Being on numerous top-10 and -20 lists all over the world for everything from pristine beaches to best island vacation, it should be no surprise that Hilton Head attracts the best transplants from across the nation when it comes to talent.
Fortunately for local art and music lovers, many performers catch the top-10 bug and don’t leave the Lowcountry.
One such restless soul traveled all the way from St. Paul, Minn., in 1987 — a sort of reverse pioneer one could say — and established herself in her own nightclub, Casablanca — where Jump & Phil’s is currently located — just outside the main Sea Pines gate. Cheryl Christine, a willowy, blonde singer/pianist/songwriter, ran the show there until 1991, when she moved to Heritage Plaza and opened Cheryl’s Le Cabaret Piano Bar to island raves for another 10 years.
She made an immediate impression on the island, a unique blend of Princess Diana charm and beauty with an approachable personality and smile. It was a winning combination when you factored in her keyboard skills, silky voice and ability to make everyone feel at home in her company.
Cheryl and I go back to ... actually, neither of us really remembers just how far we go back. We just seem to have always known each other. (You may notice this sort of memory deficiency is often the case locally with career bartenders, waiters and musicians. Nobody really remembers where or when they first met, and frankly, most of us prefer to remain in the dark about it, thank you very much.)
What was always so enjoyable about Cheryl’s act was the spontaneous nature of her performances. She was always versatile with her repertoire. Jazz, show tunes, pop, rock — all requests were honored. She was happy to sing duets with customers — no matter how off-key or soused the patron seemed — or invite people to dance. Occasionally a fellow musician would join her on his or her own instrument. Cheryl’s club had a very inclusive dynamic, one that she brings to her performances nowadays at several local venues, country clubs and private parties.
How does she feel about the different atmospheres?
“I love them all, but for different reasons,” she said. “I like the interactive nature of a lounge, and I also like playing dance music at a country club event. They are all special in their own way.”
Since closing Le Cabaret, Cheryl has been busy performing here and all over Bluffton. You can find out her schedule by visiting www.cherylchristine.com.
An accomplished pianist, she sometimes plays with a saxophonist or a quartet, depending on the venue.
She has also turned her energies toward creating and writing her own CD’s, projects close to her heart for which she did not have time when she ran her own clubs.
A true pet lover, Cheryl has also definitely tapped into a local market.
Focusing her energies on her own music, she has had success selling CD’s under her own label, Mood Music for Cats and Cat Lovers, with partners Mark and Lise Husbands of the band The Headliners. Prior works include “Ball of Twine” and “Gone for a Walk” for dog-lovers. (No kidding, my Sammy loves this whenever we have to leave him alone.)
The newest one is “Forever a Kitten.”
Portions of the proceeds from her sales go to the ASPCA and the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation-Fisher Center, two charities dear to her heart.
And she’s not done, fans.
Stay tuned for Cheryl’s next project: a nature video with meditation music.