Culture

Finding Brightness in the Darkness: Jeanie Thieken Creamer

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Amid many devastating stories about the COVID-19 global pandemic and the protocol to contain the spread of the virus, local musician Jeanie Thieken Creamer was able to recently share a hopeful one.

Two of Creamer’s close friends, who have been a couple for over 30 years, decided to get married over the weekend of March 21, 2020, about a week after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made strict declarations about the necessity of social distancing and limiting social gatherings in order to contain the spread of the virus.

A few days before the ceremony, one half of the couple got in touch with Creamer about performing a particular song at their wedding as a surprise to their soon-to-be-spouse, to which Creamer agreed. The very next day, the other half of the couple contacted Creamer about attending the ceremony and also performing a song, also intended to surprise their longtime partner! Although Creamer could not attend the wedding in person, she did record the songs for the couple, who used the recordings in their ceremony.

“Everybody had to come clean in the end, just to get the logistics to work out,” said Creamer in an interview with WOUB. “But it was very funny that they both contacted me separately to surprise the other one!

Creamer has been performing as a musician since she was a teenager, moving to Athens in 1980. She was a part of old-time band Home Remedy, which she performed with and toured with for years. She is currently a solo performer, as well as the Jeanie of her dance band, Jeanie and the Dreamers. After 24 years as a school teacher, Creamer made the potentially risky decision of becoming a full-time musician and stained glass artist (you can check out her business, Jeanie’s Glass and Mosaic, here).

“I have my music and an Air BnB, and I do some contract work for OU, and I’m a stained glass artist, all of these things are new for me, brand new businesses, and I have watched everything disappear,” she said. “It was kind of like dominos, as soon as the first gig was cancelled, it just went down the line.”

Although the times are dark, and everything feels very anxious right now, Creamer expressed that she remains hopeful.

“I really feel as anxious as everyone is; we’re all sheltered in place that can and we are all doing what we can, and I think it is time to turn energy as soon as we can to the future — and to the positive, to coming out of this,” Creamer said. “And I think the sooner people start looking for the good and the brightness and hopefulness, the sooner we will get there, and we need to get there as fast as we can.”