FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The dynamite veteran vocal group known as The Bob Russell Singers, headed by showbiz dynamic duo Bob and Kathy Russell, are to perform April 20 at this year’s Jazz Festival in New York City.
This invitation-only event will feature five vocal groups and five instrumental groups from across the United States at the Lincoln Center.
In addition to their solo act at this national showcase, The Bob Russell Singers will also join a large ensemble of jazz singers in an incredible performance directed by a professional New York conductor.
“I did not realize how big a deal it was until we got further involved in it,” said Kathy Russell, one of the founders and full-time members of the group.
This newly-established jazz vocalist group has been together for roughly a year and consists of six men and six women.
For the most part the singers are seniors 55 years or older. However, the youngest member of The Bob Russell Singers, Ginny Gregory, is around 30 years old and is extremely dedicated.
“Ginny socializes and sings with us and always says she doesn’t feel like she’s out with senior citizens,” Russell said.
Even though there is one gentleman who can sing and play the guitar, The Bob Russell Singers namely do not use instruments.
Kathy and Bob Russell are originally from California but have been in living in Cumming for nine years.
Bob Russell was a marching band teacher for 47 years and even had one of his high school marching bands win the Marching Band of America championship in the late seventies.
Bob has an extensive career as a music conductor, pianist and vocal arranger while Kathy does most of the administrative work for their musical endeavors as well as sing.
Several of the vocalists in The Bob Russell Singers double as performers for the highly successful entertainment group, the Senior Follies, also founded by Kathy and Bob Russell and based in Cumming.
The Senior Follies have been a sensation for four years now, each year topping the show before at the Cumming Playhouse. They feature various genres of music performed by 55-year-old people and up.
The Senior Follies average eleven performances and sell out for each, often having to turn people away to see these invigorating entertainers.
Russell acknowledged the members as a mixture of “performers from the past who don’t have the opportunity to perform anymore and others who started blossoming because of the follies.”
One of the many highlights of the Senior Follies is the showgirls between the ages of 55 and 80.
“When they get into their costumes it’s inspiring to see their talent. These people don’t think that they are seniors, they think they are just enjoying life and living it to the fullest,” Russell noted.
Due to their invitation to the Jazz Festival in NYC, the Senior Follies will be taking this year off as two shows would be have been too much to juggle for the directors and cast members.
The Senior Follies will return next year with theme of The Golden Age of Television.
This article was published in the Forsyth Herald April 10, 2013 edition