Harmony from Adversity: Craig Strang's Remarkable Journey
Craig was born the youngest of three sons to Barbara Ann Strang and Clark Stuart Thompson, Sr. At age two, divorce would force Mother Strang and her sons into a world of single parenthood, an absentee father, and childhood poverty. From the bustling steel city neighborhoods along the shores of the Allegheny River in the heart of Pittsburgh, PA, he found himself on the streets by age ten, where he fought to escape alcoholism-fueled domestic violence, only to face the cruel grip of pre-teenage homelessness. But Craig was not destined to be defined by his circumstances; instead, he embarked on an extraordinary voyage that took him from the depths of despair to the heights of achievement, touching countless lives along the way.
Craig's story of resilience and determination is one that inspires hope and underscores the transformative power of the human spirit. It is a story that we, as a community, have the privilege to celebrate and support.
Act I: Finding a Lifeline in the US Navy
After the turmoil of nearly seven years an outcast, Craig made a choice that would change the course of his life forever. Buoyed by his older brother Clark's encouragement, a ranking Petty Officer and Submariner, Craig enlisted in the United States Navy, seeking stability, structure, and a sense of purpose. The Navy provided him with the tools to rebuild his life, instilling discipline, responsibility, and an unwavering commitment to service and country. As Craig honed his skills and grew as a person, he rediscovered his profound love for music that began in grade school playing the alto horn, baritone, tuba, and even the fife. He first began to nurture his musical talents as a vocalist while performing in the BlueJackets choir during recruit training at Naval Training Center (NTC), in Orlando Florida.
After graduating boot camp, he would find himself a plank owner and commissioning helmsman of his first ship, an Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigate, the USS Klakring, FFG-42. As the 3700-ton warship launched into Bath Maine's Kennebec River on August 20, 1983, Strang had long since set a course of action that would place him at the wheel navigating the Klakring downriver with skill and precision. Onward for his maiden voyage toward the Atlantic Ocean, he soon discovered his own internal compass and the possibility of life's direction was revealed.
In the years that followed, Strang would receive a promotion to Gas Turbine Systems Technician – Electrical engineering school at Great Lakes Naval Station, IL., where he developed his skills on the US Navy's powerful LM2500 Gas-Turbine System by General Electric, a computer-controlled propulsion plant with engines similar to those found on the Air Force C-5A strategic transport, on a guide missile frigate.
He became a highly skilled and trained power plant operator wielding control over four Stewart Stevenson Diesel Generators delivering 1.5 million watts of mission-critical at-sea electrical power while serving aboard subsequent deployments throughout the Atlantic, North Atlantic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean seas aboard the USS Halyburton, FFG-40, and the USS McInerney, FFG-8; also Perry Class Frigates. Strang's skills took him from the heights of the ship's bridge to the depths of engineering where he would achieve high-ranking commendations and praise.
In his six-year tour, he traversed seemingly endless miles of ocean where duty to country was his purpose and music became his solace. It was deep in the isolation of the ship's steely vestibules, where he found his voice and his musical inspiration from the harmonics of the whirring engines.
Here, in solitude he honed his vocal instrument, belting out notes deep in the belly of the ship's loud machinery rooms, where his developing voice was heard only by himself. From the most unexpected of places, his dreams fulfilled would follow. Little did he know it would one day become the key to connecting with others in incredibly profound ways and a passion that would become the cornerstone of his life's work.
Act II: A 50-Year Techno-Musical Odyssey
With an honorable discharge from the Navy, Craig embarked on a journey into the world of music. He was granted a show choir scholarship at Trident Technical College, where he was able to continue to stimulate his natural love for engineering and music. He trained with top visiting voice coaches and choreographers from NYC to LA and toured as a principal singer and dancer throughout the Southeastern United States performing for audiences large and small in the "Sounds Of Trident".
During his studies, he worked tirelessly as a college student to make ends meet. His determination and talent did not go unnoticed and led to a lifelong career in the tech sector. Over five decades, Craig remained a steadfast engineer and built a remarkable parallel career as a vocalist, musician, and producer and has spent years touching the hearts of countless audiences with his soulful melodies and evocative lyrics.
Through the ups and downs of the music industry, Craig persevered, refining his craft and embracing the challenges that came his way. He continued to leverage his many talents while collaborating with other artists, exploring different genres, and even writing, composing, and producing his self-titled debut CD 'Serendipity', which remains an inspirational snapshot of his artistry and range of talent, a quarter of a century later. His journey through the world of music has been a testament to his unwavering commitment to his art and his unshakeable belief in the transformative power of music.
Act III: The Culmination - Craig's One-Man Show
As Craig Strang's career flourished, he dreamed of a masterpiece performance that would encapsulate his life's work. And so, he embarked on the ambitious journey of creating a one-man show, a performance that would showcase his talent, his stories, and the indomitable spirit that had guided him through life's challenges.
This one-man show will be a reflection of Craig's remarkable journey from teenage homelessness to a celebrated musician and Navy veteran. It will serve as a beacon of hope for those facing adversity, a testament to the fact that with determination and support, one can overcome even the most daunting obstacles.
The Call to Action: Join Craig on his Journey
Craig's journey is a testament to the power of resilience, the healing capacity of music, and the extraordinary achievements that are possible when one refuses to give up on their dreams.
Now, dear benevolent fans, we invite you to join us in supporting Craig's musical masterpiece – his one-man show. Your generous contribution will help bring this inspirational story to life on stage, allowing Craig to share his journey with the world, and to inspire countless others who may be facing their own trials.
Your Sponsorship will not only support the many aspects of the production from music charts, digital music and video production, as well as costumes, a portion of proceeds will also support programs such as Comic Relief US’ Red Nose Day that raise funds to end the cycle of child poverty and ensure a healthy future for all children and the Covenant House that provide opportunities and resources for homeless youth, helping them find their own paths to success.
Together, we can make a difference and ensure that Craig Strang's remarkable tour continues to inspire and uplift for generations to come.
When you become a Sponsoring Producer in this campaign, you become a part of Craig's story, helping to turn the pages of hope, resilience, and triumph. Join us on this extraordinary journey as we celebrate Craig Strang's life, music, and message of unwavering perseverance and the beauty that can emerge from adversity.