February 27, 2015 |
WHEN ERIN Dickins eats steak frites , she always thinks of Leonard Cohen. Dickins, a founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, was playing a festival gig in Paris with the vocal group and the storied poet/songwriter in 1974. Afterward, Cohen directed them to a little bistro off the Champs Elysees, and she tried the French classic - topped with butter, but of course. "I've loved it ever since," said Dickins, who divides her time between homes in Phoenixville and on the Eastern Shore.
February 13, 2015 |
NOTHING BUMS out soul singer extraordinaire Sharon Jones. Not walking away from the Grammys without her due. Or watching coattail riders soar higher then she has. Heavens alive, Jones even makes light of her recurring bouts with cancer, readily bringing up the topic in interviews and working the theme into her stage show as a flag waver for resilience and trust in a master plan. "With all I've been through, I feel good, glad to still be here, glad to be working and having fun, glad to be getting recognition after all these years," Jones shared in a recent chat prompted by her concert tonight (um, Friday the 13th)
February 13, 2015 |
ANTHONY RILEY , a Philly street singer who made national news in 2007 after he was arrested for disorderly conduct for singing Sam Cooke songs in Rittenhouse Square, is going for television glory. Riley auditioned for the eighth season of NBC's "The Voice," which premieres Feb. 23. Riley at least made it to the blind-auditions phase (that's where the judges turn their chairs for the contestants they like). NBC allows contestants who have made it to this televised round to advertise that they auditioned for the show.
February 4, 2015 |
PHILADELPHIA'S reputation as a center of gospel music owed much to people like Irma Beattie Brown Coleman. Irma and the late David Collier formed United Gospel Singers, which performed at churches throughout the Philadelphia area and in other cities on the East Coast in the '60s and '70s. Among her innovations was the introduction of young boys and girls as soloists at well-attended gospel programs, many at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church on South Broad Street. She organized numerous other gospel groups over the years and served as a teacher seeking to bring out the nascent talents of young singers.
January 27, 2015 |
Stella Ferrari Conaway, 92, of West Chester, a respected voice teacher and performer, died Thursday, Jan. 8, her 61st wedding anniversary, of Alzheimer's disease at Simpson Meadows, Downingtown. Mrs. Conaway was a trained soprano, and her husband, Wayne Elias Conaway, a trained tenor; the two performed classical music and opera duets up and down the East Coast. The venues were local auditoriums where they often sang to benefit music clubs, he said. She earned academic degrees in music from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music - now part of the University of the Arts - and joined the faculty of the music department at West Chester University.
January 14, 2015 |
If leaders of the Philadelphia Singers are ready to throw in the towel, the singers themselves aren't. A core group of members, plus assistant conductor Brian Schkeeper, says it is forming its own successor organization - a new 150-voice symphonic choir. The effort is being led by six or seven members, and already about 80 current singers have signed on to sing on, says Schkeeper. "I think it's an artistic imperative to continue professional music-making," he says, referring to the Philadelphia Singers' pioneering role as a substantially paid, rather than all-volunteer, choir.
December 30, 2014 |
BRIANNA CASH grew up on 3rd Street near Roosevelt Boulevard, and although her soulful songs might someday carry her far from North Philly, her old Feltonville neighborhood will always feel like home. "You know that big three-story house on the corner that looks haunted?" the 22-year-old singer/songwriter said, laughing. "It's the huge house across the street from the corner store that's sometimes yellow, sometimes green, and I remember it being red once, too," Cash said. "I grew up in that house.
December 17, 2014 |
In the wake of leadership changes and the loss of funding from a major supporter, the Philadelphia Singers has decided to cease operations. The city's pioneering professional chorus will sing its last notes at a May concert, and then the organization will dissolve. The chorus was founded in 1972. The Philadelphia Singers' board voted to shut down after learning in November that the William Penn Foundation had turned down a request for a three-year grant for general support; after its executive director resigned; and in view of $125,000 in debt, said Michael Martin Mills, board vice president.
December 8, 2014 |
Jazmine Sullivan stands in the doorway of her parents' Northeast Philadelphia home. Her curly tresses frame a broad smile as she waves goodbye to her makeup artist and her stylist. With a rehearsal in a few hours, Sullivan, 27, goes inside and settles into an armchair in front of the fireplace. Relaxed, but slightly guarded, she readies herself for the questions she knows are coming about her three-year absence. After an abusive relationship that stopped her rising music career in its tracks, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter is easing back into rehearsals, shows, interviews, with a new outlook.
November 23, 2014 |
Miriam E. McBride Rawley, 90, of Tacony, a mother and singer, died Friday, Nov. 14, of Alzheimer's disease at the Philadelphia Protestant Home in Lawncrest. Born in 1924 in Philadelphia, Mrs. Rawley lost her mother early. She and her four siblings grew up with their father, Francis McBride, and stepmother, Maude Whelan, on a horse farm in Hilltown, Bucks County. After the family moved back to the city, Mrs. Rawley became a member of the first graduating class of St. Hubert High School in 1942.