Advice for newly recruited singer
Hello! Can anybody with experience as entertainment staff help ease my mind a bit?
I'm about to start a 4 month contract with Holland America, performing as a HALcats singer on board the Westerdam in about two weeks. I'm absolutely crapping my pants!
It's my first time, I'll be on my own and away from my fiancee :( we got engaged in Paris almost three weeks ago. I'm dreading leaving. The prospect of being away from him for so long is causing me a lot of emotional stress. I applied to my agency when I was single, and when I found out that Holland America wanted me in January I said I wouldn't do it. My wonderful fiancee was also heartbroken, but told me I should go, as it's money for doing something I love and I'd regret not giving it a chance.
Anyway, back to cruise stuff...
There's a hell of a lot of repertoire to learn that I cannot possibly learn in such a short space of time before I embark. I haven't been given a list of what songs I will definitely be asked to play, only ones I should know, which spans about 250+ that I received from my agency in March. Will there be a chance to rehearse with the band before we perform? Will I be allowed to have lyrics in front of me, on a music stand, for the songs I don't know to begin with? I've been rehearsing on my own but haven't been able to get my head around how many songs there are to learn, although I imagine this will get easier with experience.
Also, what's a typical day like for an entertainer/singer? Has anybody seen the HALcats perform?
I'd really appreciate any advice and comments you could give.
I'm a pianist/singer on NCL, so it's very different than your situation (while I get many requests, if I don't know something I just say sorry and/or try to play them something related), but if you're leaving soon, here's what I'd do: make sure you have recordings of the 250 songs -- you can probably find them on youtube, and then you can make mp3s with a converter such as clipconverter.cc -- you will not be able to easily obtain music while onboard due to slow and expensive internet, so you'll want to have copies on your computer/device. Your bandmaster may have them and be able to give you a key drive or something, but best to be prepared on your own. Hopefully they'll have a book of charts for you as well, but it's always good to have definitive versions available for listening.
If the 250 songs includes lots of standards (likely), then you'd probably only be in trouble if your resume/application said something like "have excellent knowledge of standards", or if you submitted a song list that contains tunes that you don't quite know. If you're singing in front of the band, they probably won't want you to use lyrics, but I've never been on HAL so can't say for sure.
A typical day for the first couple of weeks will include lots of safety training, so it can be pretty intense if you're also rehearsing and performing. After the first couple of weeks you'll probably be free all day, which will allow ample time for music study. Here's to a great contract, and may your voice never tire!
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