Performance in Moscow
At age 4, Katt Hefner sang before an
audience of perhaps a few dozen people
at Second Baptist Church, Ford City.
Later this week, Hefner will be singing
to a much larger audience in Moscow.
On a hectic two-day whirlwind tour,
Hefner will perform at the 16th annual
Moscow International Jazz Festival as
the featured artist with the Evgeny
Ryaboy Trio at Moscow's Hermitage
Garden. Hefner said she is very excited
and hopes she will be well received.
She added that she has already been
invited back to Russia for a two-week
tour sometime in the near future.
However, international travel and
performing before jazz loving audiences
in far flung places on the globe is
nothing new for Hefner. In 2000, she
sang at a jazz festival in Tokyo on a
three-month tour. She was also booked as
the headline performer on various
cruises visiting Denmark, England,
Norway and the Caribbean, as well as
Alaska and Hawaii. She is considering an
invitation to perform in Beijing
sometime next year.
I think music has always been part of my
life even before I was born, she
said. My mother, Juanita Carr, said that
when she was carrying me, she would play
gospel music on the stereo so that I
would hear it even in the womb. The
first solo I sang at Second Baptist was
Surely God is Able.' I was so short that
I had to stand on a box so the
congregation could see me.
Hefner's brother, Stanley Heffner
(spelled with another f) plays an
important part in his sister's career.
When we were kids, we were always
involved in something musical at Second
Baptist,he said. Our mother, who is now
83, has been the church organist since
age 11. As teenagers, we formed a band
called The Versatiles and performed for
several years. My late uncle, Frank
Tolliver, was our manager and did much
to encourage us. Later we formed a new
band, LEG, which stood for the Lower End
Gang.' After that, I enlisted in the
Navy and did a tour in Vietnam.
Heffner, a self-taught organist, has
been playing for more than 46 years.
Together, the brother and sister have
cut several CDs. Their latest is Over
and Under Blues, available through Amazon.com or CDbaby.com.
Although Heffner won't be accompanying
his sister to Russia, the duo began
producing CDs in 2010 and they are
top-rated sellers to easy listening jazz
fans around the world. They are produced
by SKATTAN Productions. Heffner said
that Skattan is an anagram for Stan and
In May 2010, my sister called me from
Florida. It was on our mother's
birthday. She said she was sending me a
few CDs to listen to and then invited me
She said we were going to the Path of
Palms Studio in Sarasota to cut a CD.
Other musicians were involved. I had
never met them, but we just clicked'
right from the start.
The brother and sister duo will perform
on Sept. 27 in Pittsburgh. They, along
with other band musicians, will perform
at the James Street Gastro Pub and
Speakeasy, 422 Foreland St., at 8 p.m.
Heffner said he expects a full-capacity
crowd and urges anyone who plans to
attend to make reservations by calling
the pub at 412-904-3335. Read
Mosow Article Site
Queen of Soul: WMNF’s Tribute to Aretha
at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in
On Monday night
at the Manatee Performing Arts Center,
Aretha Franklin was being channeled by
some of the Tampa Bay area’s best
singers! You can’t duplicate one of the
greatest artists ever, but they paid
tribute to their idol with some of the
most amazing performances seen anywhere.
This show was so professionally well
done it could have been on Broadway or
L.A., but it was at the beautiful
Manatee Performing Arts Center in
Bradenton. Stone Hall with its superb
sound and lighting was completely sold
out. Randy Wind from WMNF Community
Radio kicked the night off introducing
the cast as they hit the stage running
with the Blues Brother’s movie version
of Franklin’s 1968 hit “Think”. Dr.
Randall Morgan from Sarasota was a guest
speaker giving the audience a lesson in
the accomplishments of Ms. Franklin's
life. The show had two acts, starting
with some of Aretha’s 1960’s – 1970’s
vast catalog of hits.
Teneal took “Never Loved a Man” to start
things off with the solo performances.
Shantal Norman followed with “Do Right
Woman Do Right Man”. Sugar and Spice
brought some wild energy with “Baby I
Love You” and the rousing hit “Dr.
producer and artistic director of the
show, brought it with classic Aretha and
“Chain of Fools”! Sarasota Post writer
and local songstress Twinkle shined with
the King, Goffin, Wexler penned, (You
Make Me Feel Like) "A Natural Woman".
The Sarasota connection to Aretha was
her producer Jerry Wexler who was a
Siesta Key resident. Theo Valentin sang
the Bacharach/David written “Say A
Little Prayer” which was a hit for
Aretha and also Dionne Warwick. Blues
singer Lauren Mitchell performed a
powerful three-song set with “See Saw”,
“Good to Me”(As I am to you) which was
written by Aretha and T. White and
brought it home with a cover of The
Band’s “The Weight”
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