Arlington singer Will McMillan displays on a life time in the executing arts

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Society Editor

Singer-songwriter Will McMillan
Image/Stephen C. Fisher

ARLINGTON – Singer-songwriter Will McMillan of Arlington has carried out professionally because his infancy. Now, regardless of whether onstage or on the web, he’s decided to proceed sharing new music with audiences of all ages. 

“Music has a way of touching people’s hearts,” he pointed out.


From child methods to specialist actor

Initially from Washington, D.C., McMillan also grew up in New York and Connecticut. He commenced showing up in commercials as a newborn.

Child actor Will McMillan’s headshot at age six
Youngster actor Will McMillan’s headshot at age 6

At age 3, he landed his initial talking professional function for Drake’s Ring Ding Jr. Established in a soccer stadium, his character ordered the handle from a seller. It got passed down a row and finally reached him.

“Everyone took a chunk of it prior to it bought to me,” he recounted. “I bought the vacant wrapper.”

The 10-calendar year-aged McMillan was a standby for 1972’s authentic Broadway output of “Pippin,” which required him to be onsite for all performances. He frequently watched the musical starring showbiz VIPs Ben Vereen, John Rubinstein, Jill Clayburgh and Irene Ryan.

“It obviously imprinted in my intellect what I wished to do when I grew up,” he recalled.

As a specially unforgettable gig, he cites NBC’s 1976 created-for-Television set movie “Bound for Freedom” with Fred Gwynne (“The Munsters,” “Car 54, In which Are You?”). When it is common to spot a stand-in in the vicinity of the digital camera, Gwynne stayed to deliver his dialogue with direct eye call for McMillan’s close-ups.

“It was my initially case in point of how effective the chemistry in between two generous actors can be,” McMillan shared. “I continue being permanently grateful for that lesson.”


Acquiring his voice in Better Boston 

McMillan moved to Massachusetts in 1980 to show up at Harvard College where by he sang with an a cappella team. Even though he chose to leave right before graduating, his Harvard connections led to soloing with Pops orchestras.

Even though gigging with a rock band, his voice teacher’s impact redirected him to jazz and cabaret. 

“I turned curious about what the human voice could do without having all types of electronic amplification and reverb,” he explained.

In 1995, McMillan served observed the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists. In 1996, he started doing work daytimes as celebration supervisor at Cambridge Heart for Adult Training and carried out nighttime gigs.

He hosted “Will & Company” for various several years at Harvard Square’s Blacksmith Dwelling. The Independent Reviewers of New England awarded his exertion with 2002’s Most effective Cabaret Show.

“There were a lot of genuinely good neighborhood singers and songwriters who just essential a date on a calendar,” he relayed. “The obstacle was usually acquiring new sites to conduct.”

McMillan uncovered efficiency venues spanning from Boston’s Scullers Jazz Club to Yin Par Le Garcon Chinois in Shanghai.

“It was magical to fly totally all over the world and then land in this spot with all these jazz fans,” he quipped.


Producing intergenerational audiences

Will McMillan performs onstage at Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham.   Photo/Bob Bond
Will McMillan performs onstage at Remarkable Matters Arts Middle in Framingham.
Photo/Bob Bond

Right after several promotions, McMillan worked as assistant director at Cambridge Centre for Adult Training when he received laid off in 2012. Meanwhile, a cabaret colleague had been encouraging him to train Audio Alongside one another sing-alongside lessons with children and their grownups.

“Within the shock of getting laid off and having a weekend to very clear-out 16 yrs of my function existence, the first cellular phone call I made was to her,” he stated of his colleague.

Considering that then, McMillan teaches New music Alongside one another in Arlington. Now, most lessons consider spot in-individual outdoor, with a Zoom option.

About the exact same time, he partnered with pianist Joe Reid to complete generally at retirement communities and libraries. Their just one-hour systems element songs of acclaimed songwriters this kind of as Burt Bacharach, Oscar Hammerstein and Cole Porter.

“Everyone at retirement communities is aware all these songs,” McMillan pointed out. “I appreciate when folks are moved to sign up for in and sing along.”

Will McMillan wears many hats – figuratively and literally.   Photo/Gretje Ferguson
Will McMillan wears lots of hats – figuratively and basically.
Photograph/Gretje Ferguson

Their operate timetable amplified annually right until pandemic limitations cancelled about 60 performances in 2020.

When COVID strike, McMillan dwell streamed 112 Facebook sing-alongs.

His earlier recorded tunes with pianist-producer Doug Hammer is now readily available by using Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify and other digital platforms.

McMillan extra, “Sometimes I experience like audio is completely irrelevant, like when I saw what occurred with the insurrection in Washington, D.C. And but, other times, I feel listening to a music that’s sung with tenderness is accurately what an individual needs to mend a wound. Then, I truly feel audio is really vital.”  

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