I would like to start the New Year with some photographs I took at The Paramount Theater in 2012 as a tribute to the late Natalie Cole:
It’s always disheartening to post about the loss of someone special. Natalie Cole passed away yesterday at the age of 65. I had the chance to photograph the legendary singer when she came to the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville in 2012. She began her career listening to many R&B performers, as expected – but also many of the rock and blues musicians like Janis Joplin. She was initially welcomed in the club scene as “the daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole,” and initially disappointed folks as she performed styles unlike her famous father. She eventually made a wonderful career for herself. Many people don’t know that she was also the daughter of Maria Hawkins Ellington, a former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer. “This Will Be” and “Inseparable” becoming hits would awaken critics and they would proclaim her “the next Aretha Franklin.” The 1970s gave Natalie Cole a lot of success including her own television show and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979. In the early 1980s, Cole recorded an album and had her own personal problems with drug abuse. In 1987, she released “Everlasting” which included the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” and became a platinum selling album, her first in over ten years. Natalie Cole’s best selling album came in 1991 with “Unforgettable.” Interestingly enough, she had absolutely refused to cover any of her father’s songs twenty years ago. This record obviously included “Unforgettable” accompanied by her uncle, Ike Cole, on piano. “Take a Look,” “Holly and Ivy,” (a Christmas album) and “Stardust,” (another album containing traditional standard tunes) all went gold in the early 1990s. Many may remember her from Nelson Mandela’s seventieth birthday celebration. She also sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXVII with the Atlanta University Center Chorus.
Other appearances include “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “The Real Housewives of Miami,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and Tina Sinatra’s Father’s Day Special on Sirius radio along with many children of famous fathers, including Deana Martin, Daisy Torme, and Monica Mancini. She was also featured on the 1992 tribute to Nat King Cole. In 2009 Natalie Cole sang “Something’s Gotta Give” on America Idol. Cole also released her autobiography in 2000, titled “Angel on My Shoulder,” which would discuss her issues with drug abuse during a big part of her life including crack cocaine and heroin. There was also a made for TV movie titled “Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story” that was released at the same time as her autobiography. Cole won nine Grammy awards from 1976-2009, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Record of The Year. She also won the George and Ira Gershwin Award for lifetime achievement and three America Music Awards.
Natalie Cole had cancelled many of her December 2015 concert dates due to illness and passed away in Los Angeles on the evening of December 31, 2015. I will never forget her appearance at The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville – it was exciting to have her in town to perform some of her most famous hits, including a duet with her father on the theater’s giant video screen.
I’d like to start this post by saying the Walter Iooss was probably my first influence in photography. As a young man, I had the extreme fortune to photograph Major League Baseball, World Championship Wrestling, NBA games, and college athletic events. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. It allowed me into a world I would never be a part of…..I certainly tell myself the professional scouts didn’t notice my illustrious career as a college intramural flag football player, softball champion, and basketball sixth man of the year – THAT’S why I didn’t make it as a professional athlete. Seriously, I loved sports and still do. I subscribed to Sports Illustrated in 1983 and still Continue reading
Under the baton of Music Director Michael Slon, The Oratorio Society of Virginia (TOSVA) has expanded its appreciative audiences and is now widely regarded as one of the preeminent community choruses in the region. Founded in 1966, the Oratorio Society is the community’s longest running chorus and performs in Charlottesville finest venues — such as the historic Paramount Theater and the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center.
Chorus members are of all ages and from all walks of life; all have considerable choral singing experience, and some are professional musicians and music teachers. They come together to perform choral masterworks and to share with audiences the genius and inspiration of the composers and works performed, which are carefully selected each season. Maestro Slon’s leadership of the 90-person chorus is attracting new and returning singers from past seasons, and he continues to form exciting partnerships with other community arts groups, including Ash Lawn Opera, the Charlottesville Symphony, the UVa University singers, and more.
As we approach our 50th year, we continue to engage the community in our music – as singers and as audience. To achieve this, we provide learning opportunities with lectures before each concert; collaborate with other arts organizations; invite students from UVA, PVCC, and local high schools to audition, as well as to perform at our Christmas concerts; and work with the UVa Music Department’s arts outreach program, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, UVa’s Madison House, and local churches to bring more young community members to our performances.
In spring of 2014, TOSVA hosted a community sing-in of Vivaldi’s Gloria and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus as a benefit for PACEM, a nonprofit that works with the faith community to provide services to homeless individuals. In March 2015, we will engage the community again as we perform Schubert’s Mass in G as a sing-in to benefit another service organization, to be chosen this fall. Our entire season’s repertoire is as follows: December 2014 Christmas at the Paramount Seasonal selections including Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata and elegant holiday favorites Partnering with Albemarle/Charlottesville School choruses Paramount Theater, Downtown March 2015 “ Together in Song ” Community Sing-In Schubert: Mass in G and other works Benefitting a local nonprofit organization, to be determined in October 2014 First Presbyterian Church, Park Street April 2015 Beethoven: Symphony #9 with the Charlottesville Symphony and UVA University Singers Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center June 2015 Arthur Honegger: King David with members of the Charlottesville Ballet Dickinson Theater, Piedmont Virginia Community College
Our audiences are comprised of both experienced music from the Charlottesville/Albemarle area and surrounding counties, and have rewarded our previous performances with enthusiastic applause and supportive comments:
“GLORIOUS! Kudos all the way; best thing I’ve seen this year…” Audience member, Candide, May 2014
“What a wonderful treat for our community to have such a grand collaboration.” Audience member, Candide, May 2014
“After the concert I was so elevated, so inspired to just live and work, that such artistic vision is available to us. It was for me one of those higher moments never to be forgotten.” Audience member, Gems of the Baroque, June 2013
“Wow, what a great huge sound! I was just enthralled by such beauty! The concert was truly captivating.” Audience member, Gems of the Baroque, June 2013
“[Michael Slon] has artistic talent and gets so much subtlety from the chorus! Bravo! Love the music!” Audience member, Christmas at the Paramount, December 2011
“. . . generous and altogether moving. Thank you (and your fine musicians and volunteers) for drawing together our community for an hour of wonders.” former UVa president John Casteen, Christmas at the Paramount, December 2012
Dedicated to musical excellence, the Oratorio Society of Virginia enriches, inspires, and educates the
community through regular performance of choral masterworks that express the best of the human spirit.
I need to start by saying how much I love great musicians. If you don’t put Stevie Wonder on your list of all time greats you are making a mistake. In an age where performers go in many different directions, this artist tours with great accompaniment. He is a musicians musician….period. He traveled with a full band complete with a fabulous horn section of almost ten people and an orchestra. Absolutely, stunning!
Though most of us were there to see the great hits like “Sir Duke,” “Superstition,” “I Wish,” “You are the Sunshine of My Life,” etc., we were excited to hear great covers like Continue reading
A huge thank you to the most well-known classical pianist in the world, Lang Lang, for sharing my images on Twitter and Facebook. Within 12 hours, the Facebook post had generated over 2,000 likes!
Norah Jones is one of those artists that comes along and gives music something it hasn’t had in a while….a dose sensational piano playing, a distinct voice, and a refreshing approach that has been influenced by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Ray Charles. I was a blast to chat it up with Norah and document her show that evening.
Former Hootie and The Blowfish lead singer and current country star, Darius Rucker, takes some time to talk music and greet us backstage at The Paramount Theater.