Ish is a gifted singer, songwriter and storyteller and besides accompanying himself on guitar, he also plays mandolin, banjo, dulcimer, harmonica and melodica. He also enjoys writing short stories and poetry for young and old alike and performing with Marion Lightly whom accompanies him on accordion, piano and back up vocals.
Ish’s interest in writing poetry and short stories began at the age of nine, when he wrote his first poem "Some Kind of Difference".
Impressed with the positive message it conveyed, his Principle, Mr. McDowell @ Downsview Public School had it framed and placed outside his office to be shared with everyone.
At the age of just 14, his Uncle Harry, an avid reader and music lover, bought him his first guitar, a 1957 Framus arch-top acoustic guitar, which he still owns and often plays.
Young and Impressionable - this inspired a lifelong passion for the joys of music as well as reading and writing and, ignited his passion for self-expression in a creative, non intrusive and meaningful manner.
Over the years, his influences have varied in nature and delightfully include Authors like: Robert Munsch, Shel Silverstein, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Dr. Suess.
Some of his musical influences delightully include - Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo, the Beatles, Willie P. Bennett, Bela Fleck, Ron Sexsmith, Tim Obrein, Pete Seegar, Raffi and Fred Penner.
He also enjoys listening to Classical as well as World Music and Acoustic Folk Roots. And especially is enamored with the sounds of the clawhammer banjo and all it's possibilities.
In 1973, he experienced his first interaction with Street Theatre when he saw a funny juggler at a street festival.
Amazed by his act and by the way the crowd was enthralled by him, he knew immediately that performing was something he wanted to do.
Becoming a parent in 1976 sparked his interest in reading books and listening to music specifically for Children and paved the way for Ish to become a singer, songwriter and storyteller for Children and their Families.
Things happen for a reason, and, it all came together in 1980 when he saw Raffi in Concert and, met Topper the Clown, who mentored and guided him to become a gentle, good-natured Hobo Clown in the tradition of Red Skelton.
Topper also encouraged Ish to focus on his Musical and Storytelling abilities and to express his sense of goodwill within his art.
And, is still at the heart of the things he does.
Ish also received additional training under the tutelage of world class Clowns, Richard Pachinko and Fiona Griffiths at the Theatre Resource in Toronto, and developed further skills in movement and improvisation and familiarity with the history of Clowning including, Comedia de Arte.
He also studied improvisational comedy at the renowned Second City and had the wonderful opportunity to meet and study with such respected comedic artists as - Mump & Smoot and John Candy.
Ish hosted a weekly “Tiny Talent Time Show” entitled,
The Bee-Bop & Bubblegum Show, from 1984 - 1986
and appeared as a delightful Hobo Clown in a musical vaudevillian style.
It was filmed “live off the floor” and the stage was a one ring circus set with four rows of bleachers for family and friends.
Before each show Ish would go out and meet the children, their family and friends sitting in the bleachers and put them at ease with his humor and warmth and encouraged them to let loose and have some fun; each show featured three or four children.
It was filmed and produced by Mid Canada Television, an affiliate of CBC. Ish also wrote and recorded the soundtrack plus composed two songs per episode for the duration of its run.
Amongst the many talented children that appeared on the show was a gifted little girl named April Verch that has gone on to become an internationally acclaimed Celtic Violinist and Vocalist.