A reunion concert of Dead Divas, a tribute to the legendary ladies of song, is returning to Cazenovia from 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Catherine Cummings Theater at Cazenovia College. The event will feature local talent covering favorites from Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy, Billie Holliday, Whitney Houston, Cass Elliot, Natalie Cole and more.
“The idea to do a benefit concert centering on great female vocalists who have passed away was tossed around by my friend Robin Gara and I, and we decided to give it a try four years ago. The last Dead Diva concert turned out to be a huge success and a fun night, so we wanted to bring it back,” said Colleen Prossner, theater operations manager at the Catherine Cummings Theater. “The idea was to create great music … a celebration of song and dance with live performances as a way to honor Brian’s memory.”
Hosting this year’s event will be Brian Gara, Jr., son of Brian Gara, and Charlie Wason, a lifelong friend.
The two-hour show will feature many vocalists from the last Dead Diva concert including Carmine Chavarria, Lesley Koerner Lepine, Maggie Dougherty, Brenna Dougherty, Colleen Prossner, Gerry Wason, Brian’s wife Robin, Grace Gara, Faith Gara, Brian’s sister Bridget Stone and nieces Hayley, Hanna, and Lindsey Stone from Rochester, and Jazz dancer Hannah Wallinger from Connecticut. The live band features Tom Witkowski on piano, Jason Jeffers on drums and Sean Peters on Bass.
Brian Gara is remembered for his love of music, dedication to his family and community, and coaching hockey and baseball.
A $20 donation is suggested. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 655-STAR, at Cazenovia Jewelry or LillieBean on Albany Street, and at the door.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Brian R. Gara Memorial Hockey Scholarship, a monetary award presented annually to a graduating Cazenovia varsity hockey player, who exemplifies the qualities that Brian promoted – a sense of humor, passion for hockey and commitment to school and community.
Brian R. Gara (1964-2013) was a 1982 graduate of Cazenovia High School and captained the ice hockey team that claimed Cazenovia’s first Sectional title. His passion for hockey led him into a remarkable coaching career including programs such as Cazenovia Youth Hockey, Center State and the Syracuse Stars, winning three state titles. Brian was inducted into the Cazenovia Lakers Athletic Hall of Fame posthumously in 2016.
The Catherine Cummings Theater is located on 16 Lincklaen St., Cazenovia. For more information contact Colleen Prossner, email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.