The Vineyard Sound was an opportunity I never expected to happen upon. Growing up in LA, I didn’t know that Martha’s Vineyard existed, let alone that there was a group of ten guys who sang a capella there all summer. Until I started school at Wesleyan, I had never sung a capella before, and I had no experience with musical arrangements or the ins and outs of 4 part male voiced harmony. I have always loved singing, but never thought professional singing was in the cards for me. I assumed I wasn’t good enough for people to pay me for it, and I always had an inkling that fame was absolutely not for me. But The Vineyard Sound has given me an opportunity to take some time out of my life and sing while I can, and I have learned to love being recognized on the streets by fans of the group or people who saw our show last night and enjoyed my solo, because bringing joy to the people of this island is what The Vineyard Sound will always be about.
My first summer on island was a haze of meeting new people, learning music at an exponentially quicker rate than I’d ever been asked to before, and exploring an island of endless outdoor activities. Coming back for a second summer, however, has given me the opportunity to think about what The Vineyard Sound gives to the island that gives so much to us, and has caused me to reconsider what I love most about the group. Singing on the streets--what we call “walk-arounds”--used to feel like a hot, sweaty, vocally exhausting chore, but now I enjoy them, sometimes even more than our shows. Bringing music to the people who don’t know us yet is one of the most important goals of the group. Seeing a family on island for the day and hearing “Wow I’m so glad we happened upon you, what a treat!” has become one of the most rewarding daily experiences. In my first year I often felt intrusive or out of place at private events we were asked to sing for, but I have grown to love getting to be a part a child’s birthday, a couple’s wedding, or yearly family clambake. Experiencing, or in some case, being the main source of entertainment and joy at these events, is something I feel never would have been offered to me without The Vineyard Sound.
There are many truly magical things about living on an island and singing for a living, and The Vineyard Sound, while bringing joy to the people we perform for, is also a once in a lifetime opportunity for those of us who get to be a part of it. I will always be lucky to have experienced Menemsha sunsets, trips to Lambert’s Cove, numerous special moments in people’s lives, and meeting some of the most talented and loving people I know, and I only hope that that gratitude shows in all of my performances, however big or small, throughout my summers with The Vineyard Sound.