Get Picked To Sing At Gregg Russell (And Other Concert Tips)

There are two very specific groups of people in this world today. One group just read the title of this post and thought to themselves “what in the world is this girl talking about?” And the other group is celebrating with excitement at the opportunity to make their children’s dreams come true. Clearly, the divide is HUGE…so let me bridge the gap.

First, to those with the obvious question, who is Gregg Russell?

My short answer is easy-he’s the greatest entertainer in the world. A more detailed explanation includes that he’s a man who sings under a tree every night on Hilton Head Island. While this might sound very amateur, it’s anything but! Gregg Russell performs in Harbour Town to a nightly audience of hundreds. Oh, and did I mention he’s been doing it for 40+ years?

Gregg Russell sings and entertains with some corny jokes and witty banter with the audience. His humor is appropriate, but enjoyed by all ages. However, the thing that makes the show unique is the children. Every night children sit on stage hoping to be one of the handful picked to sing. If selected, the child makes their way to the microphone and engages in a little conversation prior to singing.

You know the expression “kids say the darnedest things?” Well, somehow Gregg Russell manages to ask just the right questions to prompt hilarious conversation. Of course the audience goes crazy, and then the child finishes their few minutes of fame with a song. It’s cute. It’s funny. And it’s almost every child’s dream to be selected.

So now on to the important stuff- how to get picked to sing.

I should start by mentioning that I’ve got absolutely no affiliation to him or any of his people. I’m just a big fan with a lot of experience. My husband and I both sat on stage as kids (separately, of course!) and now our kids sit up there. Seeing Gregg Russell is always the highlight of our beach trip- and honestly, one of the top activities of the year.

Every year we remind our kids that not every kid gets a chance to sing. In fact, the odds are good that you won’t get picked. But guess what? One or both of my kids have gotten picked EVERY time we’ve gone.

The first couple times I chalked it up to my kids being super cute. But, that theory doesn’t really hold up because there are A LOT of super cute kids that attend the concert. The last couple times we’ve gone, I’ve tried to be very observant and look for a pattern. About 70-80% of the time there really is a science behind the children selected to sing. That being said, there’s always the totally random child that gets picked who doesn’t follow any of the norms. All of the things mentioned below could be a huge coincidence- but I’ve observed them multiple times so I do think there’s something to it!

These kiddos have figured out the secret to getting picked!

So, with that, here are some tips that will make your child more likely to get picked to sing:

  • Arrive Early: I’ve noticed that most children selected have parents sitting in one of the first few rows. I’m not 100% sure how this works, but I will say that I’ve never seen a child picked that wanders up half way through the show.
  • Make a Catchy Sign: Many of the kids bring signs for Gregg Russell. Near the beginning of the show he goes around and reads all of them. A lot of the signs are scribbled on the back of children’s menus and read something like “Please pick me. I really want to sing.” Of course those are cute, but they don’t stand out. Most of the children picked have a special tidbit of information on their sign or a thoughtful drawing. The ones that show more effort tend to get remembered and therefore picked later in the show.

    Even before she could write/spell, my daughter helped think up some super sweet signs!

  • Have a Song Ready: Along with a catchy sign, often times writing the song you plan to sing on the sign helps you get selected. Obviously dead air is never good at any concert. Although it’s completely unpredictable, Gregg Russell doesn’t want to pick children who will arrive at the microphone unprepared. Putting your song on the sign- especially if it’s unique- will increase your child’s odds of getting picked.

    Picking an appropriate song for the 4th of July weekend definitely helped my kids get picked! The whole audience sang along too.

  • Good Behavior: This is really no secret because Gregg Russell addresses this himself at every concert. The children picked to sing are the ones sitting on stage engaged in the concert. They aren’t rude and disruptive. They don’t walk on and off the stage every 5 minutes.
  • Raise Your Hand: Okay, it should be a no-brainer, if you want to sing- raise your hand. But I’ve seen this be a problem, even with my own daughter. Some kids are just slower to raise their hand than others. However, Gregg Russell typically picks kids with enthusiastic hand raising skills. (Not obnoxious jump up and down…just a typical quick to the draw hand raise!) He’s looking for kids that won’t hesitate when they get up to the microphone.

Again, none of these tips are guarantees. However, these are VERY typical patterns for the selection process.

So many hopeful singers every night!

Here are a few more things to keep in mind if you plan to attend a concert:

  • If you want a seat, you’ll need to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the show starting. If you want a good seat, show up about 45 minutes to an hour early.
  • Gregg Russell will not perform if it’s storming. Rain is a case by case call. Technically his contract states that if it’s raining after 7PM, the show can be cancelled. However, if the radar looks like it will clear, he usually plays- even if it rains right up until show time. Bring a towel to wipe your seats if it’s been raining.
  • On busy nights in Harbour Town, it can be hard to find a bathroom without a line. Make every attempt to have your child go before arriving.
  • Plan to purchase Gregg Russell items. The book is fantastic. And my children treasure their cd’s and DVDs. After every concert he stays to sign autographs and take pictures.

    So special to have a personally autographed copy of his book!

  • Also worth noting, he offers a “Bubble Gum” Dolphin cruise separate from the concerts. We’ve done it in the past and it truly is a special adventure. I highly recommend putting that on your agenda while you’re in Hilton Head.

3 of our favorite things: Gregg Russell, boats and dolphins!

For more information about concert times and Gregg Russell, visit his website here.

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