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That's Amore!

Singing telegrams are a risky business; there are many unknown variables each time I make an appearance as The Bon Bon Queen. I walk in to a completely unfamiliar situation, never sure of who will be there, how the singing telegram recipient(s) will react, or what might happen. In restaurants, I've had to sing against competing background music or work in concert with the sound of sizzling grills, restaurant chatter, and Japanese chefs wielding big knives. I've been asked to hide in elevators, bathrooms, and conference rooms to heighten the surprise. I've arrived at parties where professional musicians are employed, and improvised impromptu with the pianist. I've seen people laugh, cry, run, and hide. Then there's the time a couple of years ago, when completely exhausted from the Christmas season, I was asked to sing a birthday telegram on December 26th at a crowded restaurant during the lunch rush. The recipient was a beautiful semi-retired Italian lady named "Tina". Tina samples Boar's Head deli meats as a part-time job and she loves to cook. I wrote her song to the tune of "That’s Amore!"

Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

When you go to the store to buy meat, cheese and more
You'll see Tina
She's the cute little Mommy sampling bites of pastrami
Yes, that's Tina
The deli counter bell, it will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling
For orders of Boar's Head
All because Tina was there making sure customers, they were well fed

As I reached the end of Tina's song, I started to feel faint. The performer in me kept on going, certain that I could make it through that last big note (That-s Aaaaa-mooor-eh!) when I could then quickly find a place to sit and recover. Instead, as soon as I finished the final note, I passed out movie-pratfall-style. It was quite a sight to see, considering that I was wearing my costume and a giant pink cake hat. But, ever the entertainer, as soon as I 'came to', while lying on the restaurant floor, surrounded by a dining doctor, paramedics, and the very concerned Tina, my first words were: "Wait until you see what I do for an encore!" I did not charge Tina's husband (who ordered the telegram) for the song with it's surprise ending, and we reunited the following year at a Chocolate Festival where Tina and her husband came to buy bon bons and fondly reminisce about one of my most unforgettable performances.

Now, you can imagine my trepidation when I booked a singing telegram at an Italian restaurant smack-dab in the middle of our busy holiday rush. The occasion was a celebration of Linda's 60th birthday. To enhance the pressure, the telegram organizers (husband Larry and her two children, Jennifer who lives in London and Michael who lives in Brooklyn) told me: "Linda is traditionally embarrassed to be sung to in public. These days, she says it's no big deal and that she can handle it. In fact, she dared us to go further, and we DID!"

Thankfully, this time, my fears were unfounded. Larry did a beautiful job of organizing with Giorgio's Italian Restaurant (they were expecting me and they turned off the background music). Linda loved her telegram (see her comment in our guest book, and Michael documented the entire birthday surprise on You Tube

Here's the beauty of every singing telegram: despite all of the unknown variables, there is one constant; the recipients are always touched by the love, the thoughtfulness, and the planning that goes into the surprise. Now, that's amore!

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