In the beginning
Frank Craeninckx was born in Tienen (Belgium). During his careless youth, he grew up in a warm family with four kids. There was always a lot of attention for music and his parents stimulated the playing of instruments. Adrienne, Frank's mom, was a schoolteacher and played the piano in the classroom. From toddler on, the longing to play the piano was growing.
'As a child I was in my mother's class. She played the piano, and I found it wonderful to sit down on the carpet with my friends and to listen to the song she was playing for us'. I couldn't get luckier when one day as a teenager, I received mom's piano. With the help of all the family this enormous instrument ended up in my room, through the spiral staircase'. There and then my musical dream started'.
Later on he took lessons in school, starting with notes, but guitar- and pianolessons as well. Very soon he played existing songs by listening to them, and improvised as he went along. In his teenage years Frank enjoyed taking part in pop- and rockmusic, parties and concerts.
Faith, hope and love
At 17 years of age Frank became a christians as a result to things happening in his life. He prayed and gathered together in churches (both catholic and protestant) while reading the Bible. It turned his life around and brought renewal in his experience of faith and making music.
The first performances
The desire to write songs and perform grew. A first repertoire was established with propre songs both in Dutch and English language, with a few covers as an extra. The 'genre' was limited between cabaret and folk. Frank played his songs solo with guitar and harmonica at that time. Some performances happened on free stages in small places and in churches.
Singles and a video
In 1980 Frank was approached by a Belgian pop/rockband from Leuven, called Interface. They were searching for a new leadsinger. It was a fun and educating period with many rehearsals and a few acts in youth houses and jails. In 1983 Interface's first single arrived, called ‘Memories’. In 1984 a few remarkable concerts followed and even one on ‘Rock Rally’ at the Stuc in Leuven (Belgium) with Peter Verplanken (guitar), Marc Bauwens (guitar), Kris Vleugels (bas), Fred Visée (drums) and Frank as the leadsinger.
More concerts followed back in 1988 while Frank was experimenting with his piano. He wrote the song ‘Think about it!’ It was decided then to put this song on B-side of the second single. They even made a video from ‘Think about it!’. It was very professional and made possible trough the help and financial backup of International Media Ministries (IMM), a Christian American media company based in the Brussels region. Belgian national TV (back in the days called BRT) showed the video a few times. abroad as well and even in the USA.
Even more concerts
As a result to the video, new opportunities came to perform for an even bigger audience. And so Frank played with Interface in few big events and festivals like Flevo-festival in the Netherlands en het Greenbelt-festival in Great-Brittain.
Gospel, Praise & Worship
After his marriage to Bea and the birth of their three children a new area period started, as well in his personal as concerning his music. The Interface adventure took an end en Frank concentrated his music on quireleading in church. “Bringing Gospel music, praise & worship in the presence of God. To be able to encourage and comfort people at gatherings and churchesby singing and music became my musical purpose.”
Years and years John and Thelma De Cock were active in Belgium with radiostuff and took care of the weekly radiobroadcasting of Gospel Time! This means for more than ten years on different free radios. Their programs were recorded at their own studio, and spread among forty free radio channels. Frank was one of the DJ's during these years. A most fascinating period, which all of the contributors gratefully think back about many times.
In 2005 Frank wanted to make a new CD with his own repertoire and new songs to benefit the homeless and less fortunate. This dream became reality in 2006. With the help of singers and musicians form different churches, the Gospel Songs-CD Frank & Vrij (Frank & Free) was recorded at the Castle Studio in Kerkom (Boutersem, Belgium). Bram Craeninckx, his eldest son and talented drummer played the drums, Christiaan Carelsberg (guitar), Heman Busschots (base) and Philippe Vandeput (sax) talented musicians played along. Vocale support came from different churches and christian communities. Even Frank's youngest son, Simon, went solo in the song ‘Mosterdzaad’ (Musterd seed).
Someone at the studio said: 'This is going to be a beatiful family gospel CD'. And this description fitted the result. With the CD the group ‘Frank & Vrij’ as born, a team prepared to sing everywhere as long as the purpose was right.
Writing and composing the songs for the second CD took a few years, but the result is right there. ‘GOSPEL SONGS – INSIDE OUT‘ is again a cd for all members of the family with fifteen contemporary songs about faith, hope and loven. Again we chose Castle Studio (Hervé Martens) at Boutersem-Kerkom to make the record. Frank got help from singers ( as well as from the catholic as the protestant church) and musicians who were prepared to give the best they could complete selflessly. Simon Craeninckx (Franks and Bea youngest son) had finished musicschool at Tienen (solfège and percussion) a talented drummer. Simon obviously wanted to join the band in the studio. Guestmusicians like Tom Mualaba (guitaar), Simon Van den Bulk (base), Simon Craeninckx (percussion) and Bram Craeninckx (percussion), Willy Horemans (clarinet), Erik Horemans (sax), Corrie Groen (sax), Pietro Maurizi (trumpet), Christiaan Carelsberg (guitaar), Frans Ost (harmonica) and Frank (piano, strings) formed a great musical team. Sixteen choirmembers, among other the choir from Christen Community Emmanuel Haacht and the Saint John Choir from Binkom led by Bartel Wilms, gave their full cooperation. All this enthusiasm was clearly heard in the songs and resulted into a new beautiful record with joyful, encouraging and comforting songs for young and old.
New concerts followed like for example invitations from Bonaire (the Dutch Antilles ) and Finland. Musical adventures which Frank will always treasure in his hart. The reactions on the first CD were heartwarming and the more the fact that the project for orphans and streetchildren could be financed with it. There was a definate demand for a second CD with even more joyful and encouring gospel songs for 'young and old'.
Sometimes, we sometimes go trough difficult times. No one is spared from painful moments can cause scratches and cracks in our heart'. Some scars will last a lifetime. But just like new music can be played on an old piano, God is able to give us new life and help us every day, despite all the struggle and pain. My prayer is, that this music will bring new joy, new encouragement, renewed comfort, and new hope. Wherever it is needed.
In june 2000 Frank had a mission to take part in special conference for singers and musicians in the US and was sent there by the Christengemeente (Christian Church and Community) Emmanuel te Haacht. De Brownsville Worship & Intercession Conference took place at big church in Pensacola, called the Assembly of God back in Florida. It was in many ways a special and education experience and a motivation to do just more about our own talents and make them more usefull. From 2000 on Frank has made himself available to both catholic and protestant celebrations, and to support them with his music on free basis but with a heart for the people. He plays solo, or with the support of friends, singers and musicians, depending on the needs of the church community. 'The more souls, the more joy' is Frank's motto even on a musical level. The desire grew to play music and to perform, mainly in churches, for young and old. Frank wrote a few new songs and added known gospelsongs or praisemusic to it. After the first performances there was a lot of positive reactions and demands for the CD's.