Waxing Nostalgic

Masters of Motown offer musical history lessons


Masters of Motown bring the “Motor City” sounds of the ’60s to the Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, courtesy of the Tonto Community Concert Association.

Masters of Motown bring the “Motor City” sounds of the ’60s to the Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, courtesy of the Tonto Community Concert Association.

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Rim residents of a certain age know the “Motown Sound” to their core. You can’t listen to it without moving with the rhythm — even if that’s just tapping your toes. Get ready to revel in that great sound of the ’60s when the Tonto Community Concert Association presents the Masters of Motown in a 7 p.m. performance Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Payson High School Auditorium.

Masters of Motown has been called the most entertaining history lesson ever performed. This show authentically reproduces the look, choreography, style and sound made famous by a record label that was relatively unknown at the time but went on to profoundly influence the history of popular music. The performance goes beyond the music to preserve the integrity of the entire Motown experience. For many, Masters of Motown is the ultimate stroll down memory lane. For younger generations, the show offers a way to experience a period in the country’s past that produced many of the greatest music acts ever recorded.

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Masters of Motown bring the “Motor City” sounds of the ’60s to the Payson High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, courtesy of the Tonto Community Concert Association.

The show features a completely live performance with seasoned musicians and world-class performers from The TFC Band. This group has toured extensively worldwide for more than 30 years, performing at private events, festivals, casinos, corporate events and military bases from coast to coast and overseas, including tours of Europe and Africa. After having toured together for decades, The TFC Band created the Masters of Motown show in 2008 as a way to heighten the experience for their fans and deliver the full package — a stage show which captures the sights, sounds and feel of the Motown era.

Based in Virginia Beach, Va., the 10-person cast of Masters of Motown has performed to numerous sold-out audiences and garnered rave reviews across the country at venues ranging from community theaters and universities to performing arts venues and concert halls.

The group

John Hodges, lead vocalist — John has been performing as a full-time professional musician his entire adult life. During his career he has toured extensively across the U.S. and overseas, including a recent five-month tour of Africa. For years, John has acted as bandleader for The TFC Band, one of the most successful private party bands in the country. Building on the success of TFC, John was instrumental in creating the touring show Masters of Motown. When not touring with Masters of Motown, The TFC Band performs at major corporate events, personal celebrations and festivals from coast to coast. Thanks to his rich bass baritone vocals, John has often been compared to Melvin Franklin of the Temptations and the incomparable Barry White. A life-long resident of Virginia Beach, Va., John enjoys spending his life with his family and is active in his local church. John’s hobby is fishing.

Dario Outlaw, lead vocalist — One of Dario’s main high points in life is his love for music. Dario demonstrates on stage his talent and ability to connect with the audience. His energetic moves always keep the crowd amazed and entertained!! He is the choreographer for Masters of Motown and The TFC Band. His primary focus is the perfection of the product. Dario has been performing as a professional singer his entire adult life. Dario’s performance has been compared to Prince and specifically to the song “Kiss.” He is a life-long resident of the Tidewater area of Virginia and is very active in his local church. When he is not touring he enjoys spending time with his family and his six-year-old godson. He also produces music in the gospel genre.

Ronald Smith, lead vocalist — Ronald was born a twin and has resided in Norfolk, Va. his entire life. Ronald, lovingly known as “Smitty,” started singing with his twin brother at an early age. He has also been singing professionally his entire adult life with various bands, vocal groups, and recording artists. When he is not touring and singing with Masters of Motown or The TFC Band, he loves to spend time with his wife and family. Smitty has a vocal range that demonstrates a falsetto to second baritone range. His favorite hobby and enjoyment is cooking.

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Masters of Motown as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Deneen (Lady D), lead vocalist — A native of Norfolk, Va., Deneen started singing at a young age in church. “Lady D,” as she is called, has been singing professionally with various vocal groups for most of her adult life. She is also a gospel recording artist. Lady D has performed at the Virginia Governor’s Mansion and has toured in Africa with The TFC Band. When not touring with Masters of Motown and The TFC Band, she loves spending time with her family and singing with her gospel group. She is also active in her local church. Lady D astounds audiences with her incredibly powerful vocals. She will bring you to your feet with her stirring rendition of Gladys Knight’s “Neither One of Us.”

Shinee Cruise, lead vocalist — A native of the Hampton Roads area in Virginia, Shinee knew very early on that music was her passion. She got her start in the business as an intern for Red Diamond Studios in 1999. She worked there in demo singing, adding background vocals and arranging music. She was able to work with producers Jack Knight and Q-Tip, among others. After six months, she was signed by an independent local label. She was featured on a few songs by Pusha-T and Pharrell, performing vocal hooks and background singing. Over the years, she assisted other studios and mentored them in the ups and downs of the music industry. She is now proud to be touring with Masters of Motown, performing tributes to The Supremes as Diana Ross and to Mary Wells.

Joyce Bowers, lead vocalist — Singing in front of audiences since the tender age of five, Joyce got her early start in the church choir and subsequently with the family group, “The A-Z Trio.” Soon thereafter, she got her professional start with “Frank Carballo and the Dukes of Rhythm.” Joyce has also been a featured performer with “Happiness” and “The Gentlemen and Their Lady,” both established local groups in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Throughout her career, Joyce has proven herself to be an extremely solid live vocalist. Currently you can catch her touring with Masters of Motown, performing tributes to Martha Reeves & the Vandellas and Thelma Houston.

The band

Jermaine Newsome, keyboardist — “Jay,” as he is known, is the music director and keyboard player for Masters of Motown and The TFC Band. Jay currently lives in the Tidewater area of Virginia. His many talents include producing for national and international acts. He is a full-time musician with Masters of Motown and The TFC Band. When not touring, Jay is the organist for his local church, and he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. Jay has been active in music since he was five years old. He is an accomplished piano player, bass guitarist and drummer. He also brings a host of technical talents to the table.

Oscar Waters, bassist — Oscar is a seasoned performer, singer and bassist with Masters of Motown and The TFC Band. He was born in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Oscar has worked and appeared with many national artists and various other acts and legends. He has been touring with Masters of Motown and The TFC Band for the past 18 years. He lives in Norfolk, Va. with his wife and family. He is active with his local church and lends his talents musically.

Darrell Ballard, guitarist — Darrell was born in Las Vegas with show business in his blood. He was raised in the Tidewater area of Virginia and started playing lead guitar at a young age. Darrell has been steadily employed as a musician his entire adult life, spending 13 years with a local group in the Hampton Roads area prior to joining Masters of Motown in 2011. His passion for music truly shows through in his performances. Motown is Darrell’s favorite genre of music, so he was especially delighted when he got the opportunity to join this talented group and keep the sounds and styles of Motown alive.

Al Hundley, drummer — Al started his music career at the age of 13 in middle school and has been performing ever since. He decided to pursue a full-time music career in 1995, and he has played with various bands during his career. He has traveled throughout this country and abroad, including a five-month tour in Africa. Al currently performs with Masters of Motown and The TFC Band, and he states that this experience has brought him great successes and a positive change in lifestyle. His talents have garnered rave reviews. When not touring he enjoys fishing and spending time with his family.

Tonto Community Concert Association

The Tonto Community Concert Association has been bringing great music to the Rim Country for more than 30 years. The association offers a wide range of performers in a multiple concert series through a basic subscription — which provides a ticket to each concert — was $90 per person for the 2012-2013 season.

Out-of-town guests, accompanied by a season ticket holder, may purchase a ticket for $15. Single Admissions tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the door, if seating is available.

Children and youth, in grade 12 and under, will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. 

The performance by the Masters of Motown will be followed by The Legacy of Floyd Cramer, 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21; Ricky Nelson Remembered, 7 p.m., Saturday, March 27; and Side Street Strutters, 7 p.m., Monday, May 6.

To learn more, call (928) 478-4363, write to Tonto Community Concert Association, P.O. Box 1711, Payson, AZ, 85547 or online visit www.tccarim.org.

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