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Tyzik Turns on the Magic of Motown in Pops Opener

October 02, 2009

Rochester, NY – When the radio airways were filled with the harmonies and energy of the great vocal groups like The Temptations, Martha & The Vandellas, Diane Ross and The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, the Fifth Dimenson, and soloists like Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick, it was a unique time in the musical history of America.  For the RPO’s Opening Pops Weekend of concerts on Friday, October 23, and Saturday, October 24, both at 8:00 pm, RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik turns the dial to the Magic of Motown (referring to the nickname for the Motor City – Detroit – where Motown Records was founded) for chartbusting hits from that time.

With dynamism, radiant voices, costumes, choreography, and diverse personalities, the two vocal groups, Spectrum and Radiance, join the RPO to perform such iconic songs as Heatwave; My Girl; You Keep Me Hangin’ On; River Deep, Mountain High; Reach Out – I’ll Be There; Dancin’ in the Street; Respect; Love Child; Stop! In the Name of Love; and others.

Singers Darryl Grant, Pierre Jovan, David Prescott (a Rochester native and 1970 graduate of Madison High School), and Cushney Roberts form the first-class vocal quartet of Spectrum.  After six years recreating the sound and style of the Four Tops in Las Vegas’ multi-million dollar production shows American Superstars and Legends in Concert, the group has developed the versatility to cover the music of The Platters to The Temptations to Boyz 2 Men.  Since then, Spectrum has headlined its own shows, performing stirring renditions of all the best cover tunes.  The group also has toured through Europe and the U.S., and has appeared on numerous national television shows.  Spectrum last performed with the RPO in October 2006, opening the Pops series that season. 

The talented vocal quartet, Radiance, was formed specifically to pay tribute to the music of The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, and other female artists from the musical era of Motown.  As the ladies of Radiance, Wendy Edmead, Marqué Munday, Crystal Robinson, and Vivian Scott each bring years of experience to the stage, having performed in major theatrical productions up and down the Las Vegas strip, as well as in various national and international Motown tribute tours.

“Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, envisioned a style of music and presentation that would capture the attention of all of America’s youth whatever their race,” said Spectrum’s Cushney Roberts.  “He accomplished that in grand fashion…and tapped into a deep pool of talented young performers, writers, musicians, and producers.  This enabled him to mine great songs and then present them to an eager public complete with exquisite choreography, performed by well-mannered young blacks groomed at Motown’s own finishing school, cloaked in flashy yet classy costumes.”  Cushney calls Motown “truly an American institution and a unique music and entrepreneurial phenomenon – a shining example of a merger of American ingenuity and talent.”

Tickets for these performances are $24-$75, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org; by phone (454-2100); in-person from the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue, 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Saturday (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  The Pops Series is sponsored by Wegmans; this concert is sponsored by Woods Oviatt Gillman LLP with additional support from Time Warner Cable.

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