Jonathan Tucker wasn't sure how to take director Dan Kehde's comment the first time he stepped out of the orchestra pit to try out for a stage role in a Contemporary Youth Arts Company production.
The year was 2008 and Tucker, four years out of high school, had decided he liked singing. As a violinist, his talents had previously been used in the orchestra.
This time, Tucker was seeking a role in "Mary," the rock opera written by Kehde and composer Mark Scarpelli.
He took to the stage and belted out "O, Holy Night."
And Kehde shouted out from the theater, "You're fired!"
"I wasn't sure what that meant," Tucker said, recalling the story with a laugh.
It meant, "Wow."
Tucker didn't really start singing until college, and even then it was in places like the locker room at West Virginia State University, where he played on the football team.
He'd burst into a Josh Groban song and hear, "Who's singing opera?!"
"But then they'd say, 'Sing some more,'" Tucker recalled.
Tucker, 26, now is asked to sing often - and in much more public places than a locker room.
He just completed a reprise of "Mary" with Scarpelli and Kehde. He regularly performs with Scarpelli at Fazio's restaurant and at weddings. And he's active at his church, Bible Center.