Valley man is popular entertainer at the Lake, Scarselli school
Arthur Hervey is a one-man music machine with a heart for people and a flair for entertainment.
Hervey has contributed his unique talents to the nightlife of Lake Tahoe for nearly eight years, and his nightly performances at Cleo’s Lounge in Caesars have earned him the honor of entertainer of the year for the past four years – an honor, he says, that is due to his versatility.
“I have about 800 songs that I can perform upon request,” Hervey said. “The crowd changes throughout the week, so I scan the audience to figure out what sort of music I should play. One night you can have older folks, the next night, a group of college-age people.”
In his own words, he is a cross between a DJ, a singer, and a piano player.
“People who see me don’t know exactly what to call me,” Hervey said.
Formerly a minister in Milwaukee, Wisc., for seven years, he links his contrasting occupations together with his main motivation – a love for people. He enjoys the intimacy and interaction that he can have with his audience.
“It’s not a gimmick, what I do. I like getting to know people, finding out where they’re from. One of the greatest compliments to me is to see people that are vacationing for a week come and see me every night. They have so many options, but they choose me.”
Hervey’s style of entertaining keeps audiences on their toes. He often sings with a wireless microphone so he can walk through the crowd.
“I love to watch the effect that music has on people,” he said. “I love to get them involved in the songs I sing. You never know when I’m going to put the microphone up to you, or put a wig on you and make you sing.”
Another exciting aspect of the entertainment business is rubbing elbows with the competition, he says. Hervey has shared the stage or performed for The Temptations, Tom Jones and several others. His most memorable performance, however, was one in which he was joined by James Brown.
“I don’t think James Brown ever really sings with anyone, so it was a great compliment,” Hervey said. “I was floored.”
Hervey says another of his most meaningful compliments came from TV celebrity Bryant Gumble, who told him that of all performers he has seen, Hervey is by far one of the best.
“I especially love it when couples tell me that they haven’t had this much fun in 10 years,” he said. “That sort of encouragement keeps me going.”
Randee, Hervey’s wife, comes to see his show nearly every weekend.
“I haven’t bored her yet,” he says.
“He’s just a wonderful entertainer,” Randee said. “I’m amazed that he can perform for so many different age groups.”
The two met at his show a few years ago and now live in Gardnerville.
“I guess I was sort of his biggest fan,” she said. “We’ll be married three years next week.”
Hervey also performs for the school-age crowd, playing for Scarselli Elementary, where his two children, Zachary, 6, and Whitney, 11, attend.
“I play ‘N Sync and modern stuff, as well as oldies, which the kids love to sing and dance to,” Hervey says. “When I ask them how they know the words to the older stuff, they tell me that mom and dad listen to it.”
He entertains the kids, but also teaches them about the music and how to make a living performing.
His children think it’s great to have a dad who sings.
“They’re sort of popular because of Arthur’s school performances,” Randee said. “The other kids at school think it’s just the coolest thing.”
“Technology has made being a one-man show possible for me,” he said. “A sequencer on my keyboard plays all the music, pre-programmed, so I can do almost anything a band can do, but be more involved in the crowd. And I can play many different venues.”
Hervey will be performing at Scarselli Elementary School on Sept. 26. His Caesars Tahoe show runs Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call Caesars at 588-3515.