You’ve likely seen them around The Reef, maybe singing at a Club restaurant or even at the Cultural Center. The Ocean Reef Oceanaires were started in 2011 by Sherley Newell.
The Oceanaires is a small group of talented Members capable of four-part harmony (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), who gather to sing and perform songs from every era.
When the group began, they were under the musical direction of Manny Schvartzman – courtesy of Debra Ginsberg who employed him for her musical shows. Their initial goal was to sing for small events or parties, and occasionally with other Ocean Reef musical talent at the Cultural Center.
Now, they are under the direction of Anglers Club’s Annie Lebeaux, and working on a larger program named “Chorus Lines.” This program includes additional men and women who will together perform for the Cultural Center next season. They currently rehearse every Thursday at the Racquet Club, and will also rehearse on Mondays to prepare for next season’s performances.
The Oceanaires have unique ways of getting their talents seen around The Reef. This past April Fool’s Day, diners at the Raw Bar, Burgee Bar and Gianni Ristorante had the pleasure of witnessing one of the Oceanaires “flash mobs.” For the past three years, the group picks a few Ocean Reef restaurants to do their April Fool’s flash mob tradition.
“We do our dress rehearsal at Wynn’s and then go to the restaurants to sing a follies number with a karaoke speaker behind us,” says Sherley. “This is such fun for us and we hope the diners enjoy it too!”
Part of this year’s lyrics went:
“You’re just too good to be true,
Can’t take our eyes off of you.
Would you like seafood tonight,
or maybe just a lil bite?
At long last drinks have arrived,
and we thank God you’re alive.
You’re just too good to be true,
We know you’re no April Fool.”
Though their April Fool’s tradition is silly and fun, they take their art very seriously and whether with laughs or tears, it moves you. The Oceanaires were invited to sing for the ForgetMeNots at their “Celebri-Tea” this past week, honoring ForgetMeNots founder John Altieri. They sang several songs and as the finale, dedicated a beautiful performance of “You Raise Me Up” to Altieri. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight!
Look out for performances by the Oceanaires and “Chorus Lines” next season at the Cultural Center.