HERE WE GO! Finally back to the "Radiance of the Seas" Sept. 12th, down to New Zealand and Australia. Experience cruising the "Southern Cross" in the South Pacific! End date of this contract is January 4th, 2015.
Then, six days later on Jan. 10th, we'll join the Vision of the Seas doing seven-night Western Caribbean cruises out of Tampa, FL through April 11th, then a 15-night Transatlantic crossing to the Mediterranean, with exciting European cruises and ports there. End date of this contract to be announced!
CHECK IT OUT!...Kelly performing "I'm Still Standing" and "Philadelphia Freedom" in Elton attire with the eight piece Monarch of the Seas Orchestra http://youtu.be/JmT_tZPGb_Q in the Sound of Music Theatre, white Yamaha grand piano and all! Take a look!
SCHOONER BAR VIDEO at http://youtu.be/pm6xcQjyOw4 was shot on RCCL "Monarch of the Seas." The "Compilation Video" was shot by good friend and talented videographer Jason Fisher, and includes snipets of my Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Beatles tribute segments.
Thanks to all the new and long-standing friends who have supported us during our remarkable journey.
What a life-altering experience it has been! Getting to know fellow staff and crew members from around the world, learning to cope with shipboard life, being trained in safety and security procedures...all quite mind-boggling! Those who have cruised before and wondered about the inner workings of a cruise ship...now WE know!
Some of the special theme nights I present include a "Jimmy Buffett Parrothead Party" in the Schooner Bar. Total madness! On every cruise I have an "Elton John" and "Billy Joel" tribute hour in full costume, which has been very popular, and an "Elvis Tribute" in full battle regalia! Sheer Frankenstein! Every cruise now offers my "Beatles Rewind Revue" in Fab Four digs! Release the Hounds! Also added now is a tribute to Neil Diamond, a crowd favorite! Royal Caribbean encourages these specialty performances. Hope to see you out there.
A Brief Biography: Born and raised in east-central Ohio; Graduated from Claymont High School, Uhrichsville, Ohio; Attended Kent State University; Employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years; Married for 26 years to my high school sweetheart Ann, with three grown daughters, three grandsons and a granddaughter between us; Resided in Clearwater, Florida for nine years before going aboard ships.
Musical history: Took piano lessons for two years in grade school at the urging of my trumpet-playing father. By my Junior High years, I had tired of the structured piano tutorials, and thrashed about on the drum kit with the local rock bands throughout high school and college. In 1974, I hooked up with good friend and fellow musician Sam Hitchcock who sang, had a Hammond B-3, and could hold his own on the drums. We traveled the Holiday Inn circuit for a couple years, trading places on keys and drum kit.
After that, it was strictly piano, organ, synthesizers, and vocal harmonies that fueled my musical world, including forays into Dixieland Jazz, Big Band swing, acoustic folk rock, and Top 40 dance music. In the early ‘90s, my universe expanded to Columbus, Ohio where I joined renowned ‘Elvis’ impersonator Mike Albert’s Big “E” Band as keyboardist/backing vocalist.
Engagements across the U.S., in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and on cruise ships in the Caribbean often featured former Elvis Presley associates, including original drummer D.J. Fontana, guitarist Scotty Moore, backing vocalists “The Jordanaires,” “J.D. Sumner and the Stamps,” “The Sweet Inspirations,” and “TCB Band” members James Burton, Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, and Glen Hardin.
After nine years as music director for the Big “E” Band, the lure of sunny beaches and palm trees brought us to Florida in 2001, where I began playing piano bars and solo keyboard and vocal gigs. I bring the diverse grab bag of musical treats that I’ve collected over the years to each engagement, and try to connect with every segment of my audience with music and participation. Another "nine year itch" was scratched in 2010 with my retirement from the U.S. Postal Service after 31 years as a letter carrier, and acceptance of an offer to join Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines aboard the majestic "Radiance of the Seas" as Schooner Bar Entertainer. Other Royal assignments have included Monarch, Enchantment, Legend, and Jewel of the Seas.