Euclid singer to play Ella Fitzgerald at Women’s History Luncheon at Lake County History Center – News-Herald

Euclid voice actress Tina Stump will bring the spirit of jazz artist Ella Fitzgerald to those who gathered March 19 for the annual Women’s History Luncheon at the Lake County History Center in Painesville Township.

Stump says Fitzgerald, often called the “first lady of song,” is one of her main musical influences.

“I’ve long been fascinated by Ella’s ability to make music,” Stump said. “Not just sing it or record it, but DO it.”

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song,” will be performed by an artist at the annual Women’s History Luncheon at the Lake County History Center. (Courtesy of Lake County History Center)

But like Fitzgerald, who has worked with jazz greats from Duke Ellington to Nat King Cole, Stump accidentally got into the music world. By day she is a longtime kindergarten teacher, but by night the mezzo-soprano has been a guest soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Cleveland Opera, and has appeared in productions of Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater , Cleveland Public Theatre. and Dobama Theatre, as well as the Empire Hackney Theater in London.

“I accidentally walked into the theater when I was 14 and got off on the wrong floor of the Supplementary Center, a summer program aimed at keeping Cleveland kids off the streets,” she said.

It was then that she met a theater troupe at work and joined them to start doing musical theatre.

Fitzgerald, who won 13 Grammy Awards and sold more than 40 million albums in his lifetime, also got his start accidentally, Stump has learned. Fitzgerald was 17 and a troubled teenager during Depression-era New York when, in 1934, her name was drawn on a drawing at the Apollo Theater for the chance to perform in an amateur show. She went to the theater with the intention of dancing, but when she saw another dance performance, she made a last minute decision to sing. After singing “Judy” by Hoagy Carmichael, the audience demanded an encore and her career as a jazz singer was launched.

Although shy and embarrassed by her off-stage appearance, Fitzgerald felt at home in the spotlight, drawing her energy from the love and acceptance of her audience. She started performing at more talent shows and soon got her first job traveling with a group for $12.50 a week.

Tina Stump is flanked by Jimmie Woody, left, and Enrique Miguel in a production of “Breakout.” (Courtesy of Tina Stump)

Stump learned that when popular music shifted to bebop, Fitzgerald began using his voice to take on the role of another horn in the band. Her experiments with scat singing delighted her fans.

“Scat is my biggest challenge musically,” said Stump, who sings excerpts from Fitzgerald’s works throughout his hour-long performance.

“Scat is really very calculated,” she continued. “You have to listen to an instrument and make it work with your voice. No one can do it like Ella.

Tina Stump and Lelani Barrett are shown backstage before a production of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ (Courtesy of Tina Stump)

Stump is happy to be back performing live after portraying Fitzgerald in Zoom sessions for the past two years.

In 1991, Fitzgerald gave his last performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. Before dying in 1996 at the age of 79, she had received President Ronald Reagan’s National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement.

One of the most interesting things Stump says he learned was about the great jazz singer’s friendship with Marilyn Monroe. She will detail this in her show Women’s History Lunch. The meal includes honey mustard pretzel crusted chicken, fruit, nut and balsamic vinaigrette salad, rice pilaf and green beans with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

Women’s History Luncheon

When: March 19.

Or: Heritage Hall, Lake County History Center, 415 Riverside Drive, Painesville Township.

Tickets: $38, members; $42, non-members.

Reservations: 440-639-2945.

Deadline: March 17, 5 p.m.

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