When they interviewed me, the manager leaned in and asked, “Would you sing for us?” I stood up,took a breath and sang “God Bless America” soulfully. Their eyes raised. The manager shook his head in a yes manner. “You’re hired!” I soon noticed that the Italian restaurant venue was boring. The energy was low and the singers were mechanical. We sang arias and Italian standards, such as “That's Amore” in Arizona, in a beautiful resort reminiscent of Hawaii. It didn’t fit. One evening, I felt something needed to change. I entered the restaurant, carrying a tray of food and the urge came. I sang out-loud “Shout hallelujah, come on get happy, your dinner’s on its way. Shout hallelujah, come on get happy, it really didn’t take all day!” The diners laughed and clapped enthusiastically.
I thought, oh boy, I got it now.
Then I enthusiastically shared my vision of servers singing lively fun a’cappella parodies, making customers laugh, bringing fun and joy into the atmosphere. I expressed to them the solemn arias and Italian songs wouldn’t last, that there was no excitement or enthusiasm in them. I proposed writing the parodies. I showed them the ones I had already written. “They would be under a minute long, they would be clever, and they would be performed a'cappella, without a sound system. My “ Tasteful Tunes” introduced “table-side entertainment.” I knew they would spark customers lives even if it were for a moment, my passion for creating impactful moments is what Abundant Thoughts was created from. This desire was/is innate.
My desire for changing emotional states in the moment is who I am. Affecting someone else, through words, presence, seeding happiness and abundant thoughts, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My excitement spread and they sat up in their chair, smiling, seeing the vision. After I finished presenting, they glanced at each other shaking their heads yes. “Go for it!” they said. So I did. I took the challenge. I don’t read music, I’ve never had voice lessons, I never played a musical instrument, and there I was, training singers from college and egotistical-maniac waiters who thought they were already famous singers. None the less I made it work.
The parodies that were most important were the special occasion songs: birthday, anniversary, pregnancy, honeymoon, retirement, graduation, promotion. I created parodies to highlight most celebrations. It was unlike any other place because we were focused on the clients, not on the performance. It worked like magic. I was Director of Entertainment for sixteen years. We were recorded, on television, in special locations, and we performed funny songs about big corporations. The restaurant was packed daily. A food critic, of a renowned local paper, called me... “a hospitality maven” and the resort was lucky to have me.
I recall after attending church one day; I was complaining about how much work I had and how challenging my position was. A nearby lady overheard my sharing and she said…”bloom where you're planted” . That abundant thought was well seeded for my talent to change moments. I’m grateful that this opportunity developed a coach, teacher and cheerleader.
The Dreaded End of an Inspiring Legacy!
I showed up to work as usual and the food and beverage manager wished to speak to me. I felt a tinge of queasy in my stomach with anticipation and fear for what was about to happen. Before I met them, I went into the restroom looked into the mirror and said, “You know, God, I don’t know what’s up. But please, just help me keep my mouth shut.”
I went in, all the big shots were sitting around the table with sterile facial expressions. Then the bomb dropped, they said, There will be no more singing at the restaurant anymore. I was shocked, I paused, they were obviously waiting for a response or a flare-up. I simply said, “This is your house, I just get to play here.”
So I went back downstairs, opened the restaurant, and the first two couples that came in were there to celebrate a pregnancy. They had been coming for years, every time one of the wives got pregnant, we would sing a special pregnancy parody to them. They asked what I was going to sing and I had to tell them that we didn’t sing anymore. They were livid, not with me, but with the management, who hadn’t been telling diners that there was no more singing. They had been expecting the performance.
The magic was over. I packed up my parodies and decided to leave two weeks later.
Shortly afterwards the restaurant closed.
I realized I needed a creative outlet that would benefit others.
I had an Ache To Inspire, Lift Spirits and Brighten Lives!
Within the next five days I had thought of the idea that would fulfill that ache.