Ric & Chamaigne Sharette: Hearts Attuned to Love
Ric and Chamaigne both grew up in families where performing music was a regular part of day-to-day life. While Chamaigne’s mother studied opera and Music Education at the University of Utah, the family had access to all sorts of instruments on which to experiment. Instrumental and vocal quartets were the pastime of choice. Chamaigne, being the youngest, was always given the lead vocal part because it was the easiest. But as a five year old, she naturally thought it was because she was the best! It may not have been true in her family, but in school she went on to win many “best vocalist” awards. Ric’s school days were peppered with “best trumpet” awards. His parents were 2 of the vocal quintet known as “Page Five” when they regularly performed on the Patty Page show.
When they got married and started a family, Ric’s mother continued her singing career as a night club singer while Ric’s father organized the family into a band. They provided the music for a Christian Reform church weekly, and went on to perform concerts and special events an average of twice a week while at home in Detroit and once or twice per day while touring the U.S., Canada, and Europe. During this time they opened for acts like “The Osmonds” and “Captain and Tennille”. Ric and his brother paid their way through college by forming a disco band in which Ric played guitar and trumpet and was the lead singer. Ric majored in Music Theory.
Chamaigne on the other hand, decided to put off college in order to keep singing with various folk, rock, reggae and blues bands and artists, including Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company (The Janis Joplin Band). She also worked as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator and a singing belly dancer. Her spiritual music career began one fateful day in Seattle when she went out for a stroll in her new thrift store ball gown and rainbow eye lashes and was surprised to happen upon the gay pride parade. (Something she had never heard of.) Since her purple gown was as big as a float, and perhaps because her eyelashes were rainbow, she was coaxed into joining the parade. Because she carried a magic wand, she was asked many times if she was a Fairy Godmother and if she granted wishes. She thought that was a marvelous idea, so she said “yes!” That day, The Singing Fairy Godmother was born. Chamaigne threw out all her “normal” clothes, died her thigh-length hair purple, and lived as a full time Fairy Godmother for five years, blessing people’s wishes with guided visualizations, songs, and her slogan: “Wishing is not so much a matter of asking as it is of BELIEVING!”
Full time Fairy Godmothers are more well suited for big cities than small towns, so when Chamaigne moved to Fairfield/Vedic City, Iowa, the Transcendental Meditation (TM) capital of the U.S., Fairy Godmothering gave way to singing at weddings, churches, TM events, synagogues, temples and ashrams. She also discovered and fell in love with Kirtan while there. Her church home and weekly gig was a small Vedic-Unity hybrid church, where she sang every Sunday, gave a guest sermon or two, and designed music-and-spoken-word services for special occasions. Eventually she decided to go to college to study music and religion at a Methodist college, and there she was brought on as a regular soloist at the Methodist church and a local funeral home. She later went on to learn the liturgical year in music as a soloist at a large Lutheran church in Austin, while also attending and performing at a Unity church there, taking Judaism classes at a synagogue, and spending Sunday afternoons dancing like a maniac to the gospel band in the yard of Maria’s Taco Express. This was known to both locals and tourists as “Hippie Church”.
Meanwhile, Ric continued his career in church music as a Stake Music Chairman for the LDS church. He had chased a girl out to Utah but ended up marrying another, with whom he had 4 children. When his LDS faith fell apart, so did his marriage, unfortunately. To cheer himself up, he joined the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar where he met a bunch of interesting people who went to a very interesting church – the Salt Lake Center for Spiritual Living. He started a new life as the Music Director for the Salt Lake Center for Spiritual Living for 17 years. During this time he also re-married, adopted and raised two baby daughters, performed in a professional choir and started his own professional a capella vocal jazz ensemble, Sugarhouse Voices. When marriage #2 failed, Ric promised himself that he was going to stay single for a while to do some soul searching. But when he met the cute new Music Director at Oneness Center for Spiritual Living in Draper, he found himself asking, “Who am I to question Divine Timing?” The Oneness Center didn’t have Chamaigne for long. She had been divorced for 10 years, so while Ric was asking, “Who am I to question Divine Timing?”, Chamaigne was saying, “It’s about time!” One day, within weeks of meeting, without planning to, Ric started a very important conversation that went like this:
…and then they cried.
Ric and Chamaigne ran off to Vegas so fast they didn’t realize how worried some of their loved ones would be! After a year, some friends started to admit they were surprised it worked out. After almost five years, Ric and Chamaigne aren’t surprised. Life has been surprising but love has been everything they imagined and so much more. Ric and Chamaigne recently returned to the Salt Lake Center for Spiritual Living to provide music, after taking a year and a half off. They spent some of their time off working on a long awaited CD, “Holy Ground” which is very near completion. They’ve officially launched their joint music ministry as a business entity in preparation for selling CDs, songbooks, and concert tickets! They’re calling it Inspiring Harmony, which is both a description of their music and a mission statement.
Ric and Chamaigne are passionate about sharing music that serves to remind people of that sweetest and deepest sense of who they are, who they would love to become, and how love can bring harmony to our world. Ric spends his days driving a city bus for Utah Transit Authority. He uses his work as a spiritual practice, connecting with and loving every person that enters his bus. He got so many customer call-in compliments that his supervisors at work used the bus-cam to spy on him and see what all this kindness looked like. People always ask if Ric sings while he drives. There is a driver in Salt Lake with a reputation as the singing bus driver, but it’s not Ric. Ric has a reputation as the kind bus driver, just from what happens naturally after setting an intention to keep his heart attuned to Love. Chamaigne spends her days working on music. Music does take many many hours to produce. However, when they perform together, they don’t consider themselves to be primarily “playing music” but rather attuning themselves to Love. As Chamaigne puts it, “When the Spirit that moves through all things, moves through me, it SINGS its way out into the world again.”