Girl Power!Aug 30, 2022 12:44PM ● By Jan Weeks
October 13 • 7:30 p.m.
Who doesn’t love Aretha, Cher and Dolly, and other female vocalists? Divas3 will cover the hits of these talented songstresses and more in the first show of the Community Concerts of the Grand Valley’s (CCGV) 78th season at the Avalon Theatre on October 13.
To celebrate the biggest hits by the greatest divas in music history, Emily Yates, Charity Farrell and Casey Borghesi blend their powerhouse voices into harmonies that raise goosebumps in the audience. The ladies have been singing separately on varied stages and in multiple venues all over the world, including the Las Vegas Strip, cruise ships and concerts in 51 countries. The three are thrilled to finally come together for this performance and bring an enticing mix of pure class and personalities, while honoring the iconic hits of music’s greatest divas.
Creating a 90-minute show is hard, and they chose to narrow the show down to three decades: the 1960s through the 1990s.
Yates started singing and dancing as a youngster. Her background in musical theatre stood her in good stead later as she traveled the world with her husband, who is also an entertainer.
She does stints in Las Vegas, starring in several shows and productions.
“I have been a member of Divas3 for the last two years and love to get out of Las Vegas and travel with these talented ladies!” she said.
Farrell, a native of Ohio, has been in the entertainment business since she was 5. The award-winning actress and singer has appeared in the feature films “Forever’s End” and “The Father and the Bear.” She’s also starred in off-Broadway musicals and regional productions.
Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin influenced Casey Borghesi’s vocals. In her teens, she loved performing in local community theaters. Receiving the Tom Hanks scholarship helped her obtain a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in acting and musical theatre, too.
Members have favorite styles or songs. Yates hammers down on the disco era, while Farrell said, “My favorite number is ‘You've Got a Friend.’ The arrangement is just stellar and it’s an absolute joy to share that moment with the other ladies.”
Still, being on the road is no bed of roses. Yates dreads the long car rides, while Farrell’s biggest demon is learning the words to songs.
Borghesi’s bugaboo is memorizing all the material.
“I want to get to the fun part of performing full out, the lights, costumes and live band. However, in order to get to that stage, you have to know your lyrics and choreography,” she said.
Still, Yates said making memories is the fun part. Borghesi said taking the audience on a journey with the music and storyline is “electric…there’s nothing quite like it.”
The Divas are hoping to have a meet and greet after the show. However, due to the rise in COVID cases, it will depend on how things look closer to the performance date. If one of them gets sick, the tour will have to be canceled.
Cherish the Ladies
October 28 • 7:30 p.m
Fans of Irish music, put October 28 on your calendar, and celebrate the songs and step dancing when Cherish the Ladies, one of America’s most heralded Irish music ensembles, takes the Avalon stage.
Back in the day, the Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains, Tommy Maken and other male Irish bands ruled the airwaves and stages for years. Then in 1985, Cherish the Ladies gave the men a run for their money by celebrating the rise of women in a male-dominated music scene.
Joanie Madden, flautist and self-described organizer for 38 years, said, “We started as a fluke concert series featuring women musicians, and now we have toured the world, recorded 18 albums and been the guest soloists for 300 nights of symphony!”
She and the rest of the ensemble blend traditional music with captivating vocals and spirited step dancing.
A child of two Irish immigrants, Madden grew up in the Bronx. Her father, Joe, was an All-Ireland Champion accordion player who passed his music down to his daughter. In fact, all the members of Cherish the Ladies have musical fathers.
Another founding member, guitarist Mary Coogan’s mother came from Castlerea in Ireland’s County Roscommon, and her father’s love of traditional music led Coogan to teach herself to play guitar, mandolin and bouzouki. “Acoustic Guitar Magazine” named her one of the top four guitarists in Celtic music.
Accordion player Mirella Murray, a native of County Galway, Ireland, also credited her father with instilling a deep understanding and love for traditional music in her. The All-Ireland championship winner also teaches, and 22 of her pupils are champion accordionists.
Pianist Kathleen Boyle hails from Glasgow, Scotland, but grew up steeped in the traditional music of Donegal, Ireland. The award-winning musician has performed for Prince Charles, an Irish president, and around the world as a member of Cherish the Ladies.
Nollaig Casey brings her fiddle to life in the time-honored tunes the band plays. Her unique way of playing traditional Irish music on the fiddle had led her to record with music greats Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Nanci Griffith, Ricky Skaggs, Rod Stewart and many more artists.
Every performance of this all female group includes world champion step dancers from River Dance and Lord of the Dance, both shows conceived and led by master step dancer Michael Flatley.
The ladies consider themselves fortunate for having had the opportunity to tour the world, playing their own compositions, songs their fathers taught them, and those they resurrected from manuscripts they have found.
This isn’t their first trip to Grand Junction. They’ve graced the Avalon stage many times, including two with the Grand Junction Symphony.
“We love to make people happy,” said Madden, “And we work very hard for that standing ovation that we want to get.”
Tickets for CCGV’s 78th season start at $80* and can be purchased at the Avalon Theatre, Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6 p.m., or call 970-263-5757. If you prefer to mail in your seat reservations, visit: www.communityconcertsgrandvalley.org/tickets and click on the “Download Mail-in Form.”
*If available, single show tickets will be on sale for $35 plus box office fees three weeks before the concert.