Former LCC student a jazz sensation - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Former LCC student a jazz sensation

Walter Kittle

Former LCC student Walter Kittle is topping the charts with his latest jazz release.  Courtesy photo

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

Alright fellow students, we have a mission. Our mission is to help give a very special birthday gift to a very special little boy named Felix, who will be turning 1 year old next month.

Felix is the grandson of Walter Kittle, 69, who is not only a former LCC student, but also an accomplished musician, composer, bass guitarist and solo 8-string bass artist. He is currently topping the charts with his latest release.

“This is a single,” Kittle said. “It’s called “Surrounded by Love” and it’s the one I wrote for my grandson. It’s been out for a week now and it was number one in the nation last week for most added smooth jazz song.”

Click here to download “Surrounded by Love” on the platform of your choice and help keep Kittle at the top in honor of Felix’s first year!

“We are trying to get our song to be number one for Felix’s number one birthday,” Kittle said.

Kittle said his time at LCC was a short but very influential time in his life. He said he might be almost 70, but feels 35 and remembers it all quite well.

He said music was always his first love but, after crunching the numbers as a college student, he decided to go a different direction. He walked away from a full music scholarship at Michigan State University and needed a new start.

“I decided to switch my major,” he said. “I attended LCC and took some chemistry classes and pre-med classes and then transferred back to Michigan State University to finish up my pre-med degree.”

He finished that and went on to accumulate two other post-graduate degrees, in sports medicine and exercise rehab, as well obtaining his chiropractor license.

Kittle owned and operated “Chirotechnology” in Holt for over 35 years. At that point, a sudden back injury that happened on the job caused him to not only lose his practice, but also to become temporarily immobile.

“I was in really bad shape, I couldn’t shower or put clothes on by myself,” Kittle said. “The practice was hard to give up. I love helping people; that’s my thing. If I didn’t have music, I would probably be going crazy.

“I had one lady that came up to me and said, ‘You saved my life. I was about to end my life but I listened to your album and decided not to.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Kittle plays a custom made 8-string bass guitar, calling it a weird one. He uses it to spread the same light that pulled him out of a deeply dark time in his life.

He is a lifelong performer but is now performing for hundreds, if not thousands of people.

“When I was a little kid,” he said, “I would have a little stage in my playroom and put on little songs and dance and sing, so, I have been doing the performing thing forever but now I am doing it professionally, full-time.”

He said he still feels a bit shaky at the beginning of each performance.

“Before I go on, I am scared to death,” he said. “I get real hyper, I pace and imagine all the things that could go wrong, but as soon as I hit the first note, everything disappears and I am just in the zone where I spread emotion through sound.”

Kittle has two other CDs that also made the charts, titled “Full Circle” and “Jazz by the Sea,” available for purchase. He is from Lansing but has since relocated to Tampa because he was tired of shoveling snow.

He collaborated with well-known jazz artists Nils Jiptner and Marion Meadows for his newest release, but considers himself a solo artist, and jazz the ultimate challenge.

Kittle spends his free time enjoying his three children and three grandchildren, Felix, Zoe and Kaitlyn. He also likes to travel internationally and has quite the list of lived adventures.

“I’ve been everywhere,” he said. “I’ve been to Europe twice. I’ve been to the French Riviera, to Greece, Italy, Turkey. I’ve been everywhere except for Asia. That’s my next place I need to go.”

He takes a little piece of each place with him and, as a result, can play the nose flute, something he picked up in Hawaii. And prefers out-of-town pizza.

Kittle remembers his parents fondly and said they were the most encouraging parents a kid could have. They built an entire addition onto their house to give Kittle the space he needed to learn his craft.

His personal philosophy is all about perseverance and overcoming any obstacle. He may be almost 70 but he said he was just doing 600-pound leg presses at the gym a few days ago.

“My dad used to always tell me that I could achieve anything I wanted as long as I applied myself and I have always taken that with me,” Kittle said. “If you keep at it, it’s going to happen.”

“It’s never too late to do anything.”

Felix baby

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