The following news release was submitted for publication by UCR Palm Desert:
Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer and Diana Ross tribute artists will perform at the Indian Wells Theater at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.
Trina Johnson (Whitney Houston) is no stranger to the entertainment industry and has already accomplished many of her goals. Johnson was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., where she studied voice performance and theater at the UMKC Conservatory of Music. She has appeared on “The Grammy’s,” “Oprah” and the “American Music Awards” to name a few, and has also graced the stage with great entertainers from Barbra Streisand to MC Hammer.
As an actress, she also has many film, television and theater credits under her belt, appearing in projects such as “Anchorman” starring Will Ferrell, “Breakin’ All The Rules” starring Jamie Foxx, “Bringing Down The House” starring Queen Latifah and Steve Martin and Off-Broadway theater productions of “Dreamgirls,” “The Wiz” and “Vegas The Show.”
Johnson also performs around the world with celebrity band “The Family Stone” as a lead vocalist. The band features Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Jerry Martini, Gregg Errico and Cynthia Robinson from the original “Sly and the Family Stone.” As a celebrity impersonator, Johnson pays tribute to artists such as Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Diana Ross.
Gino Walker (Aretha Franklin) began singing at an early age. Born in St. Louis, Mo., she was surrounded by blues, gospel and jazz. Performing at many local clubs in Los Angeles, including The Whiskey a Go-Go, Roxy, Troubadour, Cinegrill and B.B. King’s Blues Club, Walker has found a following of fans devoted to her sound and style. She then moved on to Las Vegas, doing shows at The Flamingo, The Stardust, Mirage and The Imperial Palace.
Returning to Los Angeles, Walker created “Divas of Song” – a tribute show to Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Ella Fitzgerald. Walker says that “taking the Divas on Tour throughout the United States and Europe, and having the opportunity to support U.S. Troops overseas, was a magical moment that I will never forget.”
Walker has worked with many show business legends, including Ray Charles at the Temecula Film Festival, The Drifters and Ike Turner at the Long Beach Old School Jam, Mary Wilson, Brenda Russell and Mike Douglas, with appearances on the “Keenan Ivory Wayans Show” and the “Howard Stern Show.”
Vivian Ross-Scott (Donna Summer) is a native of Washington, D.C., and began her studies at the age of seven at the Art Linkletter School of Dance. She continued her education in dance and vocal music through her teens as she began a more formal source of training at Joan and Hayward Dance Academy. In addition, she attended the highly-acclaimed Duke Ellington School of The Performing Arts. After attending Virginia Commonwealth University on a dance scholarship, it was time to begin her journey to her destiny.
Being part of former PolyGram recording group “Shades of Lace,” a.k.a. “Lace,” was just the beginning of Ross-Scott’s journey. The dynamic trio soared to the top of the Billboard charts with their first two singles “My Love is Deep” and “Since You Came Over Me” followed by several music videos and successful CDs.
Ross-Scott has performed throughout Europe and Asia as well as the United States. She has shared the stage with many artists including Nancy Wilson, Patti La Belle, Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill and Frankie Beverly and Maze. After departing from her recording group, she began to perform as a solo artist.
Television viewers have seen Ross-Scott on “Soul Train,” “Solid Gold,” MTV, BET and “Video Soul.” Audiences have enjoyed her talent in Las Vegas-style production shows on cruise lines, Off-Broadway productions, her one-woman show and as a tribute artist to some of the world’s greatest icons -- Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Donna Summer.
Roz Thomas (Diana Ross) says that at first, it was Diana’s commanding sound that captured her ear; then there were the lyrics of those classic songs. Finally the “look.” That glamorous shroud struck her and completed the package. Thomas knew not only what her dream was, but most importantly who to pattern it from.
Thomas always sang – mostly in the church – but later began performing in talent shows. “I did Diana,” said Thomas, “and at first I wasn’t conscious of the vocal tonality; I was just performing songs I loved. As I grew and became better, I began incorporating more of Diana into the shows.” At the same time, Thomas started utilizing her costuming design talents to serve as the foundation for assembling Diana’s delicate mix and not only designed her “Diana Ross” show wardrobe, but made the gowns too. It paid off. Her friends lovingly labeled her “Ross.”
To ensure her talent stayed on course, Thomas studied music theory and enlisted the trusted vocal coaching talents of Harvey Ringel and Louis Hall at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Later she would train with respected voice producer, Ron Anderson, who has assisted such artists as Neil Diamond, Earth, Wind and Fire and, of course, Diana Ross. The preparation and work has paid off as Thomas’ career has shown a steady, continual professional climb. Her rare vocal quality has taken her to venues across Europe, Asia, Norway, Australia, Brussels, Germany, Amsterdam and Sweden with a 15-city Motown tour in England and several production shows including “Legends in Concert,” “Tribute in Concert,” “Stars in Concert” and Motown tours, with many tours nationally and internationally. On stage Thomas captures the very essence of Diana Ross with exquisite style and masterful interpretations.
Tickets for the show are $35 or $40 and can be purchased by calling the Indian Wells Theater box office at (760) 341-6909. Parking is included in the ticket price.
The Indian Wells Theater at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus is located at 37-500 Cook St.
For more information about upcoming concerts and other events, visit the Indian Wells Theater website at www.IWTheater.com.