[ ART DECO WEEKEND ]
Miami's premiere vocal quintet has popularly opened Art Deco Weekend with its smooth vocal renditions of the jazz standards.
(L-R) — Joanne Meagher, Chris Dreeson, Robyn Rich, John Martin, and Susie Wolf
Voices In Time
JOHN MARTIN — (Bass) is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Medical School. While at school, he sang with the Williams College Choral Society, the Williams College Chamber Chorale, and the Williams Cabaret. Since then he has performed with a number of community vocal and musical theater groups. He is the founder of The Decotones.
JOANNE MEAGHER — (Soprano/Alto) joined the group in 1996 and has been singing and acting since her kindergarten debut as one of a pair of dice. As a chorus member at the universities of South Florida, Maryland and Miami, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Notre Dame de Paris, and under the baton of Neville Marriner in Liechtenstien. Although a classically trained singer, she has always loved the “old standards” that are the hallmark of the Decotones’ repertoire. A self-proclaimed member of “Over-Actors Anonymous,” Joanne has ORIGINATED MANY ROLES FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL (from a southern belle banana to a zebra seamstress from Brooklyn). She has also written, directed and choreographed eight school musicals (involving 120 students in grades one through six). Joanne serves in her church chorus and bell choir and spends the majority of her time volunteering. SHE IS A REGULAR AT BOOKS & BOOKS, CORAL GABLES, WHERE SHE READS STORIES TO LITTLE ONES.
CHRIS DREESON — (Tenor) is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Music with degrees in vocal performance/conducting and interpretation of literature. He was Music Director at St. Thomas the Apostle in Miami for sixteen years and St. Augustine in Miami for four years. In addition to the Decotones, Christopher has sung Sinatra favorites with Mark Fernicola’s Last Flight Out Orchestra and currently plays bass and sings back-up vocals for a local cover band.
SUSAN BLANK WOLFE — (Alto/Soprano) is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and earned her Masters at Columbia University. She is a classically trained cellist and singer. Some vocal highlights include having sung for Eugene Ormandy, Charles Dutoit, and Robert Shaw. After three decades as an Orchestral and Vocal Director, and performer in the NY tri-state area, she now lives in Miami, joining the Decotones in 2010. In addition to the Decotones she also performs with the Greater Miami Symphonic Band on both string bass and electric bass. Suzie is a member of the Amateur (ham) Radio communications team at the National Hurricane Center and serves as relief net controller on the Intercontinental Amateur Traffic net.
ROBYN RICH — (Soprano/Alto) is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. At Michigan she was a soloist with the Women’s Glee Club and a trumpet player in the Marching Band, including two Rose Bowl appearances. She subsequently performed with many community instrumental, vocal, and theater groups in Michigan including the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, the Pinckney Players, and the Community Theatre of Howell. After moving to Miami, Robyn joined the Decotones in 2005; she has always felt she was born in the wrong era and loves singing jazz from the 1930s and 1940s.
"Take the 'A' Train"
Accompanied by ...
Pianist CHRIS LOBDELL is a native of Washington State, now living in Florida, has established himself nationally as a successful composer-arranger, teacher, studio musician, pianist, and producer.
With compositions ranging from solo piano to full orchestral works, Mr. Lobdell has been engaged to write and orchestrate for major symphony orchestras, produce full production shows for various cruise lines, create film and video soundtracks for national television commercials, and create MIDI orchestration tracks for several piano series.
Chris continues an 18-year relationship as a composer, arranger, and orchestrator with ALFRED PUBLISHING (formerly Warner Bros. Publishing) with hundreds of titles and over 65 books of piano arrangements in worldwide distribution.
In 1988, Chris received THE U.S. PRESIDENT'S AWARD for musical arrangements in the nationwide "TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA" campaign.
He has served as a national adjudicator for American Guild of Music (AGM) competitions, and has been a featured presenter of technology workshops at the Florida state affiliate of MTNA and at the AGM national conference.
In October of 2003, the Kirkland Orchestra commissioned Mr. Lobdell as orchestrator and featured pianist for the world premier of RE-DISCOVERED WORKS OF SERGEI RACHMANINOFF, "SOPHIE'S SONGS," composed for his granddaughter. The premier was taped for a documentary of the project to be released later on PBS.
Chris was also hired as the swing keyboard player for the first National Tour of Mama Mia! for it’s Florida run.