Thursday, Sept. 1, the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series (ISCS) will present a special treat, an unprecedented ninth concert. The evening will feature Jennifer Singer, a crowd-pleasing vocalist whose residencies with cruise lines have culminated in her latest voyage as “Signature Artist” aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Wonder of the Seas, its newest and the world’s largest cruise ship.
Opening at 6:15 p.m. is a trio of Idyllwilders, Sam Kessler, David Dapeer and Steve D, who call themselves “The Hill Tribe Trio.” They plan to play classics from the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon and Nashville songwriter Steve Earle. This will be Kessler’s last concert on the Hill for a while, as he is moving away.
Singer (her real name) began as a child in community theater and never let up. She earned her degree in drama and education at the University of California (UC), Irvine, and as a participant in UC Irvine’s New York satellite program, had the opportunity to study under Broadway professionals. She has credits as a singer, actor, dancer and songwriter, and her career has taken her from Equity Theaters to cruise lines and concert stages in Vegas. When not at sea, she enjoys road trips, hiking and volunteering for animal shelters. The Crier caught up with Singer last week.
TC: “Are you bringing up a band?”
JS: “Ken Dahleen is providing the band.”
TC: “Have you played with them before?”
JS: “Yes, last year.”
ISCS Founder and President Dahleen not only provides the infrastructure for the concerts and books the talent, as director of his“Big Band Staff he has access to Southern California’s finest “first call” session players and can put together pretty much any kind of ensemble to bring out the best in a vocalist. This year, in addition to their own program, Big Band Staff members accompanied Gino Walker for her “Aretha Franklin and Friends” show.
TC: “What will you be singing?”
JS: “A mix of popular hits and Broadway classics, something for everybody. I’m happy to be returning, excited to be returning. There will be a mix; a couple of things I did last year, and new things; selections for ’80s and ’90s music lovers as well as the rockers.”
TC: “What are you doing now?”
JS: “Home finally, or on vacation, on vacation from my residency aboard Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, which is their newest, and the biggest cruise ship in the world.”
Indeed, the Wonder of the Seas set out on its maiden voyage in March of this year, and it is huge — 1,188 feet long, crew of 2,300, up to 6,988 passengers. It also boasts the largest theatrical venue at sea.
TC: “What is that like?”
JS: “I am the first ever ‘Signature Artist,’ a graduated status from headliner. A first not only for me, but for Royal Caribbean. There are numerous venues on the ship with an abundant amount of talent performing anything from Latin music, to acoustic guitar and vocals in the pub, to the Reggae Band by the pool, party band on the promenade, country band and jazz band in Central Park. It’s pretty incredible. My show is located in the Main Royal Theatre as one of their featured headliner shows in the evening.”
Singer is currently “in Europe; I’m performing here. The show that you’ll be seeing in Idyllwild is a semi scaled-down version of what I’m doing here in Europe, in terms of technical theatrics like hydraulics, lifts, backup singers, etc. We will, however, be using a large band with an amazing big sound just like I do here on Royal, and the same song selection.”
TC: “You must love traveling.”
JS: “I always wanted to travel the world and never thought I actually would be given the opportunity. My career at sea has given me this opportunity 10 fold, of which I am so grateful. I try to maintain a balance of my love for travel and love for home.”
.These concerts are free to all and supported entirely by donations. The team “passes the hat” at the event, and those who can give more are invited to send contributions, checks payable to “Idyllwild Summer Concert Org,” to P.O. Box 1542, Idyllwild CA 92549-1542, or call (760) 413-4638. This year’s budget was over $34,000.
This year’s major contributors include: Bob and Gisela Stearns, Stephanie Yost and Steve Olson, Donna McLain, Compass Realty, Idyllwild Brew Pub, Roland Gaebert, Will and Kathy Kleindienst, Phil Strong and Linda McCaughin, Mountain High Escrow, Doug and Pat Austin, Idyllwild Rotary Club, Town Crier, Nona Solowitz and Mike Cheley, Tim McTavish, Desert Sotheby’s Realty, Idyllwild Trailer Park residents and Idyllwild Pizza Company.
Remember that temperatures drop in the summer evening. Come prepared with an extra layer. Butterfield Amphitheater, 54201 Ridgeview Drive, with access through the Idyllwild Community Playground parking lot on Highway 243 just south of town.