SAILING across the Caribbean in a luxury cruise liner seems like a dream gig and at barely 18 years of age Harrisson Ball turned that vision into his real summer job.
A stint on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Liberty of the Seas was an opportunity for the young jazz talent to travel to exotic locations doing what he loves most – making music.
While the James Morrison Academy student is based in Mount Gambier during the university term, the Sydney-born musician will escape the South East winter when he sets sail again in a few weeks.
“I worked over the Christmas break for three months on the Liberty,” Mr Ball said.
“We went from Galveston Texas to Roatan, Mexico, and Falmouth in Jamaica right across the Caribbean.
“I auditioned at 17 and had to wait until I turned 18 in October before I could legally work on a ship.”
He said despite a gruelling audition process, playing the trumpet as part of the cruise ship circuit was a unique experience.
“The day before the audition they sent me 14 difficult pieces and gave me 12 hours to work on them,” he explained.
“The next day I had the audition over Skype – I was in Sydney at the time – and I was counted in and I had to be able to play them all perfectly.
“It was quite stressful but luckily I passed – I was among 10 or 11 people who auditioned for the spot.”
Describing his first stint on the Liberty of the Seas as “work experience on steroids”, Mr Ball said he was delighted to have a second opportunity to combine work and travel.
“It is quite a unique experience to play on a ship because it’s not really a big band, it’s two trumpets, one trombone, one saxophone and a rhythm section,” he said.
“In a few weeks I will travel from Athens, Greece, on the Jewel of the Seas.
“This ship has longer docking times so I’m hoping to check out some of the sights and some of the bands playing at a few of the destinations.”
Mr Ball said his network of friends had expanded significantly since his experience on the Liberty.
“I made a lot of friends who I am still in touch with and they are working across a lot of different ships,” he said.
“I have contacts everywhere now, both musical and non-musical, which is great.
“There is maybe one person working in lighting who I will know on this ship, but I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends again.”