Body president, leading the student body in projects such as homecoming, fundraisers and their current project of senior prom. But of all his activities, he said it is the music he has enjoyed the most while attending Sandpoint High.
“The chorale program is great,” he said. “Mr. B. (Brownell) is a wonderful teacher.”
Craner is a great student as well. Not only does he have a 3.86 grade-point average and is enrolled in two honors classes, he has also excelled in choir competitions.
At the recent Mount Hood Jazz Festival, the Sandpoint High School men’s choir took first place and Jacob received an award for outstanding solo.
“The thing that makes him stand out as a vocalist is that he has extremely good intonation and that he can improvise over any chord changes you throw at him,” Brownell said.
Although he sings mostly jazz and classical in high school, Craner’s favorite genre of music is progressive rock and metal.
“It stimulates my senses and makes my ears happy,” he said. “But I still appreciate and love a lot of the old rock, too.”
He said he would love to see his band Lazarus continue to perform together for years to come.
“We are all talented and I love them to death,” he said.
As he leaves Sandpoint this fall, he knows he has the world ahead of him. And while he may not know exactly what lies ahead there is one thing he knows for sure.
“I’m always going to be singing no matter what,” he said.