Dianna Cole in a tribute to Womens History Month Saturday, March 19 at Mendelssohn, sang the music performed and written by the greatsElla Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Etta James, and a host of others. A powerful singer, Coles performance was exceptional. From her opening, The Way We Were to I Will Survive and I Am a Woman, she dominated the stage.
Bobbie Collins, Diannas sister, joined her for several numbers, and in a solo tribute to Mahalia Jackson, displayed the familys love of gospel. With Emily Austin, the sisters gave Amazing Grace a spine-tingling interpretation. Backup singers, Stella Adams and Lynn Sapp, in close harmony, gave depth to Diannas songs and also sang solo.
Carl Cole, musical director and pianist, led the aggregation supporting the singers with Andrew Cole on drums; Matt Ulery, bass; John Burns, guitar; and Ryan Swanson, tenor and soprano sax. It takes a special talent to accompany singers, and these gentlemen have it.
Barb Viola, program manager of Insight Communications, was special guest hostess. Members of Insight staff filmed the concert and provided a state-of-the-art sound system. Mendelssohn Auditorium is not a large space, and the balanced sound was perfect.
Dianna Coles dream has been realized. For years, she has performed with others. This concert focused on her talent and beauty. We commend her.