Orlando Musicians who pivoted from event music to singing telegrams due to COVID are fighting their way back. While many professions have gone back to work, little work has come back for musicians in Orlando. The loss of work is especially devastating for musicians because of their lifelong personal investment. While most people enjoyed their childhoods and college years, many local musicians sat in a practice room by themselves for hours on end every day so they could someday play music for a living. The musicians are anxious to do what they love and support themselves.
In an effort to keep their musicians working during COVID, one Orlando event music company, Music Remembrance, pivoted the services of their musicians. The musicians started performing social distanced singing telegrams and music serenades. “It’s been a slow climb back” said Music Remembrance owner Andrea Rowlison. “It’s starting to catch on. People are seeing that sending a greeting to cheer someone or a romantic serenade is memorable, especially during these difficult times. It’s a bonus that they can also feel good about putting musicians back to work.”
One of the most dramatic singing telegrams was an Italian opera singer who sang for an Italian grandmother’s 88th birthday. The family made a stage with curtains and lighting and surprised their grandmother with an Italian opera concert and the “Happy Birthday” song. The vocalist said, “It was so much fun! The grandmother grinned from ear to ear and sang along.”
Recently a singer performed a singing telegram of Michael Bolton music for a fan’s birthday. The birthday boy’s best friend couldn’t travel to Orlando for his birthday because of COVID and wanted to do something special. Music Remembrance arranged to surprise him at work so all of his coworkers would share in the surprise. His best friend Lanie Lindahl wrote, “I’m happy the whole team was able to enjoy it and that’s exactly what I wanted.” He was working and heard the singer calling his name. “I’m looking for Nick! Where is the birthday boy!” “He was so surprised!” said singer Daniel Cremisio. She announced that this was a surprise singing telegram from his best friend and performed his favorite Michael Bolton songs. At the end she lead everyone, wearing masks and socially distanced, in singing “Happy Birthday.”
A daughter who couldn’t be there for her mother’s 95th birthday sent her a jazz performance for her 95th birthday. “She was an amazing woman.” said Music Remembrance owner Andrea Rowlison. “I sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and then she and her friends did a socially distanced parade around the room while I played ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ on trombone.”
One of the music company’s favorite singing telegrams was a singer in a birthday cake costume performing funny personalized lyrics to the “Happy Birthday” song for a boyfriend’s birthday. He was in Orlando on a golfing vacation with a group of guys when the singer surprised them out by the pool. The friends started pointing at their friend and everyone laughed and laughed. The singer said, “I could hardly keep a straight face while watching all of them laugh so hard.”
Over the holiday season the musicians were happy that Christmas Caroling gigs were coming in for the brass carolers, string trio and Dicken’s holiday carolers. “It felt so great to be working more again,” said tubist Robin Sisk. The weeks leading up to Christmas were really fun times playing and seeing our musician friends again.”
“The more singing telegrams and serenades we get, the more hopeful the musicians are about the future. I can see it and that gives me hope,” stated the Music Remembrance owner. People are seeing that they can put musicians back to work while making someone’s day with a singing telegram or music serenade. The people giving the singing telegrams feel great and the recipient gets something that they will never forget.
Click here to see Music Remembrance Singing Telegram videos and continue to support local Orlando musicians.