January 20, 2013
Living the rock star life in St. Vincent
By LIZ FLEMING, Special to QMI Agency
Let's be honest: Haven't you really always wanted to be a rock star? Singing your heart out in skin-tight silver pants, cruising in a limo, signing huge recording contracts, surrounded by groupies, fans falling at your feet?
You want that. Who doesn't?
I know how to make it happen -- or rather, where. Well -- actually not the limo, the groupies or the contracts, and you'll have to provide your own silver pants and fans, too -- but if you head for Buccament Bay Resort on the island of St. Vincent, I can guarantee a place in the spotlight.
It's all thanks to the brilliant Academy program, a feature of Harlequin Hotels in general and Buccament Bay Resort in particular. Whether your dreams of performing glory involve the stage or the sports arena, you're covered.
Some guests hone their tennis skills at the Pat Cash Academy, or polish their soccer style at the Liverpool Football Club Soccer School. If you're like me, however, and just know you could be the next Adele (if you caught the right breaks and developed some new vocal chords) it's the Academy that really rocks.
Their tiny, perfect sound cave is seductive, with everything from state-of-the-art equipment to the stage, where you'll move like Jagger.
Forget the gorgeous sandy beach, the crystal clear pool, the serene spa and all those fruity drinks the bartenders are mixing up outside. Get that microphone in your hand and you'll stay in the studio all day with the resort's professional singers and directors who'll work with you -- just as if you really had talent!
Most come from theatres on London's West End and have credentials that will make you blush later when you remember singing in front of them. At the time, however, they'll make you feel like the hottest thing ever.
I know, because this devoted sun-worshipper forfeited an afternoon of tropical rays to live out her rock-star fantasies, complete with back-up singer.
I'd met tennis instructor James Droy on the courts, where I was decisively displaying my lack of athletic talent. When he diplomatically offered to shelve the racquets and sing with me instead, I agreed -- eager to prove there was something I could do.
Though the Performing Arts Academy staff suggested show tunes, I chose the one song to which I consistently know all the words: Brown-Eyed Girl.
James, a great singer, was too shockingly young to know the Van Morrison classic, but agreed to learn.
The instructors downloaded music and lyrics and, hesitantly at first, but then with enthusiasm and even some fleeting harmony -- we sang and sang and sang.
That alone would have satisfied my rock-star-wannabe soul but there was more to come. Our instructors offered to make us part of that night's entertainment.
I accepted -- quickly -- before they changed their minds. When opportunity pounds the door down, you yank it open.
At the end of the show that evening, James and I took the stage. As the music began, life dished up a tiny moment of glory.
I was grateful for that moment -- and even more grateful for James who belted out Brown Eyed Girl deftly drowning out any flat notes I hit.
I was also grateful for the talented instructors from the Academy and for the wise management at the resort who understand that guests bring their dreams on holiday, along with their bathing suits.
Mostly, I was thankful to the rowdy gang of Brits who'd been drinking in the bar since sunset and who were so completely bombed that they cheered like mad.
All I can say now is, Adele had better watch out.
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