Venue: Center Theater
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The ultimate celebration of the sweet sound of Motown is coming to Escondido! In honor of Black History Month, The California Center for the Arts will partner with The Barn Stage Company to present Motown: The Groove That Changed America. This extraordinary live show combines first class music together with outstanding performers and an amazing band. Don’t miss out on the best Motown experience you will ever have!
MEET THE CAST
DURELL ANTHONY – Hailing from Kansas, Durell Anthony is a talented vocalist who’s been winning over audiences in Southern California for nearly a decade. With deep roots in Soul, R&B, Pop & Jazz, Durell has shared the stage with some of the most well-respected musicians and vocalists in the industry, including country music star Carrie Underwood and gospel music legend Yolonda Adams. He works primarily as a lead singer for San Diego’s premier Top 40 corporate band, The Mighty Untouchables as well as his own band performing original music and unique renditions of soul and pop classics. Also a gifted songwriter, his latest release ‘DREAMS’ has been heard on radio stations domestically and internationally and is available on all major streaming platforms. He’s currently working on a new project scheduled for release in 2020.
MEL COLLINS is a chanteuse, a songstress, a star in the mold of yesteryear’s greats. Based in Los Angeles, Mel Collins has performed all over the world, bringing the joy of her unique song stylings to thousands upon thousands of people. Whether it’s crooning a jazz standard or belting a pop hit, Mel consistently brings audiences to their feet. Mel’s collaboration with Duane Benjamin has put her at the helm of an 18-piece big band, with Duane as her musical director and bandleader. Their debut album, A Little Jazz Now & Then, was released in the fall of 2013. She also performs as the leader of smaller, more intimate groups of varying size and instrumentation, collectively referred to as “Standard Mel”. In addition to her most frequent role fronting a band, Mel’s versatility and a knack for storytelling has afforded her opportunities to branch out into different types of work in and around Los Angeles. Recently, Mel Collins & Ben-Jamin horns were booked to be the opening house band for legendary comedian Bob Newhart! She has also amassed an impressive resume as a backup singer behind such artists as Michael Bublé, Heather Headley, Burt Bacharach, and as part of the house band on America’s Got Talent. She also performed as M.C. for an event commemorating Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, leading a Q & A with featured guest Julie Andrews.
SAM HARMONIX – With extreme God given talent and a relentless hard work ethic, it is no surprise that there are very few people in this world like Grammy Voting Member Sam Harmonix. Sam is a multi-faceted singer, songwriter, and producer with incredible vocals, amazing stage presence, and breathtaking production skills. It is no wonder that he is bound for greatness. Through the years some of his past collaborations include Mr. Talkbox (featured on his iTunes chart topping single “Are You Ok”), T.I. (featured on his single “Save It For Me” Bruno Mars, Jamareo (Jam) Artis, Lee Brice, Beyoncé, Austin Mahone, Trey Songz , Kim Walker (Jesus Culture) , Producer Jim Beanz, Timbaland , Anthony Hamilton, Blackstreet, Teddy Riley Maranda Curtis, and Troop 41, just to name a few. Harmonix is currently in the studio with internet sensation Bryce Xavier, chart topping songwriter/artists Fiction, and Jamereo Artis (Bruno Mars). While producing and collaborating with artists and producers alike, Harmonix had the opportunity to perform at Art Of Cool Festive (NC), The Study (Hollywood), PNC Arena (NC), Lincoln Theater (NC) all in the past few months. Follow Sam Harmonix on Instagram (@samharmonix), Twitter (@thesamharmonix), Facebook and SoundCloud. Go download or stream his music on all digital outlets and go visits www.samharmonix.com
SYLVIA MACCALLA has appeared in the Broadway hits RENT, Hairspray and A Night with Janis Joplin to name a few. She has sung backups for Smokey Robinson, Brian McKnight, Queen Latifa, Debbie Gibson, Wynona Judd, Smash Mouth and most recently the Goo Goo Dolls. Founding member of the R&B Soul Group Livin Out Loud which has had great success in the UK. She recently co-wrote 3 songs on Broadway and Disney star Eden Espinosa’s REVELATION album. Currently, she is working with some of the industry’s top Pop Artists as a vocal producer and coach.
KENNA RAMSEY is thrilled to be a part of this uber talented ensemble in Motown – The Groove That Changed America. Although Motown is among her most favorite musical genres, she has had the pleasure to perform in an array of musical styles and forums. Her credits include various Broadway shows, animation, session singing, and gaming, but mostly she enjoys sharing the stage with musical greats like David Foster, Natalie Cole, Lionel Richie, Reba McEntire, and many others. Kenna would like to thank Jordan Beck and Duane Benjamin for their direction and the opportunity to be a part of this timeless music and incredible sound!
DUANE BENJAMIN (MUSICAL DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR) is an accomplished Musician, Orchestrator and Arranger. For over 30 years he has made a successful living playing trombone, electric bass, and arranging “clean, easy to read charts” for industry legends and everyday musicians alike. His orchestrations are featured regularly on FOX Television’s American Idol! He has also arranged and orchestrated for NBC’s The Singing Bee as well as The Voice. On BET’S Gospel Celebration he has orchestrated for artists like Keyshia Cole, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Alexander Hamilton, and legendary soul singer Al Green. “Ben-jamin” as he is affectionately known, picked up the trombone at the age of 8 and never put it down. He has performed and recorded with jazz greats like the Count Basie Orchestra, Stanley Clark, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra and The Clayton – Hamilton Orchestra, not to mention contemporary legends like Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Joss Stone, Diana Ross, Earth Wind & Fire, Jamiroquai, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, rock guitarist Steve Vai, Kirk Franklin and many more.
Just Added! Due to popular demand! 3rd performance Saturday, February 1st at 3:00pm!