Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week | ®

Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week ®

Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week

Published: 01.30.2009

Cathalena E. Burch
Desert Voices / Desert Divas

Desert Voices is bringing two local blues belters along when it goes "In the Basement" for its annual fundraising concert Feb. 7.

Blues diva Lisa Otey and her Desert Diva sidekick Diane Van Deurzen headline the 20-year-old chorus' annual Cabaret and Silent Auction, which the chorus describes as "a risqué, slightly bawdy and thoroughly entertaining musical comedy event."

Otey is an award-winning singer and pianist known for her progressive blues styles. Van Deurzen has won audiences over with her vocal talents and solid songwriting.

Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Historic Y, 300 E. University Blvd. Admission is $30 per person, and the event is open to "adults only," the chorus advertised on its Web site.

Since it got its start in 1988, Desert Voices has grown to more than 50 voices under artistic director Chris Tackett.

The chorus will close its 20th season April 18-19 with Namoli Brennet headlining "Out and Proud," a 20-year retrospective. Those concerts will be held at Pima Community College West Campus. Details: 791-9662 or

Cathalena E. Burch

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Observer - Tucson, Arizona: Lisa Otey & Diane Van Deurzen to Guest Star at Desert Voices Fundraiser

The Observer - Tucson, Arizona: Lisa Otey & Diane Van Deurzen to Guest Star at Desert Voices Fundraiser

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lisa Otey & Diane Van Deurzen to Guest Star at Desert Voices Fundraiser

TUCSON (Observer Update) - Tucson performing legend, Lisa Otey and fellow Desert Diva, Diane Van Deurzen will make a special guest appearance at Desert Voices’ Annual Cabaret and Silent Auction, February 7th at the Historic Y, 300 E. University, Tucson. Doors open at 6:00 pm for, “In the Basement”, a risqué, slightly bawdy and thoroughly entertaining musical comedy event.

In celebration of their 20th season, Desert Voices has invited some of Tucson’s best performing luminaries to share the stage for 2008-2009.

Lisa Otey, described by the Arizona Daily Star as a blues/jazz diva extraordinaire, has won many awards for her progressive blues style including 2001 Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, 2001-2004 Arizona Commission on the Arts, 2000 Arizona Composer of the Year, 1998 Arizona Blues Showdown winner, 1997 TAMMIES Musician of the Year and Best Local Performing Artist of 2007.

Diane Van Deurzen’s debut CD, “I Never Knew” co-produced with Lisa Otey for Owl’s Nest Productions, is a celebration of love, passion and poetry. Diane is a performer with solid songwriting talents and a voice that is, “Warm and soothing, pouring out the lyrics with effortless control.”

All proceeds from this year’s only fundraiser will be used to help Desert Voices sustain its mission of uniting our community through our music and providing a voice for all. Since its inaugural season in 1988, Desert Voices, Arizona’s Premier GLBTS Chorus has grown to over 50 voices strong under the artistic direction of Chris Tackett.

Desert Voices will close its 20th season with, “Out and Proud”, a 20-year retrospective featuring music from twenty-five years of GALA Choruses. Special Guest, Namoli Brennet returns for these concerts, April 18th & 19th at the Proscenium Theatre, Pima Community College West Campus. For ticket information please call, (520) 791-9662.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Heather Hardy and Friends' Tribute to Sam Taylor

Tucson Weekly : Music : Live


Heather Hardy and Friends' Tribute to Sam Taylor
Boondocks Lounge, Saturday, Jan. 10

Under a full moon, more than 300 people packed into Boondocks to see electric-violinist extraordinaire Heather Hardy (and friends) pay tribute to the late Sam Taylor. Hardy and Taylor were friends and frequent collaborators, and Saturday's gig was truly inspired, with Hardy making room onstage for many of Taylor's musical friends and sidemen throughout the years.

Hardy's core band included Danny Krieger on guitar, Sabra Faulk on bass and Marx Loeb on drums, all of whom put in significant time onstage with Taylor, and all of whom had stories to share. Stories about Sam were in abundance both on and off the stage. Representing the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, Stefan George introduced the show by alluding to Sam's legendary ability to hustle money on the golf course. A former middleweight boxer, he was also a scratch golfer who didn't necessarily look the part.

Hardy's first set included Barry Stillwagon on harp as the only invited guest, but that would soon change. After opening the second set with a stirring solo rendition of "Amazing Grace" ("I need to play this so I can feel closer to Sam"), Hardy seamlessly orchestrated the comings and goings of musicians including George, Chris Leonard and Tall Paul Webner on guitars, Darren Boswell on bass, Robin Horn on drums, Lisa Otey on piano, Heidi Wilson and Clay Brown on saxophones, and Don Nottingham on vocals, sharing a duet with Hardy on "Since I Met You Baby," a song she used to sing with Taylor.

Though many of these folks are used to fronting their own bands, there was a chemistry and synergy present, often allowing the music to become more than the sum of its parts. The set was highlighted, however, by Hardy bringing her 12-year-old son, Jacob, onstage to play ("he's one badass drummer!"), and recalling how when she was unsure about being pregnant, "Sam looked at me and proclaimed, 'This is a child of God!,' and I knew then that everything would be OK."

In the end, it was Loeb who put it best: Reflecting upon all the good vibes in the room, he remarked, "What a cool gig this is. Sam would be so fucking pleased."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Desert Voices Are ‘Spectacular’

The Observer - Tucson, Arizona: Desert Voices Are ‘Spectacular’

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Desert Voices Are ‘Spectacular’

TUCSON (Observer Update) - “It was spectacular… amazing! We laughed… we cried…. So professional… the blend of sounds was beautiful! I saw you perform Silent Night two years ago…what you achieved was amazing… you could have heard a pin drop! We’re now lifetime season ticket holders!”

This is just a small sampling of audience reaction to Desert Voices’ 20th Season holiday opener, “Down the Chimney.” The concert played on consecutive nights to near-capacity audiences that made many first-time Desert Voices concert attendees--converts for life. Special Guest Star, Namoli Brennet’s elegant, wistful performance blended seamlessly with Desert Voices’ nearly 50 member chorus.

Not wanting to stand on their laurels, Desert Voices has begun preparation for their Annual Cabaret & Fundraiser, February 7 at the Historic Y. Special Guest Stars, Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deurzen will join Desert Voices for “In the Basement", a risqué, slightly bawdy and totally entertaining evening of music and comedy as Lesbian coffee house meets Gay piano bar.

Auction action on an excellent assortment of items begins at 6:00 p.m. Appetizers will be provided by Carrabba's Italian Grille with wine and champagne provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. A limited number of tickets are still available for this once a year event and may be purchased by calling (520) 791-9662. All proceeds will help Desert Voices to sustain its artistic and community mission.

Desert Voices is Arizona’s premier GLBTS Chorus. Our abiding mission is to unite our community through our music and provide a voice for those who may have no voice. Each year Desert Voices, under the artistic direction of Chris Tackett, extends a musical invitation to our community to join with us as we celebrate with programs that inspire while providing laughter and lasting memories.

For more information, please contact Jeffrey Scotland, General Manager of Desert Voices (520) 908-8740, online at