"I am a firm believer that in order to change the future you must reach/teach children (regardless of race) at an early age.
I got involved with the City of Canandaigua Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Planning Committee more than 10 years ago. Given that Canandaigua (pop. 15,000) is a city with a population of less than 1% people of color, it has been my honor to participate in this annual celebration. In addition to planning the city celebration of Dr. King's legacy, I was asked to participate in the Primary/Elementary MLK Day assembly.
Each year 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students gather in the auditorium to hear 'Miss Connie' read 'Martin's Big Words' by Doreen Rappaport. Bryan Collier's illustrations based on Flip Schulke's photographs of King are projected onto a large screen for all to see as I read the text. I follow the reading by singing the Freedom song 'Eyes On The Prize'.
This year, like so many other events, the MLK Day assembly was videotaped so students could view it at home via Zoom. My sincere thanks to Lead Teachers, Jennifer Kafka and Greg Kane, for pulling out all the stops to create the virtual assembly. I am humbled and honored to have participated in this presentation. "
Hope you enjoy it as well!
Connie Fredericks-Malone’s first love is singing the songs she heard her mother sing when she was a child. “Mom sang gospel, classical music, and jazz standards. She was often the local vocalist featured with big bands when they came through Springfield, Massachusetts during the 1950s”, says Connie. “I listened to the singers and music my parents listened to.” This experience helped her to embrace a repertoire of songs that have remained closest to her heart.
A musical theatre actress for many years, Connie developed a powerful four octave range voice that finds its way into several genres of music. She especially loves the intimacy of the cabaret club. It was in the cabaret rooms and small jazz clubs in Manhattan where she honed her nightclub performance skills.
“A well-constructed song tells a story. As an actor, I am attracted to the drama in a song. The arrangement and melody may draw my attention to a particular work, but it is always the lyrics, the story within the song, that compel me to sing it. Each song has its own personality. In order to color the note, I must understand the lyrics and the song’s intention. That is what is exciting about singing older material. These songs are rich with innuendo and subtext. Although I love jazz classics and Broadway tunes, I also enjoy singing the blues, swing, r & b and soul favorites – they all appeal to my mercurial personality.”
In 2018, Connie launched her one-woman show, Alone with My Music. Accompanied by digitally mastered backing tracks, Connie reinterprets songs made famous by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Dakota Staton, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole, Patsy Cline and many, many others. “Songs performed by these artists are loved by audiences of all ages. It is a thrill to perform them once again and to add my interpretation.”