Diamond Memories: Celebrating
60 Years of Motown
Saturday, March 14th, 2020 @ 7:30 PM
A 90-minute musical montage celebrating six decades
of classic Rhythm & Blues music by artists from the Motor City.
The performance is at East Liberty Presbyterian
Church (March 14) in collaboration with
soloists Denise Sheffey-Powell and
Franklin Mosley, accompanist Max Leake, and the celebrated Motown
cover band – “Horizon” from Mechanicsville, VA.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Rachel Eaton, director
Craig G. Cannon, director
Jenna Hayes, director
Belle Voci is a community-based inter-generational women’s choir with the mission "Connecting Song and Community". Belle Voci strives to enrich and educate its singers and its audience by performing varied repertoire that features challenging compositions in wide-ranging musical styles and diverse languages, by composers from around the world. The group was founded in the fall of 2012 and is currently operating in its 8th concert season. Belle Voci also uses choral performances as a means for social good, and supports causes that primarily benefit women.
In the last seven years, Belle Voci has distinguished itself as a choral music force in the Pittsburgh Arts scene, and as the only community-based volunteer choir for women in the region. Since 2012, the group has presented over 50 concerts in venues throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area including St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in the Strip District, Epiphany Catholic Church in Uptown, Northmont United Presbyterian Church in McCandless, First Baptist Church in Oakland, 6th Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill, Bellefield Hall of the University of Pittsburgh, East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh’s Pentecostal Temple Church of God In Christ in Larimer, and Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.
The Belle Voci organization has also spawned two subsidiary ensembles, a 6-year-old aCappella sub-group - Solo Voci; and a descendant choir for young girls - Giovani Voci, now in it’s third season.
Craig G. Cannon is the founder and Artistic Director of Belle Voci. He was the Director of Choral Activities at Fox Chapel Area High School (FCAHS) for 34 years and on the adjunct faculty of Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music for 10 years. He graduated from Duquesne University and went on to study choral conducting with David Stocker and the late Douglas McEwen at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona where he earned a Master of Music degree in choral music.
Under Cannon’s direction, the FCAHS choral ensembles were selected to sing at PMEA state conventions, the ACDA-PA Summer Conference, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (NYC), The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC), Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris), and the ACDA Eastern Division Convention in Baltimore in 2000. Enjoying an active career as a conductor, singer, teacher, and adjudicator, Craig frequently appears as a festival director, music clinician, adjudicator and oratorio soloist for schools and churches throughout the country. In 2017, Craig G. Cannon was awarded Pennsylvania ACDA's highest honor when he was presented with the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Cannon currently serves as the part-time Interim Executive Director of Hope Academy for Music and the Arts at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. He worked as the Director of Choral Organizations at Duquesne University from 2013-2015. Prior to that, for more than twenty years, he was the tenor soloist and youth choir director at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.
Craig G. Cannon,
Belle Voci Artistic Director
Denise Sheffey-Powell, Soprano
Denise Sheffey-Powell received her Bachelor of Science degree from Duquesne University in Vocal Music, under the tutelage of the late Julia May and Mija Novich. In March of this 2018, Denise portrayed the role of Mama in the Prime Stage Theatre production of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Denise has been an active member of the Pittsburgh Opera company since 1982 and has performed various roles with the company, as well as with Civic Light Opera, City Theatre at Hartwood Acres and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.
Franklin Mosley is a 2014 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received his master’s degree in music from Boston University, where he studied with Dr. Jerrold Pope. Franklin’s past stage credits include Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and Joe Pitt in Angels in America. Franklin has enjoyed success as a soloist with the Masterworks Chorale, the Cambridge Chamber Ensemble, and the Concert Singers of Lynn in programs ranging from Handel's Messiah to Die Zauberflöte in concert.
Horizon, from Mechanicsville, VA is a group of seven dynamic musicians who reach for the sky every time they hit the stage. Enthusiasm and enthusiasm best describe this funky and upbeat Motown cover band. The band features an exceptional four-piece rhythm section, two incredible horn players (trumpet and saxophone), and a female vocalist who always delivers a “show stopping” performance. Each member of the rhythm section is featured on lead vocals, or background harmonies This band has entertained audiences as the opening act for the Temptations, Midnight Start, and War. Horizon’s combination of professionalism, experience and energy will create an event that will be talked about for a long time.
Max Leake has been a part of jazz piano in Pittsburgh since the 1970s. He began his musical training at age six. By the time he was 15, he was working with local Pittsburgh bands and backing up national acts in local supper clubs. At the age of 18, Max was traveling around the country with acts such as the “Ink Spots” and the “Marcels”.
Max spent time playing in show-bands in the Catskill Mountains of New York backing up variety acts, comedians and singers. He also cruised around the Western hemisphere as a house pianist in the showbands on many different Princess Cruises ships.
In 1985 he released his self-produced album “Buns in the Sun” on Visionary Records, a record label started by Max and Mike Hurzon (owner of the “Tracking Station”, an independent record promotion company). The album drew widespread airplay nationally and was reviewed favorably by many newspapers and trade publications.
Max has gone on to produce, compose for and record with dozens of other artists including Mesa Blue Moon recording artist “Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering”, Heads Up records artist “Kenny Blake”, “Salsamba”, “Billy Price” and the “Balcony Big Band” on Corona Records.
Max has been recording, composing, arranging and performing for 35 years with some of the best jazz and blues artists in the world including Roger Humphries, Stanley Turrentine, Rick Margitza, Dwayne Dolphin, Henry Johnson, Rebecca Parris, Billy Price, Joe Negri, Sandy Staley, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Orchestra, Tommy Tedesco, David “Fathead” Newman, Don Latarski, Al Dowe and Etta Cox and the Balcony Big Band, just to name a few. He was voted “Best Jazz Keyboardist” in the “In Pittsburgh” music awards in 1989, 1991 and in 1995.
Max began composing and performing music for websites, videos, planetarium shows and CD-ROMs for various advertising and multimedia production companies with his own home-based music production company. He is currently a multimedia developer for the WISER Institute, which is a medical simulation education facility and actively performs, composes, arranges and produces for live performances, multimedia, and recordings.
As of January of 2017, Max is an adjunct professor at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University. He also is the musical director for the actress, producer, and vocalist Tamara Tunie.
Max Leake, accompanist