From the ARTS by George! Headliner
September 16, 2018
As we near the ARTS by George! benefit on September 29, we wanted you to hear straight from our amazing headliner: The Manhattan Transfer. Just this year, the vocal sensation released a new album, titled The Junction, and its members were featured in a PBS special. To say that they have been busy would be an understatement. Still, we were lucky enough to catch up with The Manhattan Transfer singer Janis Siegel for a brief Q&A session.
Janis Siegel’s voice has become one of The Manhattan Transfer’s most recognizable trademarks. She can be heard as lead singer in some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Operator,” “Birdland,” “The Boy from N.Y.C.,” and the Grammy Award®-winning “Sassy.” In addition to her work with The Manhattan Transfer, these days you can find Janis in the studio producing various ventures for other artists. She also tours with her Requinte Trio, teaches at colleges and high schools, and pays tribute to her idol in a new show called ELLA–A Life in Song.
When did you become involved with music/the arts for the first time?
J.S. I was 12 years old when I became a member of a "girl group." We were called The Young Generation and recorded for Red Bird Records.
How did you come to join The Manhattan Transfer?
J.S. I met Tim Hauser through the New York City cab that he was driving. We became friends and eventually decided, along with Laurel Massé, to reform The Manhattan Transfer with a new focus. I had never sung four-part harmony before and became totally obsessed with it.
How do you/The Manhattan Transfer members inspire the new generation of musicians?
J.S. I would hope that the sound of the harmony, the choice of material, and the sense of history and humor would inspire young musicians.
What are you looking forward to most as you prepare to perform at George Mason University's Center for the Arts?
J.S. The performing arts provide a vital link for the community-at-large to the university; they foster collaboration, understanding, and communication—so in need today. This Gala Performance gives us an opportunity to share that experience of celebrating creativity, to have some constructive impact on students to carry on tradition, to encourage and explore their thoughts, and to add to the very fabric of what music and art do: generate a creative bond to bring about positive change for young people and all of us. That's what this event does and that's why we're happy to be a part of it.
In your opinion, why are the arts important within a community and why should people support them?
J.S. Music and the arts in general are essential in any civilized society. People have found music significant in their lives throughout history for communication, celebration, mourning, dancing, and spiritual purpose.
We are grateful to Janis for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. Come see her, as well as the other fabulous members of The Manhattan Transfer, on Saturday, September 29.
What are your options?
Support the arts at Mason by purchasing a ticket to the entire ARTS by George! benefit event. Tickets are $275 and include student showcases, food and drink, the Gala Performance featuring The Manhattan Transfer, a champagne reception, and season-long recognition in all Center for the Arts performance programs. Click here to purchase.
Attend the Gala Performance only, featuring The Manhattan Transfer alongside the American Festival Pops Orchestra and the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble. Tickets to the concert portion of the evening start at $50.