Tag: singing

University of Rochester Honors Opera Singer Jessye Norman

Jessye NormanThe University of Rochester has announced that it will present an honorary doctorate of music to Jessye Norman, one of the world’s leading classical sopranos. Norman will receive the honorary degree at a benefit concert in Rochester for Action for a Better Community on April 14. Action for a Better Community is a community action agency that promotes and provides opportunities for low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

Jessye Norman has had a singing career spanning more than 40 years. She is a five-time Grammy Award winner, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2010 she was presented by President Obama with the National Medal of Arts. She holds honorary degrees from more than 40 colleges and universities around the world.

article via jbhe.com

Motown’s Unsung Female Trio, The Andantes, Finally Gets Acclaim

The Andantes, from left, Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow-Tate and Louvain Demps posing during a visit to Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. In their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the ground-breaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early '70s before the label moved to Los Angeles. The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory.” The Andantes are featured, with equal billing, alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Andantes, from left, Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow-Tate and Louvain Demps posing during a visit to Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. In their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the ground-breaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles. The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory.” The Andantes are featured, with equal billing, alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Demps was no mere fan visiting what’s now the Motown Historical Museum. She was one of the women singing the angelic, high harmonies on the recording — and hearing it in Hitsville USA’s Studio A was too much.  “It’s my heart, it’s my heart,” she said.  For Demps and her fellow Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow-Tate, moments like these have been private, since the wider world knew only their voices, not their faces. But now in their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the groundbreaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles.

The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory,” which will run through the summer. The Andantes are featured — with equal billing — alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes.  The joyous but rare reunion was made possible by a sad event the day before: the funeral of former Miracles member Bobby Rogers. For the Andantes, it made their meeting more poignant.

“It is unfortunate that so many are gone and thank God that we are still here — all of us — to be able to see this and see our dream come true,” said Barrow-Tate, who still lives in Detroit, as does Hicks. The two are retired, but Demps, who lives near Atlanta, still sings solo or with others.

The Andantes were the go-to backup singers for most Motown artists, including Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops and the girl groups themselves. “Save the Children” came from Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” one of Motown’s greatest — and last — albums recorded in Detroit. The Andantes sang backup on many of the record’s cuts — including the title track — and even traveled with Gaye to his hometown of Washington, D.C., in 1972 to perform the disc in its entirety at the Kennedy Center.  Motown Museum officials say the trio, almost always anonymously, sang on more songs than any other group at Motown. They were the female and vocal equivalent to the Funk Brothers, the label’s house band that itself was largely anonymous in its time but gained acclaim through the 2002 documentary film, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”

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70 Years Ago Today: Etta Moten Barnett Becomes 1st African-American to Sing at the White House

Etta Moten Barnett (Photo: Chicago Library)

Broadway star and film actress Etta Moten Barnett sang at the birthday party for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 31, 1943, becoming the first African-American to perform at the White House.

She performed “Remember My Forgotten Man,” which she also sang in the movie Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), although she was not listed in the credits. A conaltro vocalist, she was best known for her starring role in the 1942 revival of Porgy and Bess on Broadway. 

Barnett was born November 5, 1901, in Weimar, Texas. She married Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press, in 1934. In her later years, Barnett was active in many community organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the African American Institute. She passed away from pancreatic cancer on January 5, 2004, at age 102.

article by Britt Middleton via bet.com