Carl Bartlett: Making music and the community a better place

Hannington Dia Special to the AmNews | 5/30/2012, 6:29 p.m.

Helping people relax and enjoy a cruise while listening to oldies isn't all Celebration at Sea has to offer patrons though. They are also working to help folks from the Black community with their spiritual, mental and physical well-being with a series of seminars on board.

"The seminar facilitators that come on board present issues damaging to African-Americans," said Carl Bartlett. "They are health issues, things that we need to pay attention to or...for those younger folks, how to present themselves for job employment or what's out there with the economy being what it is today.

"Even some people who run into trouble with mortgages and refinancing, we have seminars that touch those certain issues. We say we uniquely mix a little business with a lot of pleasure."

And let it be known that BEN's community service extends beyond experts giving advice on fancy boat rides. Those in need of more services can head to the company's headquarters in Jamaica.

"As far as the office is concerned, we've been on Linden Boulevard since 1996. We have seniors who use our computers and who we give computer lessons to, and they come in and we have to remind them that we're trying to run a business here, because they didn't wanna come in," Bartlett explained with a slight chuckle. "This is something that we do for our seniors in the community...using our computers and becoming familiar with just basic functions."

With a background in music and as an elementary school teacher on leave, Bartlett also spreads his acoustic knowledge to aspiring young jam students. "We give musical lessons to students because my son, my brother and I are all educators. We give them scholarship direction too because my son went through the scholarship process, so we're familiar with the various scholarships that are out there. We're just like a community-based organization. There's more to what we do than just the travel component."

For those of you who just want a good time though, you can catch Bartlett Contemporaries Remix live at the (Re) Live the Magic Reunion and Networking Party at the St Albans FL Center on Friday, June 8 at 8 p.m. To Bartlett, it's more than just a jam session.

"For those folks who haven't experienced our crew and want to get an idea of what we do and how we do it, the Relive the Magic function is a perfect opportunity for them to meet, interact and network with our group and our constituency and experience the styles of Bartlett Contemporaries Remix and the Bartlett Jazz Ensemble."

Having origins as a cover band, the Contemporaries don't have any albums out, but longtime fans may be in luck, if next year's plans come to fruition.

"That would be a significant milestone for us. We plan to have a big function at a college or auditorium for a big show, and that would be the launching of our first release. We'd like to have a CD release party for Bartlett Contemporaries next year."

For more information about Celebration at Sea's upcoming summer cruise, visit www.celebrationatsea.com/party2.html or email celebrationatsea@aol.com for further information about other cruises.