Broadway veteran Lynnie Godfrey creates children’s chorus

Click the image to watch the video!

(This article was originally published by 69 News)

Broadway, film and television veteran Lynnie Godfrey visited 69 News Saturday morning.

She currently lives in the Lehigh Valley, but directs and performs in New York and around the country.

When she learned how little music education was available to students in Allentown, she decided to launch a children’s chorus – which is free of charge to the members and is funded, in part, through a grant from the Allentown School District.

Auditions were held in February and students have been rehearsing since then.

Children range in age from 6-12 years old and there will be 15 performing at the concert.

Click here to watch the video

LYNNIE GODFREY TO APPEAR IN ALLENTOWN IN TWO VERY DIFFERENT EVENTS

After not appearing in the Lehigh Valley for a couple of years, Lynnie Godfrey will perform in TWO very different appearances right around Holiday time. Try to make both….At Symphony Hall on Friday, November 30, 2018 and at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Friday, Dec.7, 2018. (see EVENTS for times and ticket prices)

The first appearance is a fund raiser for one of her favorite venues:ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY HALL. The space is quite limited only 50 to 60 seats…The Symphony has built a million dollar plus LYRIC ROOM and have asked Ms. Godfrey to open it. What a privilege ! With this appearance Ms.Godfrey becomes the ONLY performer thus far to appear in the All performance spaces in the HALL…the Rodale Room for the Jazz Series, the Main Hall for the POP series and now to open the LYRIC ROOM. Her scheduled set will include her favorite standards and surprises for the audience by a special guest or even guests.
ONE NIGHT ONLY AT THIS VENUE !
The second appearance:COME SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH LYNNIE GODFREY AND THE ACCC. This performance is shared with her beloved ALLENTOWN’S CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS CHORUS and will feature a Christmas program ONLY.
ONE NIGHT ONLY AT THIS VENUE !
!!Purchase tickets ($5.00 -$20.00) at the door.

Classical: Lynnie Godfrey sings with Allentown Symphony Orchestra

red-dress-gold-robeIt’s been nearly six years since Broadway, television and film actress and singer Lynnie Godfrey traded the high-energy hustle of New York City for the relative tranquility of Lowhill Township. Yet the Harlem native had other goals in mind than a quiet retirement when she arrived here. One of them was to bring the sassy sizzle of a big city-style cabaret to her new home.

Godfrey’s first area gig, at the Fowler Blast Furnace Room at SteelStacks in November 2011, was a rousing, sold-out success. She’s since followed that performance with numerous other cabaret-style concerts, play readings, two CDs and a book, “Lynnie Godfrey: Sharing Lessons Learned While Seeking the Spotlight.” Her rich, creamy voice has been accompanied by such talented local musicians as Dave Roper, Craig Kastelnik, Kevin O’Connell, Neil Wetzel, Gary Rissmiller and Greg Eichler…

Read full article here: Classical: Lynnie Godfrey sings with Allentown Symphony Orchestra

 

Awesome Snow Storm Thwarts All Efforts for The Snow Queen: Lynnie Godfrey to Perform with Symphony Orchestra in Allentown, PA

Lynnie Godfrey as “The Snow Queen” with actor Ashton Holmes Photo by Timothy H. Raab

Lynnie Godfrey as “The Snow Queen” with actor Ashton Holmes
Photo by Timothy H. Raab

There is NO GOD like GOD and if you want to hear GOD laugh say that YOU have a plan.

I guess you say what a funny way to start a piece of writing…but it applies. I should start by saying that around 1998 I was introduced to the role of the magical Hans Christian Anderson fairy queen: SNOW QUEEN and performed that role for several years and may reprise it in the future.

As I referred to my calendar book of 2015 I see the date Thursday, January 22 at 1 PM as the first gathering of the team that would compose the performance event of LYYNIE GODFREY CARESSES THE STANDARDS. (Yes, that was the original title). The team: Ron Demkee, Ken Moyer, Donna Fritchney, Diane Wintry and myself…(Sheila Evans, the Executive Director couldn’t make it that day) gathered that day.

There we sat around an nondiscript round table hashing out the beginning of what would be a year long journey to the January 23, 2016… Full Orchestra concert for Lynnie Godfrey. Our conversation was rapid and enthusiastic and many things were not touched on but we all knew it would be an event.

Many changes occurred: the Executive Principles decided that the wording CARESSES was too provocative so after a bit of consultation I presented them with the alternative of EMBRACES. Quite frankly, the title will always be LYNNIE GODFREY CARESSES THE STANDARDS wherever else we go (and we’ve tested it and everyone else loved it!) because that is what we are doing on that stage!!

2016 was a banner year for me.. I started on the plans of the concert, I would come to direct 2 readings, travel to engage theatrical interest in the plays, rehearse for the concert and write a book.. It was like 1933 for Ethel Waters when she started singing “STORMY WEATHER” written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler under the musical direction of Duke Ellington at the famed Cotton Club and then was on star on Broadway in the Irving Berlin hit: “AS THOUSANDS CHEER” and to sing the two classics “ HEAT WAVE” and ‘SUPPERTIME” both written exclusively for her.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not comparing myself to the great WATERS…. just the run of work of the two of us. What a YEAR!!! But not all that year was great…

During the summer I would become increasing concerned with the health of my last blood relative in my family nucleus…Jo-Ann. I would make efforts to transfer her from her sweet Randolph, NJ cottage-like apartment to the Lehigh Valley to monitor her health more carefully. You see Jo-Ann suffered from muscular dystrophy and had had it for 54 years and in the last 18 months it was progressing very quickly leaving her bed bound. October 4, I was invited to a cabaret performance of one of my lovely actors and colleagues:  Alexander Foucard in New York. Jo-Ann had been sleeping a lot and reaching her on the phone was becoming increasingly difficult. I talked to her earlier in the day and then it became difficult to reach her (I liked to call her about 4 to 5 times a day). Just as I began to worry about her she answered the phone and told me to “You go on to New York, don’t send Carl over, I’m just sleeping today”. So I went riding with my friend Melba Tolliver to New York. We had a little supper with her friend Hans and then attended the performance. There must have been some difficulty with the mechanics because they started quite late. That meant I would get home late.

As was my practice I always called Jo-Ann on my return…I thought it was too late and I would call in the morning not to wake her up. Strangely my phone rang at 12:50 from her but because it was in the back seat in my purse I missed the call. I immediately reached back and retrieved the phone and tried several times to call Jo-Ann back but her battery had died on BOTH phones…landline and mobile. I decided I would go first thing in the morning…take that 100 mile trip and fuss at my dear for letting the battery die and then stock her with food and make sure she was secure.

None of that was to be, for as I arrived at her place the next morning I got no answer to my regular cry:” Jo…It’s me”. Too extreme and terrifying silence I walked into her bedroom to find my sweet girl GONE…with the television on…the phone in one hand and the check writing bills in the other. Attempts by me and the paramedics to revive her failed…I was and still am (as I relive those moments) devastated…My Josie was gone…

My life was changed forever!!!!

Months, days and minutes that followed were a blur of grief and work…work…work  to escape the pain of loss…

Fast forward to the month of December… rehearsals are going forward, the final of the book was due…all good to keep me…my mind busy… busy after losing my Jo…

Now January is upon us…television, radio, newspaper and live appearances the concert and book signings are being done. The weather looks grand and then about a week before a disturbing forecast: Snow…

Well …It is Thursday, January 21..we have a great rehearsal but now on my phone I am receiving notices that businesses are cancelling their performances for the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our year-long effort was in jeopardy… Now at 4:30 on Thursday, the Governor declared a state of emergency status for Pennsylvania. I was not aware of that…I was being told by Symphony we would be put in a hotel on Friday as planned and then walk across the street and perform. Then more weather reports: not just a storm but a winter north eastern blizzard to say the least… Well, then came the phone call about not a cancellation but a POSTPONEMENT until Saturday, August 27 @ 7:30. A good date for a performance…after Musikfest at Arts Quest which I love to attend and before the last breath of summer Labor Day…Not bad…not a bad date at all.

Relief that everyone would be safe in their homes and the stress to try to make unsafe trips is off their minds and my mind. My audience and me …we are all safe…so it’s grand!!!

Then, came floods of calls: Will you perform before that? Will you accept a New York date offered before?.… What about the scouts/representatives that were coming to book you elsewhere…won’t you miss that chance?

Well…first, I believe one does not miss anything…if it is for you GOD will make a way. The representatives from other places will see me and the opportunities will come…faith…stepping out on a staircase that you don’t see… A date In New York…cannot do… contractually obligated to Symphony until after August 27 so NO!!!No New York gig right now.

Now it the time to do more book signing to promote the book, travel to book the plays, cast and rehearse for the play reading of…. LOIS”S WEDDING by Bathsheba Monk, the reading due Monday, March 21, 2016 and then rehearse for the summer event of my YEAR… SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2016 @ 7:30…SEE YOU THIS SUMMER!!!!

Great Article in The Morning Call by Dave Howell

Concerts, plays and a new book keep Lynnie Godfrey on a happy whirlwind

Lynnie Godfrey has hit the Lehigh Valley like a whirlwind since she moved here five years ago, with sold-out jazz cabaret shows at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, concerts and play readings at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks, two CDs, and, on Jan. 23, a pops series concert with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

Godfrey is the same onstage or off, full of warmth and vitality. In a conversation at the Hotel Bethlehem, she calls the pops concert one of the highlights of a long career that has included Broadway, film, and television.

“Working with an orchestra on this level is wonderful,” she says. The songs span the years 1926 to 1973, and include “Lush Life,” “Send In the Clowns,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

Read full article here: http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/music/mc-lynnie-godfrey-allentown-symphony-20160114-story.html 

Mother and Daughter

mother-daughterMaggie Mae Wood Godfrey  in 1945 and her Daughter Caroline Lynnie Godfrey Lee at a commercial shoot on November 3, 2015

What is Happening????

Don’t ask…Look at the calendar page and you will see how blessed I am with projects…But the one that has touched my heart and soul lately is the MEMOIR PROJECT…Yes, that is right  I am working on a writing project with Bathsheba Monk and  she and the project have sent me searching for ME! What a trip that has been. Thank you Bathsheba for making me dig and find all of those MEs..The younger one, the youngest one, the silly one, the stupidly arrogant one…You brought me back there and yanked me forward to now all in one visit. I found ME!! How great was that. I hope this writing of this book helps some…after all that is what it is for.

Why do it???Why not!!WHY NOT!!!!!

Dynamic play reading directed by local resident going to NYC

Unentitled Cast Top Left to Right: CB Murray, Ron Scott, Charles White, Anthony Goss, Cole Taylor, Justin Walker White,  Bottom Left to Right: Brenda Thomas Denmark, Alexandra Foucard, Lynnie Godfrey, Jalene Goodwin

Unentitled Cast
Top Left to Right: CB Murray, Ron Scott, Charles White, Anthony Goss, Cole Taylor, Justin Walker White,
Bottom Left to Right: Brenda Thomas Denmark, Alexandra Foucard, Lynnie Godfrey, Jalene Goodwin

By Ewuradjoa Dawson

BETHLEHEM, PA -The upper level of the ArtsQuest Center was abuzz with chatter Tuesday night as people gathered with drinks in hand anxious to view Charles White’s original play, Unentitled.

“Dynamic!” was the unanimous take away from the audience. You could hear that word tossed around during intermission and again during Q&A.

The play’s backdrop is one many are familiar with. Set in 2008 at the brink of national recession when job security, financial stability, and a historic election consumed the minds of Americans. Unentitled addresses themes of family unity when things go awry.

“It’s a slice of African American life we don’t get to see,” says White. “We’re either thugs or gangsters or extremely perfect. But here are regular people with regular people problems.”

In the play, Patriarch Frank Saunders, played by Ron Scott, is a successful lawyer one promotion away from becoming partner when he is abruptly laid off. Frank sees this as opportunity to revisit a 20-year-old business venture to start a sports agency. Much to the disapproval of his socialite wife Deanna –played by Alexandra Foucard –whose family vacation home may be on the line.

Although not autobiographical, White shares some similarities with Frank having gone to law school and worked in corporate America before pursuing his desire to be a playwright.

The 5 year labor of love could not be without the support of Lehigh Valley resident, Director Lynnie Godfrey.

“I once heard that you should make your plays director proof because directors will ruin your vision. That is not the case! She [Godfrey] was a marvelous director, wonderful to work with” says White.

Award winning actor and director, Godfrey wants to introduce spoken word theatre to the Lehigh Valley. The striped down spoken word reading was a hit among the lively audience who described the reading as impressive and fierce.

Unentitled has been paralleled to the momentous Raisin in the Sun. What happens when the upper middle class black family is challenged? Do they cling to sentiment and status or clasp to strategy and survival?

Both Godfrey and White express a willingness to allow the play to evolve.

“When you live with it as long as I have its all really flat, so you look to the audience for their reaction,” says White.

When asked, “What’s next?” Godfrey energetically responses, “There will be a next! We’re hoping that there will be a similar reading in New York City followed by a workshop.”

White’s Unentitled was produced by ArtsQuest and GodLee Entertainment, Inc. with special thanks to Air Products.

Lynnie Godfrey: Spending the Holidays with Lynnie Godfrey

by George W. Harris

888295154659.600x600-75If you want a little swing in your Christmas stocking, here’s a nice one for you. Vocalist Lynnie Godfrey teams up with Roger Latzgo/p-g, Neil Wetzel/sax-fl, Anthony Marino/b and Gary Rissmiller/dr as the main team on this collection of traditional Natal tunes. Her mezzo soprano voice has a warm vibrato, and she knows how to step up to the plate with some bopping on ”Let it Snow” but can also keep it soft and gentle with Wtzel’s sax on the fragrant “Winter Wonderland.” She gets coy with Marino on “Santa Baby,” but saves the best for a wonderfully intimate duet with Latzgo on “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” Enjoyable in season and out! www.lynniegodfrey.com

Originally published here: http://www.jazzweekly.com/2014/12/lynnie-godfrey-spending-the-holidays-with-lynnie-godfrey/

CONVERSATIONS WITH A PROTECTED CHILD

One might wonder about the title of my first foray into dialogue through the social media…What is a “protected” child?

Well, let me explain as much as I as can? As a child of my generation …a child of the ‘the greatest generation’ I was protected from the vicious, venomous reaches of racism by two parents who employed the tactics of a military general.

I was an adult on the set of the Norman Lear Television series I starred in called 704 Hauser before I discovered I was protected. The unaired episode was discussing the ways Black parents of the 1940s, 1950s and even 1960s sheltered their children from the indignities of racisms. It hit me on a break that my parents had practiced this and I was never aware of it. Sadly my Father (Fred Godfrey) had passed away from the aftereffects of an abdominal aneurysm months before; however my Mother (Maggie Godfrey) was still alive. I rushed to the phone and posed the question to my sweet ailing, fiery Mother… ”Mom, did you create picnics and events on our trips to protect me from thinking or finding out that I was …no we were not welcome somewhere?” There was a silence and then an uncharacteristic “Uh huh” with a slight break in her voice…Tears immediately came to my eyes, for I know that even then my Mother never wanted me to think I was not allowed to do anything any other child could do. She was still  protecting  me.

Then a rush of memories came to my mind that over those formative years where My Mother and her friends… Black and White had protected me from the harsh stares and whispers.

I will recall one event….  My Mother’s  Jewish friend and customer Rhoda Lipoff of Englewood, New Jersey invited me with her daughter Lisa and Laurie (I think Laurie was home that day) to swim in the building pool downstairs. I remember my Mother’s funny hesitancy to have me participate. I thought ‘Oh, she’s afraid, because I really don’t know how to swim” She needn’t have worried about my swimming safety or my getting my hair wet because I was never going out of the shallow water and never putting my newly pressed hair under water…. 🙂

No …My Mother knew the women in that building, some of these same women being the product of racism at its worse decades before…but there was no desire to have their pool shared with any child that did share their same color unless the child’s parents were celebrities…maybe.

My Mother’s friend assured her fears by saying…”Oh no worries…I am going down with the girls”. I remember the stern looks displayed and then the those same looks vanished as the over powering presence (silently, of course) of Rhoda, made it perfectly clear she was ready to confront each and every one of them and their husbands if a moment of discomfort occurred. I saw it but paid no attention…I never thought it had to do with me…I was truly a product of childhood naiveté.

How I wish today I could hug and kiss both of these ladies for their bravery and love. That is not to be…. for my Mother passed away in 1996 and her friend Rhoda is still alive but is now the victim of Alzheimer’s as her loving family surrounds her; recognizes none of them. My hug and kiss would go unrecognized.

Yes, as I recall these stories I know there are countless more that can be discussed and recorded. SO here is my point…I was protected as a child…now it is my turn to protect…even if it is wanted or not.

My husband, Carl is a Mathematic genius in his own right, but has no patience or very little patience. When he decided to tutor children in our area…I thought…”Oh My”… But he returned home from his first session, he was exuberant, talkative and concerned but not inpatient. His concern was that many or most the children in this lovely program were without fundamentals. You know those things that teach reasoning and deduction in life.  The children did not know their multiplication table. Now as any adults now should be able to tell you, multiplication tables are memorization…but they teach us other things. They teach how to reach solutions, deductions, reasoning etc. Our children are entering our society and are not equipped to deal with the challenges…Why? Many reasons…

Budget cuts, no job incentives given to teachers…but what is our solution…I can type here and type a number of reasons…We need solutions. Let us protect our children as we were protected…ALL our children… All COLORS AND RACES… to rephrase a Beatle tune…

HELP! We need somebody

Please just everybody…HELP!!!

So, I invite a conversation…from those of you on line…teachers, parents, insightful adults…Where do we go from here?

Let us find some solutions

Let us have a conversation….share some of your protection stories…Let us find an answer for the CHILDREN!!!!

Write me on twitter @ #lynniegodfrey