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UW-Eau Claire Jazz Students
To Perform on Cruise Ships
MAILED: Dec. 15, 1999|
Some people will be in Times Square, others will stay home and 27 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire jazz students will enjoy the warm weather of the Caribbean as performers aboard cruise ships for the New Year's holiday.
Robert Baca, associate professor of music and director of three jazz ensembles, received a call from Holland America Line asking for students to play big band music on their ships during the holiday.
"Holland America Cruise Lines was expanding their small groups of six to eight musicians to big bands for the millennium cruises," Baca said.
Based on a cruise ship contractor's experience with two Eau Claire jazz students who not only performed well but also were very professional and after hearing the UW-Eau Claire jazz CDs, Baca said the contractor wanted to "hire as many of our musicians for Holland America's millennium cruises as possible."
"The talent person for the cruise line wanted to upgrade to big band music for the millennium," junior saxophone player Andy Frisinger, Eau Claire, said, "and they had hired Eau Claire students before, so they called Mr. Baca and asked for 27."
Baca said because the cruise line has hired UW-Eau Claire students in the past and because the company was so impressed with the students' ability and attitude, the students were hired for $100 a day each without even having to audition.
"The students will be paid more than if they worked at home eight hours a day, six days a week for three and one-half weeks just by playing a two-hour performance exhibiting their craft," he said.
"The amazing surprise is that based on the reputation of our school he hired the musicians purely by recommendation," Baca said. "In my entire professional career I have never heard of a musician being hired for this level of performance without a resume or audition tape."
Sophomore trumpet player Andy Neesley, Glendale, said the students will be leaving from Ft. Lauderdale or Tampa, Fla., to cruise through the Caribbean where they will play music for two hours each evening.
"Most of the time a contract for a cruise line is for five months and you also have to do other work during the day," Neesley said. "So it is really cool that we get to play for a short time, get paid well and not have to do anything else."
Frisinger, who will be gone Dec. 28 through Jan. 8, said students had the option of going for either a seven- or 11-day cruise.
"This could open the door for further opportunities on a cruise ship and it's a cool vacation for the millennium," he said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 15, 1999