One of the most unique opportunities for singers offers travel, variety of material, and the chance to face a broad range of unique challenges.
Based in Los Angeles, The Singing Waiters are an ensemble of professional singers that became an instant success in Switzerland in 1988 and afterwards throughout Europe as they shared their unique talent for bringing the best of Broadway, well-known standards, and catchy jazz tunes directly to the table.
This gifted group has performed in theatres, hotels, restaurants, private homes, on cruise ships and for numerous clients all over the world. The performers come from different backgrounds but collectively share an extensive musical and artistic knowledge in a variety of styles.
“Our most common events are corporate events,” said company spokesperson and performer James Anest. “Because the Singing Waiters are a very versatile group with literally hundreds of songs in their catalog, it’s important to know the needs of our client so we can put together a proposal that best fits that.”
Anest said that a company might call with the need for entertainment during their dinner for 500 guests. Follow-up questions are asked to help give the client an accurate description of what can be provided along with a price. Examples of their theme-related shows include an evening of love songs, gospel standards, Christmas classics, Disney favorites and Broadway greats. With a vast repertoire to draw upon, their program may be altered from one evening to the next.
“Some of our most unique shows have been over the years in Europe where we have been applauded by the upper-crust in palatial hotels as well as in tiny Swiss chalets where we could be could be interrupted by the ringing brigade of giant decorative cowbells,” Anest said. “Once in Monte Carlo, the women in our group were adorned with Chopard diamonds as we sang, Steppin’ Out With My Baby, and selections from Phantom of the Opera. Another time we sang for what must have been the world’s longest table of guests where we literally wheeled a piano along side of us as we made our way down its length. We have also been challenged by singing on The Orient Express as it chugs along and while sitting on the wing of an airplane in a giant hangar.”
Face Challenges With Grace And Ingenuity
Maintaining close contact with clients prior to a show is critical to helping to minimize surprises, obstacles, and other challenges.
“But challenges are inevitable. On the technical side, we often have issues regarding microphones, sound levels, lighting cues that need to be rehearsed and rehearsed. Our window of time to do this is usually limited, so that too is a challenge,” Anest said, adding that outdoor shows are the most challenging.
“Mother Nature is not always cooperative,” he said. “There can be wind, heat, bugs, and so on. Once a performer actually disappeared as she slipped down the side of a hill in the middle of a song. Being a trouper, she quickly brushed herself off as the pianist continued and jumped in on cue finishing the song. Also, sound tends to dissipate very quickly outside and our amplification needs require adjusting to provide proper acoustics. Whether singing in the gardens of a villa or on the hills of a winery, it can be unnerving not knowing for sure you are in sync with the accompaniment as your performance takes you across the open spaces of the great outdoors.”
Rehearse – And Then Rehearse Some More
Quality control is a priority and that requires lots of rehearsal time, especially since each show is unique. Anest said that since the core group of performers has stayed with the company over the years, that helps to keep the group tight and helps shorten the learning curve for newer members.
Anest believes the benefits for singers to work with the group are many and varied.
“…ranging from travel around the world, staying in five-star hotels, meeting incredible people and even famous people, working with top talent, and camaraderie,” he said. “And getting paid while doing what you love is something to be cherished.”
Visit www.singingwaiters.com for more information on the company and the talented troupe of performers.