Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

O.A.R. keyboard player and background vocalist Mikel Paris filmed his latest episode of TuneTrek – a one man travel and music show that will air on PBS stations – in the Aurora Regional Fire Museum at 53 N. Broadway Ave. this week.

TuneTrek is the artist’s creative outlet during O.A.R. tours. He likes to find hidden gems that are visually interesting and that have a compelling story while visiting cities across the nation, and then showcases them through his own video and photography and musical compositions performed on site.

He does research and has a historic buildings database to work from, then writes the music and lyrics. He has done 49 episodes, several of them available for viewing on his website at www.mikelparis.com/tunetrek.

Paris, who has worked with Pink, Jewel, and percussionist ensemble Stomp, spent most of Monday in the 1894 firehouse that served as the Central Fire Station for Aurora. The building became a museum in 1988.

Aurora was authorized by charter in 1853 to establish fire companies but community leaders initially were reluctant to do so, according to the Aurora Fire Department’s history. It took a series of fires, including one that destroyed three buildings in the business district, to convince them to do otherwise. That part of history was written into his lyrics.

The Aurora location was the site for his 50th TuneTrek episode. He began his day Monday cruising in a 1921 Stutz fire engine around the city. “I do something different to start the day for each episode. Sometimes it is fun or poignant,” he said.

The Jan. 10, 1934, Woolworth store fire on Broadway Avenue that claimed the lives of three of Aurora’s firefighters – Capt. John Petersohn, Capt. Herbert Reiss and Firefighter Charles M. Hoffman – and injured several others was also written into his lyrics sung at the fire station.

“I want the song to inspire me while I am here to get a certain imagery that will connect with the lyrics,” he said. “Sometimes I am in these places all by myself where they unlock the door and let me in and I am playing music for hours. There are moments when I feel like I am in another world.”

thanks Dan