5375 Hibiscus Drive , Naples, FL
On a recent outing to Erin's Isle Restaurant, I didn't expect to see a singing nun, but she certainly does have a heavenly voice. Sister Kaite's vibrato is very good and she can sing several octaves.
Playing the keyboard as she sang along with songs ranging from the 1920s to the present, somewhere along the list of songs you will undoubtedly go on a nostalgia trip. When she sang “As Time Goes By,” that song brought back beautiful memories. Other tunes in this order were “Blue Bayou,” “Someone to Watch over Me,” “Sunny,” “That’s Peggy O’Neil,” “Crazy,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,’ ” “On the Boardwalk,” and “Piano Man” to name a few. Her diversity is great in that she goes from one era to another, pleasing all ages.
The stage was set up closer to the bar area where there are several tables for dining. The speakers were turned low in the larger dining area so that the music wasn’t overly loud. Nothing is worse than trying to talk to someone over loud music. That wasn’t the case here. It worked well because diners could still hear and applauded after many songs. And of course, being an Irish establishment, Kaite sang more than one Irish song.
Thinking perhaps she had been in a convent and just kept Sister Kaite, I asked how she acquired that name. She said, “My sister’s boyfriend always referred to me as Sister Kaite, so I kept it leaving off my last name. That’s when I played along the Keys.”
Kaite has been playing the piano since she was five years old with years of professional training. She’s been singing since she was four years old but never had any singing lessons.
“The family was always singing. ‘Coming from Virginia,’ just riding to Grandma’s house miles away we would always sing in the car. My mother taught me harmony which I love a lot,” Kaite said.
Her first gig was at the age of 16. She went on the road with her music and had a band in Chicago that did English rock. She also played with other jazz, rock, and show bands.
Having an interest in molecular biology and infectious diseases, she attended Michigan State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. After five years of working as a scientist, the cold weather changed her outlook and she moved to Florida and returned to the music business.
This woman is a phenomena. Her personality is very upbeat, and life is good considering tragedy struck several years ago, Kaite developed a condition called HistiotysisX, a very rare disease. She went through months of chemotherapy and radiation. “The doctors don’t know what causes it, they don’t know what it is, and they don’t how to fix it. Nobody is doing anything about it, but there is a grant and I would like to work on it because I can be the example,” she stated.
“It’s a lung disease actually, and one of the side affects is that it eats bone. The tumor ate the bone in my mouth. It’s a very aggressive disease. The teeth and bones go. So the prosthesis is wired into my mouth with new teeth and bones. I had to learn to speak a lot of different sounds. But I’m fine. So I would like to help those who have it. It was a long process learning to sing again,” Kaite concluded. I might add that Kaite looks terrific and she continues to persevere.
She has other aspirations as well, one of which is a book she is currently writing on how to quit smoking.
Kaite performs at Erin’s Isle every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. She also does her own musical comedy show at the English Pub in Naples on Monday evenings.
Erin’s Isle Restaurant is located at 6190 Collier Blvd., Naples. For reservations, call 774-1880. For more information on Sister Kaite, email her at SisterKaite@embarqmail.com.