By Stephanie Kelley
Branson, Missouri is known for its great family fun, live theater and its outstanding live music. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this type of town should be the home of one of Christian music’s most renowned musical geniuses, Dino Kartsonakis.
Known professionally as “Dino,” Dino Kartsonakis was born and raised in New York City and is the grandson of first generation Greek immigrants. Dino credits his very existence to the strong faith of his mother and grandmother. “When my mother was pregnant with me, the doctors told her I was going to be stillborn, but my mother and grandmother wouldn’t accept that,” Dino explains. “They did a lot of praying and dedicated my life to the Lord even before I was born, and God did a miraculous healing in my mother. My mother always knew that because of that instance, the Lord was going to use me but she didn’t know how.” Dino sat down at the family’s old broken-down piano and began picking out the melody to “At the Cross,” a classic hymn he heard in church. He was only 3 years old. As his mother tiptoed up behind this little prodigy, it became clear to her that music was her son’s God-given gift.
Dino was only 7 years old when he made a decision to dedicate his life to serving God through music. A decision Dino says was “simple, yet changed everything.” His musical talent on the piano began to flourish through years of performing at Glad Tidings Tabernacle, in New York City where his family attended. Dino would go on to study at Julliard School of Music as well as conservatories in France and Germany.
The rest, as they say, is history. Dino’s numerous recordings have received many well-deserved accolades including a Grammy Award for his involvement on the soundtrack of the movie “The Apostle,” starring Robert Duvall and a Grammy nomination for “Chariots of Fire.” Dina has also received eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards
Dino’s appreciation for Southern Gospel music began when he was a child living in New York City. It all started with the Blackwood Brothers coming to his church. His love of the genre grew throughout his life. In 2006, Roger Bennett invited Dino to perform with him at the National Quartet Convention, held annually in September in Louisville, KY. Little did anyone suspect, but this was to be Roger Bennett‘s last performance. “What a great night that was when he sang, ‘It is Well With My Soul,’ as I accompanied him. For me, that created a tie to the National Quartet Convention and I’ve been playing there ever since then.” Dino remembers. Dino’s ties with Southern Gospel are solid to this day. He will be performing live hear at the Branson Gospel Music Convention this month in Branson, MO. If you can’t make it to this event, take Dino‘s advice: “Of course you can read about all the Southern Gospel news through Scoops Magazine. It really helps keeps people informed and helps perpetuate the Southern Gospel genre to young and old.”
Dino’s piano talents have been known for years, but it is only recently that the world became familiar with his other talents. “A few years ago, at my home in Branson, MO, I went into the kitchen and cooked up a heavenly carrot cake. Baking is something I have loved to do since watching my parents create magnificent recipes over the course of my life. It is my second greatest passion, the first being music. “Dino explains. “My friends Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton and Daniel O’Donnel would come over to the house and sample my new creation. They loved it and recommended I market the cake to the public. At first I wasn’t interested because my career takes so much of my time. It was my wife Cheryl who encouraged me to follow this passion and venture into the business of baking.”
In 2007, the “24 Karrot Bakery” was born. Since then, Dino and his team have produced several other delicious cake recipes including: Chocolate, Strawberry Red Velvet, Italian Crème, Tropical Island, Orange Pineapple, and Lemon Zest. Dino has opened two 24karrot locations in Hollister and Branson Missouri.
If you’re in Branson for the Branson Gospel Music Convention, let me encourage you to stop-by one of the bakery locations and try some of Dino’s goodies. If you can’t make it to Branson, never fear!! Dino will have his creations shipped right to your door!
Dino’s 24karrot Quick Info.
Mission: To sweeten the lives of others through the enjoyment of exquisite culinary creations!
24karrot Cake Co.
12 Downing Street
Hollister, MO 65672