Many of you know The Skyliner’s very talented female vocalist Donna Groom. But did you know that Donna:
- Is a classically trained pianist with a Bachelor of Music from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, majoring in Organ with a concentration in Sacred Music.
- Toured with The Manhattan Transfer as opening act.
- Worked as Musical Director for Little Anthony and The Imperials. Acted as Vocal contractor and performer for TJL Productions “My Music” series on PBS and was contracted for post-production work on PBS shows that included recording over-dubs and vocal enhancement.
- Wrote vocal charts, and led background singer rehearsals for artists such as Frankie Valli, Frankie Avalon, Connie Francis, Pat Upton, Sonny Geraci, John Ford Coley, Lobo, Denny Lane, B.J.Thomas, Ed Ames, Patti Page, and many others.
Donna has been very busy working on an inspired musical project that salutes all American Veterans. Here’s how it came about…
“My current solo project, began as a “lightbulb” moment in 2016. While helping my Mom go through boxes in the attic, we came across a box of letters…love letters exchanged between Mom and Dad while Dad served in the Air Force in 1952. We read some of them together and Mom reminisced about that time. They were avid music fans – Mom is a wonderful pianist and sang opera and Dad played trumpet! – and they loved to dance. Mom said their favorite song from that time is “Purple Shades at Eventide”. Donna said – “I wonder if I could do something by combining the letter and the song somehow?” I also recalled a wonderful song about wartime love letters by Ketty Lester called “Love Letters Straight from the Heart”, where the title of the show found its original name – “Love Letters – Music and Letters of Wartime” (Now renamed “Voices of Veterans.) And that idea was the beginning of the Love Letters concert project, which Donna performed for the first time in October 2018. You can view a short demo of that show here: www.donnagroom.com/shows Since then, I have performed dozens of smaller versions of the show for delighted and encouraging audiences.”
“I am so excited about this show! It has taken five years to research and develop the format, which pairs letters from US Military Service men and women from all branches of service and their loved ones at home, with music from that era.
Our letters range from 1776 to today. Each pairing is a heartfelt story told by the letter and the music that accompanies it, presented in a multimedia format that includes photos and historic images that take the audience to that place and time when a soldier, sailor, marine, or aviator reached out to a loved one to connect with them across the miles that separated them. There is nothing else like this anywhere. I am so proud of it!”
Over the past years, Donna has had a chance to reconnect with Gavin Rapp, a DGA director and an award-winning independent filmmaker, whom she and her husband, Mark have known for many years. His name might sound familiar to Skyliners’ fans.
Gavin is the son of the iconic and talented vocalist, Janet Vogel Rapp, the first female vocalist in The Skyliners. Gavin’s successful 2013 film entitled, “Since I Don’t Have You” is the story about his search for the truth about his mother’s untimely suicide. (The movie is available on Amazon Prime).
Gavin has joined Donna and her dedicated team to assist in directing and producing a broadcast quality pilot production of her vision “Voices of Veterans” that will be shopped to networks such as PBS, Netflix, History Channel, Discovery, and others. It will also act as a vehicle that will allow Donna to perform the show with Pops Symphony orchestras across the United States in support and honor of our Veterans.
“With Gavin at our side, we strive to produce a show that demonstrates reverence for our Veterans and informs the audience of the sacrifices that were made along our country’s journey of freedom. We support the Voices of our Veterans and their families. We feel our production respects and honors them in a unique and emotionally moving way. I hope you will tune into a broadcast or come enjoy a show near you soon.”
“I have been playing, singing, charting and organizing music, managing musical organizations, and just generally immersing myself in the life of a professional musician since the age of 19…and all of this while touring with The Skyliners! I’m a very busy lady.”
The Skyliners featuring Donna on lead vocal will be performing “I Say a Little Prayer for You”, in honor of Dionne Warwick at the ECMHOF Induction Ceremony in June. Don’t miss it!!!