Photo by Belanne Pibal
This is Princess, my cat.
And this is her facebook page:
Prounounced: "Pie-Ball" (Like something you might use in a food fight)
Thomas Pibal eats, breathes, sleeps and lives music, although sometimes he eats pancakes and breathes air, too. Thomas began his musical journey at age six at the piano, his first piano teacher, Kathy Fee, said that he was probably the fastest-learning student she had ever taught. After several years of piano lessons, Thomas decided he wanted to quit studying music. Fortunately his frustration with method books swiftly led him to discover the music of Scott Joplin and soon after learning pieces like "The Entertainer" and the "Maple Leaf Rag" around the age of thirteen, Thomas realized music was a part of his life that he couldn't live without.
When Thomas was a young boy, he used to love to count out loud and could count to 1200 and read children's books before he was in kindergarten. After entering school, his kindergarten teacher told his parents she thought he might have mental problems because he was extraordinarily quiet and didn't speak. Much to the teacher's surprise, his mother said Thomas was extraordinarily talkative at home. When asked if she had asked the class to be quiet, the teacher said she had and the discovery was made that Thomas was simply diligent in following instructions.
Thomas Pibal is an eagle scout and when he was 14 years old his scoutmaster was in an accident where he lost his right arm. Thomas rallied together musicians he met playing at an open mic and networking around the area for a benefit concert that raised over $11,000 for his scoutmaster's family.
Around the time of the benefit concert, Thomas developed tendonitis in one of his thumbs from over-practice. It was at this time that he began studying piano with Dr. Arthur Johnson who was a professor at the nearby Lakeland University (then Lakeland College). Dr. Johnson forced Thomas to abandon all piano practice save one or two mind-numbing and very exacting technique exercises for a period of nine months in order to break his bad technique habits and ingrain better ones.
Formal education was generally one of Thomas' least favorite endeavors as a child. Thomas was homeschooled for much of his childhood but also attended multiple public schools and graduated from a public charter school. After graduating from high school Thomas attended Lakeland University pursuing a degree in music, but not before many arguments with family members over the wisdom of accepting student loan debt.
Despite coming from a middle class family without the means to pay for college Thomas determined that he would pay his own way through school or not attend college at all. He would eventually accept some financial help from his grandparents in his sophomore year after he determined he could no longer afford tuition payments on his own and had decided to drop out.
During his college years (and to this day) Thomas has hated mornings and was known for his general grogginess and tardiness to music theory classes. Occasionally when he would be up late completing homework assignments, the night would turn to morning. Because he didn't want to drive to campus on one or two hours of sleep or risk missing his first class Thomas would drive to school, find the first classroom for his first class of the morning (or a place nearby) and simply sleep at a desk or across pushed-together piano benches, and would often wake up in the class he had been concerned about missing.
When Thomas was a child his mother would sometimes resort to waking him up in the morning by putting ice cubes down his shirt and sometimes even that wasn't enough. After becoming an adult Thomas would make it a habit to set no less than seven alarm clocks to wake him up for important events, spaced strategically throughout his bedroom. The longest he has ever slept through a buzzing alarm so far is 5 hours.
For many years, Thomas has built a reputation as a skilled instrumentalist, original artist, accompanist and teacher. As of this writing, Thomas is 25 years old. He has played in at least six bands and currently plays keyboards and sings backing vocals for "The Electra Color," whom he started playing with in 2012, based in Fond Du Lac and then Appleton, Wisconsin. Thomas is also playing with a new group as of summer of 2017: a jazz trio called "Jive Safely," for which Thomas plays drums.
Thomas started teaching private lessons in 2006 when he was still in 8th grade. Thomas has worked as the staff accompanist at Lakeland University and Silver Lake College, the rehearsal accompanist for the Sheboygan Symphony Chorus and stepped in as the choir director at the University of Wisconsin - Fond Du Lac during their spring 2016 term. Thomas also works as a freelance accompanist for various high schools and theatre companies among other clients, and has also filled the role of rehearsal accompanist, music/vocal director and pit director for several musicals.
Thomas has one self-recorded/produced album of original songs titled "Demography," which he released in 2011.
Thomas graduated from Lakeland College (Now Lakeland University) on May 4th, 2014 with a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis on vocal performance and pedagogy. Thomas was a co-recipient of Lakeland College's "Outstanding Overall Music Student" award in 2014.
In 2015 The Electra Color released the album "The Girlfriend Experience" which Thomas helped write and record. The Electra Color was nominated for the Wisconsin Area Music Industry's "Best New Band" award in 2015. Thomas was nominated for the WAMI's "Keyboard Player of the Year" award in 2016.
Thomas started learning the craft of sound engineering in 2016 while shadowing some sound production companies and worked as a sound designer for the Sheboygan Theatre Company.
In 2017 Thomas wrote and produced his first soundtrack for a short film that was part of the Madison 48 hour film festival entitled "What I Didn't Do," directed by Cole Sheldon. The writing, recording and editing for the score all took place in the space of one day. The film received the award for "Best Original Score" and was runner up for the title of best overall film at the local festival.
Thomas married his wife Sara in 2015 and they currently reside in Sheboygan, WI.