Dan Drnach The Valley Independent (Monessen, Pennsylvania) 22 Feb 2008
THF Rl 111X1 I HI ULULUJ Ringgold High School graduate Dan Drnach is living his childhood dream at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., where he is a full-time musician and entertainer. He's shown here portraying "Elwood" of "The Blues Brothers." Ringgold grad living dream by getting paid to perform By STACY WOLFORD Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org When Dan Drnach was just 14, he told his family he wanted to make money playing the guitar. Not long after his 19th birthday, he called his dad from Florida. "I told him I just got paid and all I've done is play guitar," guitar," he said. Drnach, a 1999 Ringgold Ringgold High i School graduate, graduate, is living! his childhood'! dream at [ Universal] Studios Orlando where he is a Dmach f u 1 1 -11 m e musician and entertainer. He portrays "Elwood Blues" of "The Blues Brothers" Brothers" at Universal Studios, as well as other characters. Drnach, 26, son of Linda and Daniel Drnach, of Donora, got his first taste of performing during, musicals and plays at Ringgold. "I always knew that I wanted somehow to be performing performing on stage," he said. After graduating from high school, he moved to Florida, and stayed with his grandparents while he looked for a job. He landed a job singing and playing guitar at Busch Gardens in Tampa. ex A weekly look at people who left the Valley He worked at the amusement amusement park for five years and met his girlfriend, Raney Delp. The couple decided to move to Orlando so she could accept a job as a culinary culinary manager at SeaWorld. That's when he decided to audition for a job at Universal Universal Studios in 2005. Drnach said he was excited excited to have the opportunity to play one-half of "The Blues Brothers." Elwood Blues was portrayed by Dan Akroyd in the 1980 musical comedy. Although he is much younger than the music he sings, Drnach said he has always been a fan of the blues and songs from his parents' generation. "I credit my music taste to my dad," he said."! grew up listening to his music and my favorite band is 'The Who."' Drnach said the amusement amusement park stages five shows per day, seven days per week. Although he doesn't perform every day, he said that the cast has to train and rehearse long hours for their shows. He has also played Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo cartoon cartoon and a werewolf character character during the Halloween season. He admits sometimes his job gets a little monotonous, but he says they must perform perform top-notch all the time as the park hosts thousands of people daily from around the world. When he's not performing at Universal Studios, Drnach performs in a Blues Brothers tribute band, called "Beyond Belushi." Although life is good, he says' he misses his riome- ' tdwn, especially the Changing Changing seasons. "It's too hot here and I miss the landscape (of the Mid-Mon Valley)," he said. "It's too flat," he said of the Sunshine State. "But most importantly, I miss my family." Drnach is in Donora this weekend, visiting his family, family, which includes his sister, Amy Bader, and her children, children, Sam, 2, and Lucy, 5- rnonths old, of Philadelphia, and his grandparents, Joseph and Margaret Drnach, of Clairton, and Richard and Penny Wright, of Florida, formerly of Monongahela, who provided a place for him to stay when he decided to move there. "I'm looking forward to coming home and seeing.' everyone," he said from Florida at mid-week.