by Sara J. Welch
THE NAME GAME
What do Sittisak Haputpong and Juan Sotomayo have in common? Besides unusual monikers, they’ve been paid tribute in song by Al Tulane, The Man of a Million Names.
Tulane, who headlines at corporate recognition events honoring employees of international firms such as Avon and Bristol-Myers Squibb, performs songs that weave together dozens of honoree names and facts, set to popular tunes like The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things. And that’s not all. He also memorizes the event’s seating chart so he can pick each person out of the audience. "People love having something custom made for them," he says. "To have someone put his hand on their shoulders while he sings to them – they eat it up."
For a May benefit for the Seraphic Society honoring the executive assistants to Fortune 500 CEOs, Tulane’s team churned out a 116-name Name Song all day Friday and then faxed it to Al at 2 a.m.; by Sunday rehearsal he tweaked it and knew it cold. "The nerve-wracking part," he says, is remembering where everyone is sitting. "But the more I do it, the easier it gets."
Asked how he managed to rhyme the above-mentioned tongue twisters, Tulane belts out a new version of "Jimmy Mack": "Sittisak, it's good to see you back," he croons, then switches to "Guantanamera": "Juan Sotomayo...."