Meet Brandon Knechtel (Auxillary… well, probably a bit of everything)

Brandon Knechtel is a freelance studio producer, arranger, and music director based just outside of Orlando, Florida. Originally from Lafayette, Brandon graduated from Jefferson High School where he participated in both the instrumental and choral departments. Soon after graduating, Brandon began writing for and instrumentally directing the award-winning First Edition until 2002 when he was hired as the full time Music Director/Asst Manager for Cedar Point’s Live Entertainment Department in Sandusky, Ohio.

While at Cedar Point, Brandon was responsible for auditioning, hiring, writing/producing the music, music rehearsing/directing the park shows, as well as video production and editing for the marketing department to help promote future upcoming attractions. In his time at the park, Brandon was responsible for the annual IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions) submissions representing Cedar Point which resulted in over 20 international awards including: Best Overall Production, Best Male Performer, Best Female Performer, Best Technician, and Best Character Performer. While music directing at Cedar Point, Brandon directed and coached numerous young performers who have since been cast and continue to star in leading roles on Broadway.

Today Brandon works out of his home office/studio in Orlando where he currently has produced music for dinner theaters in the Orlando area as well as full productions being performed in seven other amusement parks throughout the United States and Canada.

What’s your favorite musical that isn’t named Enter Love?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to musical theater. I’m musically A.D.D. (self-diagnosed) who tends to lose interest if there aren’t more than 3 key changes within 16 bars of music. However, being able to audition people in New York City, I’ve been able to experience the occasional Broadway show and of the ones I’ve seen, I would have to say that Hairspray would probably be my favorite. It’s pretty cheesy, however the writing, the orchestration and arrangements of the music is very much how I tend to write…only their arrangements are better but I’m figuring it out.

How old were you when you first performed?
Ask my mom…if you can’t find her, ask Barry Knechtel‘s mom.

If your life was made into a movie, who would play you?
I would like to think Billy Preston. Does it matter if he’s black? Does it matter if he’s dead? I’m sorry but Paul Shaffer is just waaay too short to pull it off as believable.

Who should host the Tony awards next year?
Again…pretty ignorant when it comes to musical theater. I hate to say that I couldn’t tell you who has hosted past Tony awards. Although for fun, I’d like to see Hulk Hogan take a crack at it. I dare them to open the Tony Awards like the entrance of a wrestling pay-per-view event! It might draw in a new demographic as well as additional beer sponsorship money.

Who’s your favorite performer?
After much deliberation, I would have to say Jason Bennett. He’s a guy who is first and foremost an amazing keyboard player who can also sing. Dancing does not come as easy for him yet he still managed to land a front row position in the mass opener for the Holiday Spectacular his senior year in high school. I found it to be very inspirational watching him overcome his dancing limitations to land a coveted front row position over 200 other very qualified choral members. Be sure to ask him about it!

2 responses to “Meet Brandon Knechtel (Auxillary… well, probably a bit of everything)”

  1. Gayle Koning (Brandon's mom) says:

    Brandon first ‘performed’ when he was 3 years old…Purdue Married Student Housing…(in the shower)… sang Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s a Heartache” at the top of his lungs.

    • Brandon says:

      That’s right….I was a big enough boy to be able to take showers (NOT BATHS) at 3 YEARS OLD!