In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The Bar & Grill Singers, all of whom are practicing attorneys in Austin, Texas, have entertained lawyers and non-lawyers since their 1991 debut in a one-performance musical revue. Now appearing year-round across the nation, the Singers spoof themselves and their profession with clever lyrics set to a variety of musical styles. They needle everything and everyone around the law, including clients, billing practices, legal ethics, bored jurors, and - gulp - federal judges. Over the past 18 years, the Singers have benefitted volunteer legal services for the indigent, and have raised over $300,000 from their performances and CD sales. The Singers have released three CDs, "Licensed to Grill," "Grilling Me Softly" and "A Time to Grill," which are available for purchase at their performances, from this website, and from
Robert joined the group in early 1998, and was brought in especially for his lilting tenor voice and his ability to organize a great party. His singing and stage credits include summer musicals in Austin, the Austin Choral Union, and the Austin Saengerrunde (a troupe of singing Germans). Whenever there is a really high note to be sung, Robert, or one of the women in the group, is usually there to hit it.
Robert is one of the two most polite members of the Bar & Grill Singers, and always is quick to say "please" and "thank you." He kindly offers his house for the occasional midweek rehearsals. He apologizes profusely on behalf of the entire group whenever the Singers manage to offend an audience member. And Robert's wife, Katy Agnor, once managed the Bar & Grill Singers website out of sheer kindness. On that note, please visit www.hornfans.com. Thank you.
Robert practices law while he is not attending University of Texas Longhorn sporting events (or the tailgates that precede and follow those events).
Bill Black - Guitar, Bass and Baritone
Bill BlackBill (a.k.a. "Earl's Boy) is the group's guitarist and bass player, and manages to carry a tune pretty darn well most days. He has played and sung in bands going all the way back to his high school days with "The Clique." His college band, "Dogfood," recently has reunited under the name "The Volume Dealers." Always quick to figure out a chord progression of any song that someone hums or pulls out of mid-air, Bill constantly amazes his fellow Bar & Grill Singers with his playing abilities. However, he refuses to play "Stairway."
As the second of the two most polite members of the Bar & Grill Singers, Bill usually volunteers to carry all the heavy equipment. In fact, Bill became a Bar & Grill Singer quite by accident, when he kept politely agreeing to show up at performances to play guitar for the Singers, until finally someone decided to "lock him in" by making him a full member of the group. Since then, his handsome smile and gentlemanly manner have gained him favor with the over-60 ladies in the audience, one of whom actually asked to have Bill "wrapped up and given to me for Christmas."
Bill is an attorney at the Texas Railroad Commission, which has nothing to do with trains. He practices primarily oil and gas law (but dabbles in other areas just to keep himself amused).
Katie Carmona - Soprano, Alto and Occasional Tenor
Katie joined the Bar & Grill Singers in 1995, and her hair has never been the same since. She is always looking for an excuse to be on stage, and her chameleon-like adaptability is evident in her multiple roles as Joan of Arc and as a "Breck Girl" for shampoo commercials.
After studying voice, piano and violin through high school, Katie concluded that a musical career was too risky, and opted instead to become a "lawyer." In college, at the University of South Carolina, she learned to sing and move her arms at the same time, mostly during patriotic, late-80s tunes like "I'm Proud to Be an American." Realizing that her future lay with singing lawyers in Texas, she transferred to Rice University, where she performed with the Shepherd Singers.
Katie moved one step closer to her dream of becoming a singing lawyer when she enrolled at the University of Texas School of Law, the "training ground" for a number of her fellow Bar & Grill Singers. She stopped attending class to sing with the Medley in the annual UT Law School Assault & Flattery production, serving as Medley Coordinator her third year.
Upon graduating from law school, Katie passed the Bar & Grill Singers entrance exam on her first try, which moved her to exclaim, "Gee...I hardly even studied!" After passing that "other" test, known as a "bar exam," Katie delayed real life by clerking for several federal judges. Later, once she started working with a law firm in a "real" job, she discovered that clerking was much more fun. Katie quickly returned to life as a public servant, working now as a staff attorney for United States District Judge Lee Yeakel. Katie is a prime example of your federal tax dollars working for you.
Paul Carmona - Co-Founder, Manager, Baritone, Guitar
Paul started singing Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel tunes when he was 3 years old. He mangled the words to some of the songs so badly that his parents laughed out loud. From that day on, Paul has made it a practice to rewrite words to popular songs in an effort to amuse people, which culminated in him co-founding the Bar & Grill Singers in 1992.
As one of the Singers, Paul has sung anything from deep bass parts to high tenor parts that really are out of his range. He even sang a woman's part in the Singers' parody of "Mr. Sandman" ("Mr. Foreman"), and his throat still hurts from that effort. When needed, Paul can even play guitar, although his ability there is somewhat limited. Mostly, Paul excels at setting travel and logistical details for the Singers' gigs.
Paul sang for four years at Princeton University, where he studied rowing and social-event-organizing. At the University of Texas School of Law, he studied play-acting and majored in Assault & Flattery, the law school's annual musical satire and parody show. In earlier years, Paul performed in musicals, plays, and in telling complicated stories to keep his parents from worrying too much. Ever the showman, he also worked as a big, furry, green character from Sesame Street, as a comedian-juggler at Six Flags Over Texas, and as a truck driver.
After years of practicing law in his own firm, handling anything from complex insurance coverage litigation to sore neck cases, Paul went to work for the Attorney General of the State of Texas, where he is Chief of the Consumer Protection and Public Health Division. He has been known to show up for work in his custom-tailored Elvis costume, complete with hair, sunglasses and cape.
Annette Chaires - Soprano and Alto
Annette is one of only four remaining original Bar & Grill Singers. The other three, Claude, Alan and Paul, actually performed in shows with Annette going all the way back to 1987 and before, when Annette sang with the Madrigal Singers, the Varsity Singers, and in musicals and other shows at the University of Texas. She just can't seem to shake those guys.
After graduating from the University of Texas, Annette attended the University of Texas School of Law, where she focused on "How to Become a Singing Lawyer" by performing in the law school's annual "Assault & Flattery" productions. Upon completing her law school education, Annette could not change her phone number enough times to avoid being asked to "complete the circle" by becoming a singing lawyer. She finally agreed to take a vow of parody by joining the Bar & Grill Show and the Bar & Grill Singers. Upon accepting, Annette doomed herself to a life of unending taunting and harassment by those who do not (a) sing and (b) practice law.
Speaking of taunting and harassment, Annette practices criminal defense law, which has come in handy on some of the Singers' road gigs when post-performance celebrations have gotten a little too rowdy for the local law enforcement.
Jenna Donatiello - Soprano
Jenna grew up in Norman, Oklahoma (home of the University of Oklahoma "Boomer Sooners"). She attended Norman High School. At a very young age, she appeared in several musicals with the University of Oklahoma School of Music. Putting all of that together, who'd guess that she would star in the musical "Oklahoma" in high school. Go figure.
Turning her back on all things Oklahoman, Jenna crossed the Red River to attend the University of Texas, where she sang with the Longhorn Singers as an undergraduate. She then worked her way closer to her roots in Oklahoma by heading up to Dallas (halfway between Norman and Austin) to attend law school at Southern Methodist University.
Upon graduating from law school, Jenna practiced law briefly in Dallas, where she got her first taste of musical legal parody with the Dallas Bar Association's "Bar None" shows in 1997 and 1998. The Oklahoman in her found an outlet in her singing with "White April Belle" a country & western band in Dallas. Realizing that Austin - the Live Music Capital of the World - was the Mecca for singing lawyer troupes, Jenna moved back to Austin and somehow managed to find the Bar & Grill Singers.
Jenna practices entertainment law. Aside from performing with The Bar & Grill Singers, Jenna says there's actually very little that is "entertaining" about the law.
David DuBose - Bass-Baritone
David is the true artist of the group. Not satisfied with "acting" like a lawyer, or a singer, or both, David finds time to perform true dramatic roles in "real" theater shows around Austin. And by "real" theater, that includes Shakespeare. In fact, David grew up in theater, and has the scars to prove it.
David's career as a singing lawyer has its roots in the University of Texas School of Law, where he appeared in "Assault & Flattery" shows along with co-Bar & Grill Singers Annette Chaires and Paul Carmona. After a brief absence from the Austin scene, David rejoined his former law school mates when he joined the Bar & Grill Singers in 1996. Since then, David, with his fine bass/baritone voice, has firmly ensconced himself as the "low part" in the tight harmony all-male numbers, and as the group's "show architect," preparing finely detailed charts of who stands where, which microphones go on or off stage, and so on. For this effort, David draws upon his experience as a former drum major for the University of Texas Marching Band, and his talents are evident when the Singers' performances come off with wonderful lock-step efficiency.
When he is not being an actor or a singer, or a singing actor, or someone who acts like he can sing, David is a staff attorney for the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, where he acts like a lawyer most days.
Claude Ducloux - Co-Founder, Tenor, Baritone, Emcee, Piano, Maestro
Claude co-founded the Bar & Grill Singers with Paul in 1992. The son of two GIANTS of the music world (opera diva Gina Ducloux and opera maestro Walter Ducloux, founder of the Austin Lyric Opera), Claude has "genes" to thank for his musical talents.
Claude's entertainment career began in his youth, rose to prominence as an accomplished pianist at venues such as Shakey's Pizza and The Old San Francisco Steakhouse, and culminated with his deep commitment to the Bar & Grill Singers. He is truly the group's most versatile member, as a writer, singer, pianist, and cheerleader. The "roots" of the Bar & Grill Singers are found in Claude's early work around Austin as The #1 Singing Lawyer Satirist and Funny Man. Having entertained at various bar association events over the decades, Claude gained fame for his ability to rewrite lyrics to popular tunes with his own stinging verses that poked fun at lawyers, judges, and the legal system in general. When Claude and co-founder Paul Carmona joined forces in 1991, the resulting trauma to the legal world was inevitable.
Claude is perhaps best known for his sheer lack of inhibition when performing onstage. He has appeared in drag and in various states of partial undress in numerous performances, all the while dazzling audiences with his vaudevillian style of spectacular showmanship. Meanwhile, during the workdays, Claude entertains clients and lawyers by practicing general civil litigation and mediation. His success as a mediator is attributed to his ability to "make 'em laugh" while they open their wallets.
Barry Green - Bass
Barry is the one with the subsonic deep voice. The last Bar & Grill Singers performance in the San Francisco area produced tremors along the numerous fault lines there.
Barry sang in the University of Houston Law School Follies and in various nightclub acts prior to his tenure with the Bar & Grill Singers. He joined the Singers in 1993, and since then his unique vocal talents have caused more than one audience member to ask, "Wow, where'd you find him?"
Barry has practiced law in all sorts of areas, and now spends his days as a general practitioner. When he's not busy being a lawyer, Barry goes around impressing strangers with his deep vocal tones, which explains his nickname as "Barry White" Green.
Laura LaValle - Piano, Alto
Laura plays the piano. She sings. She dances. She earned the nickname "Cha Cha" on a Bar & Grill Singers trip to the Texas-Mexico border. She is quite a talent. It is not widely known that this demure young woman was once a Captain in the United States Air Force. She not only can play the piano masterfully with her dainty little fingers, she can also incapacitate a man with her bare hands.
Laura studied piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, played piano at Duke University, and accompanied musical performances at the University of Florida College of Law. She joined the Bar & Grill Singers in 1995. Actually, Laura's talents away from the piano were overlooked for quite a while due to her spectacular abilities on the keyboard. For the first several years, she toiled away as the group's accompanist while the other Singers enjoyed the applause and cheers of the crowd. Finally, when the Singers needed another woman's voice for a part, Laura volunteered. Things changed a lot that day.
Aside from her musical and military talents, Laura is an accomplished lawyer, practicing environmental law at a firm in Austin that is completely unaware of her hidden talents. She doesn't know it yet, but her future is not with law, piano or singing. It is with dancing.
Amy Mitchell - Soprano
Ever since descending from her birthplace near good ol' Rocky Top, Amy has been multitasking. In her younger days, she was a clogger and a state champion speller. As an undergrad, she focused on Spanish, French, and economics in preparation for---duh---massage school and law school. She studied in exotic locales like Spain, England, Austin, and Waco, and worked at the Financial Times UK and the Texas Music Office. Along the way, she sang in the Ransom Notes, the acoustic duo Amy & Christina (she played Amy), and Assault & Flattery's Medley, which she directed.
Since getting her licenses to rub people the right way and the wrong way, Amy has worked with school boards, election officials and foreign language technologists (huh?). She joined the music law boutique Christian L. Castle, Attorneys in 2007 to focus on music industry talent representation, online retailers, digital distribution, and content licensing issues. When she is not practicing law, she sings with the Grammy-nominated group Conspirare and performs as a vocalist and keyboardist in the rock band Framing Strangers as well as many other indie rock recording projects. Her optometrist summed up her activities by dubbing her "the rockin' lawyer with the soft touch" (trademark pending).
We would be remiss not to mention her love of tomatoes, junior mints, and her lightning blue Mini Cooper.
Deborah Robertson - Alto
Deborah is yet another product of the University of Texas Law School "singing lawyer" mill. Although she has studied piano and voice, and has been performing one or the other since age 12, her true talent lies in her chameleon-like ability to sing soprano, alto, tenor, soprano and then alto again all on the same song. If she were a baseball player, she'd be a true utility infielder AND a switch hitter.
Deborah joined the Bar & Grill Singers in 1993. Since then, she has supplemented her "lawyer singing" with membership in "River City Pops," an ensemble of "real" singers in Austin. She also sings with her church choir, in the car, and occasionally in her sleep. Indeed, singing is her passion. Her passionate commitment to the Bar & Grill Singers is evidenced by the fact that in 15+ years of performing, Deborah has missed very few of the Singers' performances. In keeping with the baseball analogy, Deborah is almost "batting a thousand," and should win the "Cal Ripkin, Jr. Perfect Attendance Award."
Alan Waldrop - Music Director, Tenor
Alan, like so many other Bar & Grill Singers, is one more product of the University of Texas School of Law and its annual "Assault & Flattery" productions. He also sang in the early-80s with co-Bar & Grill Singer Annette Chaires in the Varsity Singers as an undergraduate at UT.
Alan is the group's original tenor, and is the most "precise" member of the group. In performances and on the CDs, he impresses listeners with his ability to hit very high notes without any noticeable effort, and with remarkably precise consistency. Alan is also the group's rehearsal director, and runs the Singers through rigorous vocal drills during weekly rehearsals and before performances. Alan also arranges quite a bit of the Singers' music, drawing upon his years of experience as a musician, singer, and lover of pin-point precision.
In keeping with his dislike for "fuzziness," Alan is an appellate judge, where he spends his days correcting other lawyers' mistakes.
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Bill Me Anytime
Review: "Warning: all of the sounds on this recording were produced by lawyers," the liner notes on this CD caution us. But we all have a favorite lawyer with a birthday, or will buy the hilarious, all-too-true "A Time to Grill" for ourselves! These dozen mixed-voice Austin lawyers, who have previously graced us with "Licensed to Grill" and "Grilling Me Softly," bring us more hilarious, law-related lyrics to pop hits (primarily written by group members Paul Carmona, Alan Waldrop and David DuBose). "Appointed Forever" (to the tune of "Happy Together") and "The Longest Time" also appeared on "Licensed," all the others are new material. "It's In His Briefs" (It's In His Kiss), "Man of Constant Workload" (Sorrow), the "Gospel" classic, "Mighty Law Firm In The Sky," "Bill Me Anytime" (Sugar In The Morning), the heartbreaking "Defending P.I. (Personal Injury)," (Bye, Bye, American Pie); "Jet Plane," "Maybe Tomorrow" (Lady Madonna), "Judicial Retirees" (Drifting Along with the Tumblng Tumbleweeds),"Ethics Trouble" (Trouble, Right Here in River City), and finishing, incongruously, with a nicely-done "Star Spangled Banner." Mostly lightly accompanied, by the group. This is, once again, spot-on, brilliant, funny stuff that you, and your lawyer friend/relative/whatever, will totally love. If you don't, sue us!
Review: Perhaps you thought their first recording ("License To Grill"), had exploited all avenues of satirical possibility. Fortunately, and just in time for the corporate gift-giving season, this mixed ensemble has returned with another appeal! Frequently accompanied, these parodies are all over the map stylistically - 50's R&B ("Three Certifications"), four-part vertical harmony ("Contingent Fee"), choral ("Meditation Chorus"), and even hippie/flower child folk - "Puff For My Class Action." The group strikes a variety of poses vocally, too, mocking everyone with equal rapaciousness. Genuinely funny and solid enough musically to avoid any charges of contempt.
Review: This mischievous group of lawyerly miscreants is irrepressible-they satirize all affairs legal (and otherwise), using as their foundation various popular songs of the fifties and sixties. From " Frivolous Suit" (sung to Runaround Sue) and Mr. Foreman (Mr. Sandman) to our favorite, Appointed Forever (sung to the Turtles classic, Happy Together), this bevy of barristers (thirteen, to be exact) from Austin, Texas is tuneful and engaging. Some of the songs are lightly accompanied by piano and/or guitar, but we recommend leniency and suggest that you purchase this immediately nonetheless!