By Vernor Rodgers
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SEQUESTERED SERENADING SERVICES
By Vernor Rodgers
Amid the stress and frustrations triggered
by the COVID-19 shelter-in-place decrees, people can come up with
ways to keep themselves emotionally fit as well as productive,
spreading good will.
Andrea Miller, an Orange County-based singer
/ songwriter, has come up with a way to share her talent even now as
the venues in which she usually performs are shuttered.
During the last week of April, Miller posted
on her Facebook fan page what she called “sequestered serenading
services.” Essentially Miller is offering to take requests for songs
that she will sing and use the resources of social media platforms
to present these performances.
About week three into her shelter-in-place
existence, Miller, who specializes in jazz and standards songs,
realized that she needed to keep her voice in shape.
“I was thinking, what can I do from my
apartment to contribute any way I could and so I thought of this
idea,” Miller said. She added that she has performed at nursing
homes, where she encounters enthusiastic audiences. “They’re just so
appreciative, and they usually know all the words, because I’m
singing all the standards. So I thought: What if I offer my
serenading skills to people that are sequestered like I am. It was
an epiphany that came to me in week three, out of complete boredom,
and desperation of: What am I gonna do?”
So Miller posted the following on her
Facebook fan page:
"SEQUESTERED SERENADING SERVICES"
I am a professional jazz singer and
recording artist and have lost all my work and income due to
COVID-19. Like so many others, I am self-quarantined and alone in my
apartment. I would like to offer my singing skills (free of charge)
in the form of personalized serenading to people in need, especially
those who are sick, completely isolated, lonely and afraid. I take
personal, specific song requests or can provide a list of songs to
choose from. I can either upload a video of me singing the song or
sing it live via Facetime, Skype or Zoom. If you or a loved one is
in this situation please send me a direct message and let me know
the name of the person to serenade, their favorite song and how you
would like me to send the video or set a time for a live exchange.
If elderly people do not have the technology, I am happy to do a
singing telegram over a landline phone. I hope to brighten someone's
day by singing their favorite song!
Song suggestions: Amazing Grace, What a
Wonderful World, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I Wish You Love, Smile,
The Glory of Love, Skylark, Dream a Little Dream, Imagine, Let it Be
and list goes on!
As of April 30 she had nearly a two dozen
“It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s really
kind of rewarding.” She said she is usually doing a song requested
by one person for another. “It’s usually for someone whose loved
ones are sick or in a nursing home.” She reiterates she is offering
the service for free.
Miller at one time had opened for the late
Al Jarreau, and most of her gigs are in smaller venues.
Miller was trained in first soprano opera
from age 12 to 17. “I had played Annie in a musical when I was 11
and my future voice teacher was in the audience and she came up to
me afterward and said, I think you’ve got a lot of natural talent,
and I would love to be able to teach you.”
She learned how to use her voice properly,
how to breathe and other skills.
She then discovered R&B and pop but
eventually found jazz, but it all started with classical.
Miller was 5 years old around Christmas when
her dad, who was a musician – he played clarinet and saxophone and
was band teacher – heard her sing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
and he told Miller’s mon, I think we have a singer on our hands.
Although her mother dismissed this initially, Miller, according to
her father, already was singing with vibrato and perfectly in tune.
“I think it started early and I have just
always known, I’d always sing,” she said.
After doing an album “Perfect Day,” around
2005 that was not legally released, she was asked to sing at a
wedding. People involved in the wedding had connections to KJAZZ,
the Southern California jazz station. Her singing there, along with
presenting “Perfect Day,” helped get her songs aired on the station.
“It was one of those ‘who you know’
stories,” Miller said.
In addition to her discography that
includes “Maybe Today”, “II By II”, “Andrea Miller Featuring the
Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra”, “Soulful Dream”, "Imagine - EP",
“Fly Like an Eagle – EP” and “Andrea - EP”, Miller has also
performed songs on soundtracks of such movies as “Star Trek Beyond,”
“Zootopia,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and "Jurassic World.”
Miller earned a bachelors degree in fine
arts in theater from USC.
Despite her opera training, she has no
desire to perform in operas, citing too many rules to follow. So
when she discovered jazz, she knew where she wanted to go.
“Artistically there is no limit to your
creativity and there’s no rules, ultimately, if you think about it.
It’s the perfect art form where I can never get bored and can
continually express myself and grow.”
Andrea Miller’s web site is www.andreamillersings.com/
She also has a Facebook fan page and there
are several streams of her on YouTube of her performances on stage.