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Here's to Edwin Hawkins.
In 1969 I traveled with a group of high school students to England, France, Holland and Belgium for six weeks. I was 16 years old and we were participating in a summer touring program called, “The American Institute of Foreign Study”, the headquarters of which was at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Although there was much more touring than studying, it was here that I was first introduced to Shakespeare. This trip was also my first flight and obviously, my first visit to a foreign country. I'm still thankful that the people of Yakima made this trip possible for me.

While I don’t remember much about our classes in Shakespeare, I do remember that I found it shocking that one of the most popular hit songs that year in Europe was, “O Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins singers. When the kids found out that I sang, they’d often beg me to sing the lead part of this song and they’d become the choir as we’d travel by bus from one place to the next. It was a big enough deal that I was the only black person from my school in Yakima, Washington representing A.C. Davis High School, but for me it was an even bigger accomplishment that a gospel choir would have a hit single at that time all over the world and people were madly in love with it.

Today we lost Edwin Hawkins, but not the music that he created and inspired in us all. Those of us growing up in the church back then loved the fact that he and Andrae Crouch had modernized the sound of gospel music and we felt we could grow musically just by playing and singing their songs. I’m indebted to both of them and will miss them both. Our prayer is that everyone will be comforted by the joy and happiness he brought to so many.
With Respect and Love- Oleta
(photo of Edwin Hawkins, Oleta and Bebe Winans Dec. 2015)
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Fun facts - Q&A with Vic Gerami of WeHo Times & Oleta (circa Sept. 2017)
Q - You celebrated your 45th year in the music industry by releasing a new collection of classic songs entitled Third Set this year. How have the changes in the music industry affected you?
A - Not as many people buy full CDs anymore. Also, because of the digital age, the world is inundated with music, so it’s harder for one person to “stand out”. People don’t have to leave home for entertainment anymore because they can see it on cable or the internet. It’s a blessing and a curse.
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Fun facts - Q&A with Vic Gerami of WeHo Times & Oleta (circa Sept. 2017) -
Q -
Modesty aside, how would you describe yourself?
A -
I’m a little fish in a big pond, but bright enough to sometimes get noticed. I’m gifted with a voice that is far bigger than I am. I’m an African American Christian woman/ wife/musician/composer/producer. I have no formal degrees except the honorary [doctorate] for which I was awarded. I’m the recipient of four Grammy Nominations, and most recently the Black Music Honors Legends Award. I have recorded nine CDs, not counting the works that I have done on other compilations. I’ve performed all over the USA, throughout Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa, South America, The Caribbean Islands, Japan, Indonesia and a few places I’ve forgotten.
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Do you have your copy of Oleta's album Third Set - Have you downloaded it? Ordered a copy? Get it here: store.cdbaby.com/cd/oletaadams1 ... See MoreSee Less

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An oldie but goodie, performing Window of Hope at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam last night.

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TOUR DATES

(click on venue)


September 22-24, 2017
Hollywood, CA
Catalina Jazz Club (Bar & Grill)


October 12 & 13, 2017
Birmingham, AL
Hoover Library Theater


October 21, 2017
Las Vegas, NV
Aliante Casino and Hotel & Spa/ Access Showroom


November 3, 2017
New York, NY
BB Kings


November 5, 2017
Alexandria, VA
The Birchmere


December 6, 2017
Doetinchem, Netherlands Schouwburg Amphion


December 8, 2017
Nijmegen, Netherlands De Vereeniging


December 9, 2017
Breda, Netherlands Chassé Theater


December 10, 2017
Den Haag, Netherlands
Circustheater


December 12, 2017
Haarlem, Netherlands
Philharmonie Grote Zaal


December 14, 2017
Veenendaal, Netherlands
De Basiliek


December 15, 2017
Bussum, Netherlands
Spant!


December 16, 2017
Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Schouwburg Orpheus


December 19, 2017
Den Bosch, Netherlands
Theater aan de ParadeGrote Zaal


December 21, 2017
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Muziekgebouw Frits Philips


December 22, 2017
Assen, Netherlands
De Bonte Wever


December 23, 2017
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Flint Theater


February 23, 2018
St. Louis, MOPowell Hall St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus


February 23, 2018
Annapolis, MD
Rams Head On Stage


March 11, 2018
Oakland, CA
Yoshi’s


April 21, 2018
Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Newcastle International Jazz Festival
Newcastle’s Show Grounds – Farmer’s Hall


May 11, 2018
South Orange, NJ
South Orange Performing Arts Center


May 12, 2018
Port Washington, NY
Landmark Theatre