Expectations at gigs:
TIME OF ARRIVAL AT GIGS: You must be on-time to gigs, which means being out of your car and at the assigned meeting point in costume by the Call Time indicated in your Gig Details email. If you anticipate arriving after the call time, as soon as you realize you will be late, you are expected contact the Lead on your gig and let them know. If you think you will miss the downbeat, call me and let me know. If you miss the downbeat without calling anyone to let them know, I will probably assign your remaining gigs to other carolers.
CLIENTS HEAR WITH THEIR EYES: Please wear your costume as I have asked you to wear it. Sopranos and Altos, please wear light make-up including lipstick, and tenors and basses need to have well-groomed facial hair (or none at all). Beards and sideburns and crazy period mustaches are ok for tenors and basses, though not for sopranos and altos. Please remove anachronistic jewelry or accessories such as sunglasses, modern watches, and face piercings. I'm ok with people wearing period earrings, but please also cover up visible tattoos or hair colors that do not naturally occur in hair.
You must dress for the voice part you are singing, regardless of your real-life gender identity. This means sopranos and altos must wear traditionally feminine costumes (long full skirt, blouse, wrap and small hat or bonnet), and tenors and basses need to wear traditionally male costumes (Suit, top hat, ascot, vest). I would strongly suggest that you demonstrate musical proficiency singing your chosen voice part before you purchase any costume pieces, if you choose to do that.
LEADS: If I'm not on a gig, I will generally ask another experienced caroler on the gig to be Lead. The Lead is responsible for checking in with a client or contact person, sometimes giving pitches, and sometimes starting tunes (depending on the people in the quartet). Leads will also be asked to complete a quick online form within 48 hours after the gig so I know how it went. Leads will receive at least an extra $5-20 per gig, depending mostly on how long the gig is; the amount will be indicated in the Gig Offer email. If you feel I ask you to Lead too much or you would like to Lead more, please talk to me about it and I will do my best to accommodate.
GRATUITIES (TIPS): Sometimes people will want to tip you. You may or may not be able to accept tips depending on the preference of the client; the default assumption is that you CAN unless I tell you otherwise. Please do not solicit tips, though. If you do receive tips, they should be equally shared amongst all members of the quartet on that gig (I don't expect a cut unless I'm on the gig). Clients cannot tip you via credit card, so if they ask you, be sure to tell them that. I will tell them as well.
FEEDBACK: I genuinely want feedback from you about how gigs went, the good and the bad. This is required within 48 hours for people who are leads on gigs, but optional for anyone on a gig who was not a lead. I want you to enjoy every gig and I want to know what you did or didn't like about gigs!
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Do not drink alcohol while or before you are singing on a gig, even if the client says it is okay. If you would like to drink alcohol after the gig you may do so. You may eat food if the client offers it to you (before, on break, or after your gig) but I would advise that you don’t expect a client to feed you and to act pleasantly surprised if they offer.
TAX IMPLICATIONS: You will be paid as an independent contractor, which means you are responsible for paying any applicable taxes. You are not an employee and I am not an employer. If you earn more than $600 from me (or whatever the government decides the cut-off amount should be, currently $600) I will be sending you a Form 1099-NEC in January. If you do not have the legal right to work in the United States, unfortunately you are not able to carol for me. It also means that I need to collect your social security number or TIN and proof of identity; I generally do this after you have been musically and costume approved but before you have done any gigs.
Less-Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How Can I Get A Lot of Gigs?
A: First, know your music well. Second, have a beautiful and appropriate costume. Thirdly, update the Gig Sheet frequently. The people who get the most gigs are the ones who say YES to the most gigs on the Gig Sheet. If you are willing to do the gigs other people are less happy to take, I will often offer you the choice gigs as well.
Q: How, Specifically, Are Gigs Offered?
A: I use a Google Docs spreadsheet called the Gig Sheet (click here to view a sample Gig Sheet) to list the times, dates, location, and pay for gigs I have booked or which are pending booking (The box at the very top indicates if the gig is confirmed with the client). Every caroler in the company has a row in which they can indicate their availability and interest for every gig listed. I may ask you some general availability questions in advance, but it is really hard for me to keep track of 100+ peoples’ schedules, so I’d rather put all the gigs in a place where you can decide what you are available for. I suggest you bookmark the Gig Sheet and update it frequently. During the season (October through December) I update it live as clients book or decline to book, so it can change radically in just 48 hours. Gig Offers will ALWAYS be sent via email, and need to be accepted or declined by you via email.
My number one frustration every year is singers not updating the Gig Sheet, so I can’t tell a client if I have a quartet available, and then they book other carolers. By default, I will send you an email every time a gig is added to the gig sheet; you can opt out of this email if you wish.
Q: When do I get the address and other specifics for the gigs I’m booked on?
A: That information will be in the Gig Details email, which is an email I send out 2 to 5 days before each gig with pertinent details like address, contact person, other singers on the gig and their contact info, special requests, and any other gig-specific information. Please read the emails carefully as soon as you get them and ask any clarification questions in advance. If you have any need for any of that information ahead of time, please ask, and I will do my best to accommodate (it's not usually a problem).
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