Peggy Lee tributes in the area tomorrow and SaturdaySinger, writer and performer extraordinaire, Peggy Lee (Norma Deloris Egstrom) was born in Jamestown on May 26, 1920. Her 92nd birthday will be commemorated tomorrow and Saturday by several groups in several cities using several means of celebration. The public is invited to attend any or all of them.
By: Sharon Cox, The Jamestown Sun
Singer, writer and performer extraordinaire, Peggy Lee (Norma Deloris Egstrom) was born in Jamestown on May 26, 1920. Her 92nd birthday will be commemorated tomorrow and Saturday by several groups in several cities using several means of celebration. The public is invited to attend any or all of them.
A “Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee,” a concert by celebrated Los Angeles cabaret singer Stacy Sullivan and Combo, will on Friday at 7:30 p.m. take the stage in Reiland Fine Arts Center DeNault Auditorium, on the campus of Jamestown College.
During Friday’s concert, jazz pianist Jon Weber and Steve Dole on bass, will accompany Sullivan as they debut a song Lee wrote in 1980: “The Folks Back Home.” It was not released during Lee’s lifetime, nor recorded. This will be the first time it is performed before a live audience, and that it has its first stage life in Jamestown is so appropriate. This after all was Norma Egstrom’s “folks” and her home — were here.
Guests during Friday’s evening include Peggy Lee’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. According to Katherine Stevenson, who does an awesome Peggy Lee impression of the singer’s most memorable works, this will be a time to show support for Lee’s family and to honor Lee’s memory.
“All three of Peggy Lee’s grandchildren will be here,” Stevenson said, “including Holly Foster Wells, who is vice-president of Peggy Lee Associates, LLC, out of Los Angeles.” Stevenson said it will be her first visit to her grandmother’s birthplace in Jamestown.
When Wells learned Sullivan would be doing the tribute for her grandmother, she praised the singer and musicians.
“I enjoy every minute of Stacy Sullivan’s tribute to my grandmother,” she said, adding that she liked how Sullivan and her combo stayed away from any sort of imitation of the Peggy Lee selections. They “put their own unique spin on each song,” she said, “from the thoughtful selection and the creative arrangement. I found myself listening to the songs as if hearing them for the first time.”
During this event, the Reiland gallery will be a tour through Lee’s life in Jamestown, Wimbledon, Valley City and her tours west into California.
At 11 a.m. on Saturday in Wimbledon, the newly renovated Wimbledon Midland Continental Railroad Depot will host a grand opening with the Peggy Lee program scheduled there. That event is free and includes tours, picnic lunch and of course the music.
Stevenson, a Jamestown native daughter and singer of Peggy Lee’s music, gave a concert last week in Ellendale at the Opera House. She has for a decade been instrumental in getting the great Big Band Era singer’s family here in Jamestown.
Everyone is invited to join in celebrations this weekend to remember the beautiful and talented Norma Egstrom we so proudly know as the renown singer, Peggy Lee.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.