You Must Have the Desire
Ever since I was a little girl, around five years old, I have loved music and singing. I wanted to be a singer and an actress, but I could never make a living doing it. When I was in high school I did drama. I eventually chose education as a career.
Now I am the lead female singer for a six-piece oldies/variety band called the Retro-Rockets as well as the lead female singer of an oldies duo called Rearview Mirror. Between the band and especially the duo, I play usually 5-6 days a week, performing over 200 shows a year. I love it. This is what I have always wanted to do.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
I found an ad on Craigslist. They were looking for a male vocalist. I reached out to them and asked if they wanted to try a female vocalist instead. We became Rearview Mirror.
As a duo, Glenn Bullion and I are musical soul mates because we have the same voice.
Two guys created an oldies group to play at the church events. My husband Peter is the Retro-Rocket’s manager. He takes care of all the information. As the band started getting more songs, I pushed a little bit to do other things besides church gigs. From there we started getting outdoor summer concerts, senior centers and coffee shops.
The niche is a lot of the senior facilities and retirement communities. We also perform summer outdoor concert series.
What were the specific obstacles that you faced?
When we first started out, I was still working as a full time teacher and as a data coach. It was difficult doing both.
The band and duo mostly perform oldies. It’s finding the niche of where we fit in. We don’t fit in like most of the clubs because they want more modern music and they have a younger crowd. Our band has changed over time due to talent and personality issues as we try to get better and better.
It takes a lot of my time. Once I was retired, there is a tiny bit of resentment of wishing things weren’t as hectic. I’m loving it so much. People are smiling and dancing and coming up to us telling us we’re the best group they’ve ever had. They tell us, ‘You’ve brought back so many memories.’ It’s all worth it.
What helped you get through them?
I keep doing research. Whenever I go out, I’ll grab a newspaper and always look for venues, events and places that are looking for entertainment. I find out whether they are interested in our kind of music. I may only play 1-2 hours a day, but spend the other time promoting our gigs.
We have a monthly newsletter, website, Facebook page. We have to have sales and publicity which I’m doing. I only get to perform for a short period of time, but to make it happen, is a full time job. It also makes it work.
Were there people that tried to discourage you? Who were they and what did they say to you?
People keep saying to me that I’m retired and they look at my schedule and say I’m too busy for a retired person. ‘Don’t you get tired?’ I tell them no, this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life and I’m finally living my dream. I am willing to put in the time to live out my dream.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
It was the best feeling. There was an instant when I knew I was living it. In Columbia, Maryland every summer there’s this big outdoor concert series. I’ve known the person who runs it. I was never good enough to get into his venues. With the band, we sent him the information and booked the lakefront concert. Everyone sits on a hill. I’ve always wanted to be on the main stage in front of a big audience at lakefront. Now I’m doing it.
What advice would you give to others that are contemplating finally living their dream?
Keep pursing it. Keep looking for things. With social media, there are so many places where you can look for people with similar interests and dreams. Don’t ever give up. It’s never too late. You have to be the one looking. You can’t just wait and let things fall in your lap. Chances are they will not fall in your lap you have to keep pursuing it.
You really can do it. Part of it is having the desire, dream and working like crazy to make it happen. It can happen.