From Good Enough to Phenomenal

#Plywords from Chase Andrews if Terminus Wake Park

How do you create experiences that inspire others and get people involved in what you're doing?
I’ve always been one to live for great experiences. It has shaped a lot of my life and who I am. I push to make a good experience great and am constantly looking for a way to take the great to the next level. If you can create a personal connection with the experience it makes it that much better.

I’m not sure if you have lost someone close to you or not, but if you have you know this feeling: The feeling that the experience didn’t happen if they don’t know about it or if you can’t tell them about it. The experience may have been fun but the connection with that person is really where the experience really takes off. I was 19 when I lost my dad to cancer. You see our BIG thing was being on the lake together. He was a professional show skier and I was on my way to being a professional wakeboarder. I remember the first time I landed a new trick wakeboarding after he had passed. I didn’t realize it then but the first thing I would do was to tell my dad. Him knowing and being a part of the experience made it that much better… plus I got a candy bar for every new trick I did! Sharing experiences with others is what we live for.

I believe that every single person coming to one of our facilities is looking for “more…” More of something. More fun, more relaxation, more family time, more excitement, more adrenaline, more connection, more community, more acceptance, more peace, maybe even more quiet. Its our opportunity and challenge to figure out what a guests’ “more” is. If we can figure that out I think we just found the trick to their great experience. I say “trick” because we actually have to do something about it. Knowing doesn’t do anything, we have to “do.” If we can make their experience next level they will be back for more (and probably want to share it with their friends and family). It may only take one person to make the experience next level! -It may be a mom who is tired from the week and wants to let the kids ride while she sits in peace and quiet (i better make sure I have a spot for her away from the music).
-It may be dad wanting to spend time with his son because he finally has some time away from work (what could we do to make that kid remember the day even more?)
-It may be someone trying to get over an addiction and they are trying to find a new community.
-It may be a kid who hasn’t found where he fits in. (we can call him by name and encourage him. Maybe he will conquer a fear and learn something new about himself that day.)

What does it look like for you to push through good enough and make your work phenomenal
Good enough is simply us doing our jobs. For the Terminus team it might be checking someone in, getting someone their rentals, handing someone a handle, etc. Being phenomenal to me is taking advantage of the opportunities in front of us. Our eyes and ears have to be open. We have to be actively looking for those opportunities. If we truly care to see them and act on them, then people will take notice and feel it. If we are not taking care of ourselves and enjoying what we do, we will not be inspired to share that inspiration with others. We encourage our staff to ride, to live out their own adventures. It’s that passion for adventure that people take notice of. Our guest is currently living an adventure while they are with us! Our staff has the opportunity to join in on that adventure and have a part in the guest's’ story. Or…. They can just hand someone a handle and be left out of the story.

An Artist's Process from Okorie Johnson


Okorie shares with us his process of creation. We also want to challenge you to spend the next few minutes that follow to listen to his music and let it be the soundtrack to what you're doing. We have a feeling you'll be wowed.



I used to be an English teacher. And even though I am a cellist/artist now, I think I will always be a teacher deep down.  I love the classroom.  I love the exchange of ideas, and I especially enjoy the back and forth of conversation.

I try to bring aspects of the classroom to my live show - not so much to teach my audience anything, but to involve them.  

I was coming of age at a time in education where we were discouraged from being the “sage on the stage.” Instead, we were to create “student centered classrooms,” which are beautiful things.  They’re noisy, the students are engaged and constantly contributing, and ideally, they should be full of laughter, joy, and insight.

That’s also the perfect picture of an audience to me  - the fourth wall is merely a formality and the audience is joyously contributing to the show and growing from it.  I try to create this experience in my set.

In every Epi.phony show I play, I build in three interactive features.  One is an improvisation, sometimes with suggestions from the audience.  Another is a busking set, where I try to surprise, delight, and entertain my audience out of a few more dollars by playing popular, well-loved songs that they don’t expect a cellist to play - lots of mirth and laughter there. The third, however, is the most interactive and rewarding for me.  It’s called Storytime.

Storytime is a collaborative experiment where I provide the music and my audience provides the meaning.  

  1. I play a chord progression that I think is especially narrative.

  2. I invite my audience to close their eyes and to let the chord progression conjure up for them a person, setting, or a time.

  3. I tell them that I will improvise over this progression, and as I do, I ask that they pay attention to the image in their head, watching as if they were watching a movie.

  4. I improvise over the progression, creating a little bit of unexpected drama along the way.

  5. I end the improvisation, cut the house lights up, and poll the audience for their stories.

  6. For those that don’t get a chance to share out loud, I post a video of “storytime” to my social media pages, and encourage individuals to share their story digitally after the show.

Folks are sometimes shy at first, but I never have enough time for all the stories.  At some point, the dam just breaks.

Storytime does four things:

  1. It allows the audience to personalize some part of my show.  Each person can create and take home a memory that is theirs alone.

  2. It allows all of us to share something - the progression, the improvisation, the stories.  All of that becomes something that we have created together rather than something that I have exclusively shared.

  3. Because what people share is so creative, emotional, and narrative, we all get to travel boldly into the realm of storytelling  - which I think is the highest achievement of art.

  4. Each person who dreams up a story has named - or rather worded - what they felt, and hopefully will remember the song, the feeling, and the moment long after it ends.

People who don’t get a chance to share with the group find me afterward and gleefully share their stories.  People see me weeks later, at other shows even, and share those stories.  Almost everybody becomes part of producing the experience and the memory of Epi.phony, and it’s super special.

I love that.  It brings that best of the classroom to the best of the concert hall.  And with everybody helping to make the show, the room feels lighter and I couldn’t be any happier.

Okorie Johnson of Ok Cello