Television’s “The Amazing Race” was just that – and much more – for Trevor Wadleigh.
“It was unlike anything I had ever experienced,” said the 31-year-old Kent native, fresh off participating in CBS’ popular prime-time, around-the-world reality show. “I love pushing myself, but I had to push myself physically … past from what I had ever done before. … It was cool to be able to push myself that hard.
“Your mind has to be in a million different places and hopefully working very quickly,” said Wadleigh, a classically trained violist who tours with an internationally renowned string quartet, Well-Strung. “It was an awesome experience to apply yourself outside the music world again … and do well and feel good about that.”
Wadleigh teamed with Chris Marchant, a friend and bandmate, in a season in which pairs from the most competitive walks of life – athletes, models, scholars and couples – race around the world in pursuit of the $1 million first-place prize. Teams complete physical and mental challenges while traveling from one continent to another, landing at various destinations that are revealed only after each mission is completed. Teams that fall too far behind are eliminated.
Wadleigh and Marchant, one of 11 teams that began the chase on Jan. 3, made a strong debut in the season premiere that took tandems through Iceland. They successfully navigated Belgium in Week 2.
“The Race” took teams to Belgium and Morocco in this week’s Leg 3 episode.
All told, competitors will cover 29,000 miles and visit 21 cities in 10 countries.
The show, now in its 30th season, airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on KIRO 7. It was filmed in October.
Back home in New York City last week, Wadleigh couldn’t reveal how the race ended, only to explain it was a tremendous, whirlwind experience – at times, emotionally and physically draining.
“What’s awesome about the race is they highlight not only the world as tourist destinations, but they go through smaller destinations and really explore how other people actually live,” Wadleigh said. “They do a good job … highlighting small cultural norms and activities and historical sites through the challenges that we do.
“What a cool way to experience the world.”
As part of a successful band, Wadleigh and Marchant were spotted by CBS scouts and chosen after summer auditions. They were ready for the great adventure.
“Coming from a background in classical music and now working and performing in the music industry, we have had to hone an incredibly sharp competitive streak to survive,” said Marchant, a violist who is originally from Akron, Ohio. “We were excited to compete against other formidable opponents and travel the world while doing it.”
Wadleigh embraces music, diversity and opportunities.
Raised on the East Hill, he attended Kent schools and graduated from Kent-Meridian High, where he earned an Achiever Scholarship through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
He developed and grew as a person at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, where he double-majored in music performance and business, and minored in comparative sociology.
Music eventually brought Wadleigh to New York City, where he has performed with the same group, Well-Strung, for the past five years. The group fuses and mashes up pop music with classical pieces while singing and playing their string instruments, creating a totally unique and avant-garde sound.
The group has performed in front of many dignitaries and personalities. They were invited to perform at the Vatican in Rome and at a gala for President Obama.
Wadleigh fondly recalls the night in which the group played at the request of Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate. The band’s silly music video, “Chelsea’s Mom,” went viral.
“She has a great sense of humor,” Wadleigh said of Clinton.
For Wadleigh and his more athletic sidekick, the chance to compete on “The Amazing Race” represents much more than what they do in the cutthroat music industry. While they are friends, not a couple, they welcome the chance to represent the LGBT community as the only openly gay competitors this season.
“We love being competitive, and we are thrilled to be representing the world of classical music, pop music, and the LGBT community, and hope to do them all proud,” Wadleigh said.
“The Race” taught Wadleigh a few things, notably how to prepare. Teams are constantly on the go, with little precious time to waste, as they chase other teams from one stage to the next.
“I learned how to pack,” Wadleigh said. “You have to be prepared for every climate, and your bag is all you have. If you want to carry extra food, that has to be in there … and everything you bring, you have to wash yourself.”
Do television producers make the show more intense and grueling than it appears on prime time?
“Yes, sometimes more so and sometimes less,” said Wadleigh, adding that viewers don’t get an actual sense of how long and demanding the travel is or how challenging it is time to grab enough sleep and eat the proper foods, even though no one goes hungry on the show.
“The Race” is the ultimate scramble, testing wits and endurance.
Resting comfortably from his New York City apartment, Wadleigh enjoyed the ride. Would he do it again?
“Of course,” he said. “It was thrilling.”