You'll love, You'll love, You'll love
These Calendar Girls!
By SCOTT CRONICK, December 19, 2003
At The Shore, (609) 272-7017

Ask someone you know in a cover band, and they'll tell you one of the hardest things about playing live is getting the audience's attention. For obvious reasons, the Calendar Girls don't seem to have that problem.

Using their good looks, the Calendar Girls - aka Jo-Ann McMahan and Trish Cleveland - have emerged as one of the brightest party duos on the club scene in southern New Jersey. Yes, they wear tight clothes. Yes, they dress sexy, but they also can sing their pants off ... although not literally.

"We've only been together a year, and we can't believe how much we've grown and how well we're doing," says McMahan, who will perform at the Old Oar House Brewery in Millville with her partner on Friday, Dec. 19. "We sing everything from Motown to country to golden oldies, and we love singing classic rock. We can also do some doo-wop. We're always looking for new songs to make people happy."

The Calendar Girls, although a musical duo, really are calendar girls. McMahan produces an annual calendar titled "The Girls of South Jersey Shore." The 2003 edition featured McMahan and other southern New Jersey models but did not contain Cleveland, who will be the cover girl of the 2004 edition.

"I actually met Trish after the calendar was in print," McMahan explains. "We were both cast as extras on the set of 'Sex and the City,' and I saw her across the room and approached her about the calendar. We started talking, and before you know it, we decided we were going to sing together."

The meeting definitely paid off. The 2004-2005 calendar will be released this summer to cover September, 2004 through December, 2005 so that tourists can purchase it.

"We developed an audience over last summer, and by the time May 31 comes around, no one would buy a calendar after half of the year will already be over. So now that we sing on the Boardwalk and play at festivals and big events, opening for larger bands, we could have our calendars there, sell them and autograph them. It should work out well."

It certainly should. The first calendar sold more than 6,000 copies with the Calendar Girls performing a few nights a week. When the calendar finally does it hit the streets, you will see McMahan as the model for October, 2004 and July, 2005, and Cleveland as the cover girl as well as December, 2004 and November, 2005.

"It's going to be a great calendar," says McMahan, a former Playboy model who was featured in semi-nude lingerie special issues in the 1980s. In fact, a flashback of popular models from the '80s titled "Lingerie" is on stands right now. "Since the first calendar did so well, we had a lot of very beautiful girls call us to be on the new calendar. Our calendar is definitely PG rated. We do that so we can cater to the overall market. But it is very sexy."

The launch of the new calendar, which will be inexpensively priced at $10, may also come at the same time the Calendar Girls launch a full band. The duo is currently looking for support players. Meanwhile, Cleveland, who already plays harmonica, is brushing up on keyboards, and McMahan is learning "a little guitar."

Band 2 Photo

The Calendar Girls - Jo-Ann McMahan, left, and Trish Cleveland - are putting a full band together so they can play bigger gigs, like casinos.

"We really want to break the casino market as a band, and we think we need a band to do that," McMahan says. "We think a band will put us over the top."

McMahan, who lived in Texas for 18 years, where she also played in a duo, loves her new partner.

"It's great," she says. "We're both easy on the eyes, and we can sing. People really like the way we work the crowd. When we're setting up our equipment, we get a lot of looks like, 'What are they doing?' They like the way we look, but then we start, and it's like, 'Wow, they can sing, too.' We think we have something here. We're looking to get in on the cruise ship thing for next winter. We want to say bon voyage to South Jersey for the winter."

Until then, McMahan and Cleveland are making sure they cement themselves as musical staples right here.

"When we get booked, we always get booked back," McMahan says. "It was only a year ago when we started singing in front of the Atlantic City Cyber Café on the Boardwalk for free. We always left with a tip jar full of money, knowing only 12 songs at the time. But we developed from that. Now, we go back to the same places and get paid. We love this. It's a lot of fun

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