Tribute to female music legends to feature Broadway actress

British vocalist Helen Welch will be in concert March 21 at Centerville High School courtesy of the Miami Valley Community Concert Association. Welch will pay homage to legendary female vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Karen Carpenter. CONTRIBUTED
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British vocalist Helen Welch will be in concert March 21 at Centerville High School courtesy of the Miami Valley Community Concert Association. Welch will pay homage to legendary female vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Karen Carpenter. CONTRIBUTED

British artist Helen Welch, an accomplished vocalist and musical theater actress who appeared on Broadway in "Smokey Joe's Café," salutes The First Ladies of Song Tuesday, March 21, at Centerville High School courtesy of the Miami Valley Community Concert Association.

Born and raised in Norwich, England, Welch grew up admiring such musical legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland. She remains grateful to her late father for introducing her to singers that would ultimately have a profound impact on her life, particularly in terms of appreciating the enduring quality and appeal of The Great American Songbook.

“As a little girl, it was a treat for me to sit down and listen to the records or watch the movies of so many legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland,” Welch said.

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"The songs they sung were timeless. They were beautifully crafted songs. I'm also a teacher and I tell my students that these songs are like best friends. They'll never leave you. Pop tunes are like fair-weather friends. They'll come and go through your life, they'll be fun and nice, and you'll have a good time. But the songs of The Great American Songbook will never leave you. You'll never get tired of hearing them or singing them."

Currently residing in Northeast Ohio, Welch frequently serves as a guest artist for such musical organizations as the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Akron Symphony. Her concerts pay diverse homage to the vocally stirring legacies of the aforementioned singers while showcasing her own fun, sophisticated spin on their classic material.

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"It's great to be able to sing songs from women I admire," she said. "I go from singing a soulful song by Aretha Franklin or Karen Carpenter to singing a famous scat song Ella Fitzgerald sang called 'Air Mail Special.' In my concerts, I'm trying to tip my hat to the style of each song and express so many beautiful lyrics in such songs as Barbra Streisand's 'Evergreen', Etta James' 'At Last,' and Nina Simone's 'I Put a Spell on You.'

“The show is a real chocolate box of songs. My goal is to move people, make them laugh, make them cry, and make them have great memories of these songs. I want to bring people a few hours of joy through music.”


If You Go

What: Helen Welch in concert

Where: Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St., Centerville

When: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday

Cost: $30 for adults; $5 for students first grade through college.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling (937) 297-0463 or (937) 938-1109 or visit mvcconcert.org

More info: mvcconcert.org

FYI: The 2017-2018 MVCCA season consists of vocal troupe The Texas Tenors (Sept. 14, 2017), guitarist/vocalist Pavlo (Oct. 17, 2017), musical comedy team Duo Baldo (March 22, 2018), and vocalists Daniel and Heather Narducci (May 22, 2018).

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