My career as a “singing sailor” began in 2007 when I joined the American Queen for rehearsals with 4 other teams of performers. We were each getting ready to ‘join’ our boats for the year – I was slated to be on the Columbia Queen for the season. I knew nothing about emergency drills, life jackets, coast guard training and key words like “starboard” and “port.” I had to learn it all in addition to the singing and dancing material before me. It began my passion for being and working on the water, and gave me an entirely new appreciation of the river town that I called home: Pittsburgh.
It has been an exhilarating career that has taken me around the globe, where I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people, many now that I call friends. This is both passengers and crew alike – for those of you who live or travel on the water, you understand what I mean.
To say that I have been blessed is truly an understatement – in the beginning all I wanted to do was get paid to sing and dance. It didn’t matter if that lead me to a resort, theme park, or dinner theatre. When the riverboat opportunity first came to me, I had no idea that it was going to change me and my life so very much.
This past year and a half I have spent back where it all began, working on the American Queen as an Ensemble member, and then at the beginning of this season being promoted to Cruise Director – something I have aspired to be since I first started working on boats, but had never been given the opportunity to do. It was a wonderful learning and growing experience for me and one that I’ll never forget. The challenges with that position were none like I had ever imagined, everyday greeting me with something new to tackle. I almost felt like I was back in the Political Ring organizing again! Once again, I have had the opportunity to make even more amazing friendships, and even reconnecting with some that I had started out with on the Columbia Queen.
As with any performing job, there is always a final curtain call and I had mine on the AQ last week. Although bittersweet and a little sad, I knew it wasn’t a forever goodbye, because for us “river rats” we always find our way back home. Although I had spent the entire season so far working in my role as a Cruise Director, I have also been preparing for my greatest journey yet – Motherhood.
The love and support that has been extended to me by my fellow crew members as I continued to work (belly bigger and all) was exactly why I love the boats so much. I send all that love right back to each and every one of you, and I can’t wait to see you again on the water soon.