Story of a… Christmas Caroler

Andrea Tyler loves the holidays, so when she sings, she likes to let it show, let it show, let it show.

Andrea Tyler

Roberto Gonzalez

She found her voice in church. “I came from a line of family that was ministers and evangelists,” says the lifelong Central Florida resident. “I got my start singing in church during Sunday morning worship. Music runs in my family, and it’s always been a part of who I am.”

The most wonderful time of year. “Christmas is my favorite,” she says. Apart from the spiritual aspect, it’s about “spending time with my family. I love my family more than anything.”

A quick study. In 2002, Tyler’s friend encouraged her to audition for Caroling Co. of Orlando. She aced the audition and was asked to learn three sets of songs. “But I’m an overachiever, so I learned all five sets [about 80 songs].” Then she did one better by being able to sing soprano as well as alto.

She takes requests—within reason. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, we know the song, but I always tell them, ‘We’ll take requests, but if it’s a song I don’t know, you have to sing it.’ ”

Fa la la la blah. Her most dreaded request: “Jingle Bell Rock.” “Every single time someone calls for it, I’m like, ‘Please, no! Not that song!’ ” she laughs.

Christmas belle. Singers are responsible for creating their own costumes, so Tyler had a friend make a gown for her. She loved it—until she was upstaged by a soprano. “I looked at her dress and thought, ‘I hate my dress.’ So I went on eBay. I was just looking for ideas on beautiful dresses, and up pops this beautiful maroon brocade gown. And it was in my size. The soprano might have the solo, but when we’re walking down the street, they’re looking at me.”

’Tis the season to stay healthy. Between multiple caroling bookings, leading worship at her church, and her own gigs, Tyler is proactive about her health. “I drink tons of water and do vocal rest when I can. I stock up on Vitamin C and do a sinus rinse to keep everything clear.”

Striking an emotional chord. Sometimes during a song, “there will be someone in the audience, and you see the tears starting to flow. I always go over and talk to them because I feel like when tears flow, something is going on—healing, maybe they need encouragement or a hug.” Often she learns the tears are in response to the memory of a lost loved one.

Best gig ever. You’ll find carolers at “malls, corporate events, office luncheons, Christmas parties and theme parks. The coolest booking was when I was offered the opportunity to fly to New Orleans for a conference on a steamboat cruise. Four of us sang two 20-minute sets before dinner. The rest of the time we were guests cruising.”

Her belated gift to herself. Once the New Year passes, “I’m going to go somewhere and unplug, rent a cabin, find a beach house, and get away. Try to refresh.”

She has an alter ego. When she’s not dressed in Victorian garb, Tyler performs songs by Adele. “My Adele tribute show now travels worldwide.”

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