The church job didn't work out, so we're on to Plan B. I've had Plan B in the back of my mind for over a year, and I've decided to act on it. Upon reflection, I think my Plan B should have been Plan A all along.
Plan B is a cruise ship gig. I feel I would do quite well in a variety of situations: solo singer/guitarist for a cocktail lounge, guitarist with a small combo, or as a guitarist with a house band. The house band provides a variety of music and often backs up special guest artists appearing on the cruise. The house band also requires that you be an excellent sight reader, which is one of my strengths.
Researching these gigs, I've looked into the pros and cons. In my own situation, the pros far outweigh the cons. I'm single with no pets, working as a freelancer, and living in an inexpensive studio apartment. My goal all along has been to become a full time working musician again, and this would be a major step in that direction. Room and board is taken care of, there are exercise facilities, and the schedule in general is fairly light, especially compared to some of the work I've done in the past as an Air Force musician. Even the freelancing can get pretty crazy at times. It would be nice to have a regular performance schedule with days off.
There are cons, too. Because contracts are generally 4-6 months, a lot of "land projects" would have to be put on hold or dropped. I'm not sure what would happen with my music engraving business, although if I found that I really loved playing cruise ships, I wouldn't have any problem with letting the engraving go. InTown Band is a project I've been involved in for years now, and we would have to discuss my role in the band if I started taking cruise jobs. Most likely they would have to find another guitarist and singer, although I would still want to be involved by writing songs for the group.
As I understand it, when you audition for a cruise line, you're not necessarily auditioning for a specific job on a specific ship. Instead, the audition puts you in the system. Later on, you get the call when a job opens up. It could be in a week, or it could be in a few months.
I'll be applying for a passport very soon. There are probably some local cruises I could work without one, but having a passport will qualify me for more jobs. Once I get my passport, I'll stop researching and start auditioning. You never know, next year I may be blogging from a ship.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.