This is one of my favourite photographs! I think it was taken about 1989, when I was a member of the Swingle Singers. We were on an American tour and were invited to perform at the Wolftrap Performing Arts Centre in Washington D.C. It was a big televised concert for PBS and we sang both the solo and choral parts of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the orchestra. In the second half we did a few a cappella numbers, including our party piece, Tchaikovsy’s 1812 Overture.
Backstage there were so many interesting people and everybody gathered in the Green Room to watch the show on the small television. In this photo I’ve plucked up the courage to ask the legendary Jazz Trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie to sign my programme. Another star was Chita Rivera, who played the original firebrand Anita in the 1957 production of Bernstein’s West Side Story, which made her a Broadway star. She must have been about 56 when we met at Wolftrap and she still kicked her leg right over her head. I also remember she had two very young and pretty boy dancers who with dancing with her, wearing next to nothing!
The hall was amazingand it’s back walls could open up to grassy slopes outside where people picnicked whilst watching the show. I couldn’t resist showing you three more pictures. One is of the empty hall, another picture of Dizzy, with a great expression on his face and the final one is of me and a wonderful blues singer, laughing backstage. I can’t remember her name and if anybody recognises her, I would love to know it!
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