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Voices Of The People - Rhenda Fearrington

Rhenda Fearrington 1Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


The Philadelphia Jazz Project continues as we carry the spirit of Philadelphia into the second weekend of July 2017. In collaboration with Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Parks On Tap and Jazz Near You, The Philadelphia Jazz Project presents: Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers; a three-day, vocal festival featuring over a dozen of Philly's finest vocal talents, including Barbara Montgomery, Rhenda Fearrington, Raimundo Santos Ella Gahnt and Lili Anel.


Originally from New York, singer/songwriter, Rhenda Fearrington delivers an authentic and warm presentation of Jazz Standards mixed with Soulful originals. Her diverse background includes service as a back-up singer for Roberta Flack and MTUME, respectively! She also spent years as a Commercial/Jingle Singer. Rhenda is also a writer published a column, for the Suburban & Wayne Times and wrote for Kids Can Press, LTD. She has performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Suzanne Roberts Theater, Center City Jazz Festival, Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center, Re-Imagining Maplewood Mall Festival, Irvine AuditoriumPainted Bride Art Center and many other venues. Rhenda writes independent blogs/reviews about the Philadelphia Jazz scene, and is currently pursuing having her children’s books published.


PJP spoke with Co-Producer/Curator, Rhenda Fearrington about her work and the Voices of the People Celebration.

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?


Fearrington: My musical direction is liken to water...that will flow through an "uncharted course", unabashedly collecting the debris of what I've known, then wash me clean for what I've yet to gather. Always, always a catharsis.


PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Rhenda Fearrington 2Fearrington: In listening to more Jazz artists, reading more on the Masters and experiencing the passion for the music through the eyes of those who are creating a multitude of platforms, through which they connect the music to the people, I would say I've become more intrigued with Art Blakey. Vocally, Billie Holiday, Carmen McCrae are huge influences; but hearing jazz phrases, or harmonies from artists such as Laura Nyro, has made me listen differently. Similarly, I learned a lot about Blakey during "Another Holiday for Skins."


PJP: Philadelphia has an enormous pool of talented musicians, what was it like to be a co-producer/co-curator for the Voices Of The People: Celebration Of Singers?



Rhenda Fearrington: I'm a fan of the saying: "We Rise By Lifting Others." I have always been someone who will put just as much effort, if not more, behind moving someone else forward, in helping them realize their dream and have that moment in the spotlight, to tell their story. So, my role for this project, is an extension of my life's passion. It is humbling. It is also rewarding to see such diversity and styles among the talent. Speaking to the enormous pool, "Better to Have and Don't Need, than to Need and don't Have. "



PJP: Why is this event important?


Rhenda Fearrington: Art has always been a vehicle for social change. This unique festival encompasses a diverse group of artists, as well as grassroots organizations representing social justice; who together, will raise critical consciousness on the importance of building community, and hopefully motivate individuals to promote social change.


PJP: What are you going to present at Voices Of The People?


Rhenda Fearrington: I will present a series of songs, originally performed and/or recorded by artists, known for their activism through their music. Artists such as Nina Simone, Carmen McCrae and the Isley Brothers, spoke up, stood up and sang out about Freedom. The Isley Brothers asked when will there be a, "Harvest for the World." Nina said her Freedom was all she had, when she had nothing else in, "Ain't Got No." Then, Carmen tells us that music is freedom, for "it is the soul of man - Giving when the words can't deceive," with "I Am Music."


PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?


VOTPRhenda Fearrington: Our theme, Freedom, is the perfect backdrop for leading the People in a rallying cry towards social change, so my intention is to engage the audience!  I'm also looking forward to working with a free-thinking and spirited Musical Director, Tom Lawton, whose suggestions could lead me out of my comfort zone!


PJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?


Fearrington: My audience must simply arrive with the understanding, that there WILL be a conversation between us. My music/voice will speak to them as if they are my friends. In the first 8 bars, I will tell them who I am. They can trust that. I am present in that moment and 'oft times, emotional in sharing it. So, I need them to be present, as well!


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Fearrington: Jazz is honest. It is without guile or pretense. It carries the embodiment of what has moved a People from despair to hope;  from slavery to Freedom, in all of its expression. Jazz is a conversation, a collective murmur of all the voices of our people. At times it could be a whisper or a rant. But the real beauty is someone will always be telling the story of a formidable tribe of people, that can't be extinguished. Even if they didn't understand the People, or love the people...they are compelled by their Story, and someone will always tell it. I will always sing other things, but why Jazz? Let me ask you...Who is not drawn to the Sun?


To keep abreast of Rhenda Fearrington's activities, check out her For The Driven, or Facebook, Twitter pages.


All Concerts July 6-8, 2017, will be held at Hatfield House, 33rd & Girard Avenue.                  


Thursday, July 6 at 7:00 PM / FREEDOM  Freedom
Featuring Lee Mo, Paul Jost, Rhenda Fearrington with Music Director: Tom Lawton




Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.




There is no formal parking lot. However, there is "some" street parking available. We urge everyone to use public transportation, or for drivers, to give themselves plenty of time to find adequate parking.



Two SEPTA Transportation Routes will get you to the Hatfield House.

  • Route 15 | Traveling along-Girard Avenue
  • Route 7 | Travels on 33rd Street

There are other routes to get to 33rd & Girard as well.
Check at the SEPTA website for more info: SEPTA


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.



Jazz Near You, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and PhillyCAM


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Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) supports, promotes, archives and celebrates the diverse elements within the Philadelphia Jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.


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