The Times photo by Betsy ReasonNoblesville High School 1986 graduate Bryan Bishop gets crazy on stage at a previous Noblesville Street Dance.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Noblesville High School 1986 graduate Bryan Bishop gets crazy on stage at a previous Noblesville Street Dance.
When Bryan Bishop gets on stage, he owns it.

But it wasn't always that way.

Three years ago before he played the Noblesville Street Dance, he confessed to me that he had always gotten really nervous when he about to perform in front of an audience.

"I did have stage fright when I first started playing guitar and singing in public," Bishop said.

"A friend let me play every Thursday at his bar for tips. Every time I would get ready to start playing my show, I would get so nervous," he said, and would feel sick to his stomach. "I just kept telling myself that it would get a little easier every time I played, and it did."

It took him five years before he started getting comfortable. "And really just in the past few years, my confidence has gotten to the point where I am hardly nervous at all," Bishop said.

Today, the 1986 Noblesville High School grad never shows his anxiety when he's in front of our Street Dance crowd.

He is the band leader, a lead vocalist and a rhythm guitar player. Give him a stage, and he's right at home, singing, dancing and entertaining all ages.

"My stage fright has disappeared," said Bishop, 49, Carmel, whose band, The Bishops, will take to the stage Saturday night at the 26th annual Noblesville Street Dance. The free event, sponsored by Noblesville Main Street, is 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the Courthouse Square in downtown Noblesville.

Everybody who's seen The Bishops are wowed by the seven-member band, from Bryan Bishop's zaniness on stage to the co-lead beautiful voices of Joy Anderson, new to the group, and returning Georgette Fraction. The band also features Donny Carson (bass), Matt Ley, lead guitar and vocals; Roderick "RJ" Keys, keyboards and vocals; and John Marque, percussion.

The Bishops play a variety of music, from '50s rock 'n' roll to today's dance hits.

"The audience should expect fun, high energy and variety,"' said Bishop, who can bust out a rap like Vanilla Ice.

By day, Bishop is Mr. Mom to Molli, 10, and Graci, 7, and keeps house for wife, Mindi, a real-estate appraiser. Weekends, the band is a small business he's been building for the past 16 years.

"I've been keeping busy growing The Bishops' wedding and corporate business," said Bishop, who also just formed a contemporary Christian worship to start this fall.

Bishop's love for music goes all the way back to elementary school. His first public performance was at Noblesville's North Elementary, when he was a fifth-grader and entered the school talent show but didn't win.He sang Paul Simon's "Kodachrome," his favorite tune from Paul Simon's "Greatest Hits" LP, the first record album that he bought from his sister's Columbia Record & Tape Club.

Bishop calls himself "a late bloomer." He tried to play the snare drum in seventh-grade band but quickly gave it up as, "it was very boring."

In high school, Bishop got the title of "Best break dancer at NHS" in 1984. He said, "I can still get down. But where did I put those parachute pants?"

Bishop sang in the choir throughout school, attributing his influence to choir teacher, Wretha Reveal, Noblesville. But then he was in the NHS Singers only for a few days, until he realized, as a senior, "it wasn't for me anymore."

At age 21, he bought his first acoustic guitar and playing regular gigs at age 30. He said, "The lesson here: never give up."

The Noblesville Street Dance kicks off at 4 p.m., with the opening of the annual Kids Zone, which will feature games, prizes and activities, through 8 p.m., on the Courthouse lawn. Also at 4 p.m., the house music begins, then at 5 p.m. Noblesville deejay Gene Ott will start the evening on the main stage to get the crowd moving.

The Bishops will take the stage at about 8 p.m. and perform until 11 p.m.

A Classic Car Show at Eighth and Logan streets returns to feature vintage autos with People's Choice, Mayor's Choice and Best of Show awards to be given out at 7:15 p.m.

The event traditionally features lots of food choices. While downtown eateries will be open, several restaurants will also offer faire at their Street Dance booths. Plus, a new beer garden area will be set up on Logan Street, east of 9th Street, sponsored by Deer Creek Brewery and Barley Island Brewing Co.

While the band is playing, Jim Wafford's Wafford Theater will show a free movie, Disney's "Shaggy Dog," at about 9:15 p.m. on the stage at the new Federal Hill Commons park, just a stroll across White River. Folks are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Just before the movie, on the steps of the stage, The Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players will perform songs from their upcoming musical, Disney's "The Little Mermaid."

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