e are all told at one point in our lives that we possess certain gifts. Whether it is in the arts, sciences, business or humanities, we all have an instinct or natural proclivity towards something. If you’re reading this, you most likely have a proclivity for music. You’ve spent years honing your skills to a level that you and others (mainly teachers and peers) deem as praiseworthy and your main goal, your modus operandi, is to channel your passion towards an audience that will appreciate your talent. That is the main reason why many of us aspire to play in big bands and jazz orchestras in the first place. However, it becomes rather easy to lose hope when opportunity does not present itself at your door. Some of us fear taking the plunge and taking opportunity that requires small sacrifices. This is usually the case when accepting a gig on a cruise ship. We set sail for months and leave everything behind. We disconnect from what we know as home and friends for a life that we are not familiar with. But the fact remains that music is meant to be shared. Read the rest of this entry »
Throughout my career as founder of Proship Entertainment, I’ve been asked countless of times: “Did you ever worked on ships yourself?” The answer is: yes and I had the time of my life. In fact I had so much fun, I started this company whilst onboard my first vessel, in cabin CW-8 of the SS Amerikanis. During the two-day crossings between New York City and St-Georges in Bermuda, I was able to borrow the purser’s typewriter to put together our company’s first agreements, procedures and correspondence. Read the rest of this entry »
Synergy is what happens on a P&O Australia ship when the cocktail pianist leads and rocks the band sending piano bar entertainer Norman Levene into a front man vocalist onboard the MV Pacific Pearl in February 2011.
First off, you have to posses excellent sight reading skills; every day you will be called upon to read different charts in many different styles. Usually you will see the charts for the first time at rehearsal, which is only a few hours before the actual show, thus making it imperative to nail it on the spot. If you do struggle with one or more charts, you may have the time to practice them before “Showtime”.
I cannot begin to calculate the number of people I met on cruise ships; hundreds of thousands if not millions. I am still in contact with some of the friends I made from those days, most of them are crew, many of them musicians, but I also keep in touch with a few passengers. “Guests” as they a now often referred to, were still termed “passengers” in my day, and affectionately nick-named “cones” by many of the crew onboard; after the traffic cones in the road which are impossible to get around.
So, you’ve heard about ships from a friend, or maybe seen something online, and think you want to give it a shot. Perhaps you are asking yourself, “What type of music would I be playing, exactly? I mean, I’m going to be playing endless choruses of The Girl from Ipanema, while sipping piña coladas by the pool, how do you prepare for that, anyway?” Don’t kid yourself, playing as member of a showband on a ship is a challenging job for many musicians. Based on my own experiences, I will try to give you an idea of what you might actually be doing onboard a ship, and what kind of things to work on to prepare yourself for the gig. Read the rest of this entry »