May 10, 2012 - Songs From Mom's Biggest Fan

Mother's Day at the Jazz Depot

         To a young girl growing up in Pond Creek, Okla., New York City must’ve seemed as distant as another galaxy. But when Pam Van Dyke Crosby decided she wanted to navigate the distance and take a shot at being a star in that firmament, it was her mother that helped propel her.

            “I guess in many ways she was my biggest fan ever,” Crosby says. “She was a marvelous piano and voice teacher and my vocal coach. I was classically trained, but she played all those other songs for me, the songs by composers she loved – Gershwin, Cole Porter. I learned so many songs because of her. And when I decided that I wanted to go to New York and try to sing, she was behind me. She encouraged me.

            “She always wanted to know if I was still singing,” adds Crosby. “She looked at singing as a gift you had to give away. If you didn’t give it away, you’d lose it.”

            The singing of Crosby and several other noteworthy performers is indeed a gift, offered to the Jazz Depot audience this Mother’s Day.

            “What we’re going to do,” she explains, “is have all the people on the show give a brief remembrance of their own mothers, and maybe perform a special song about their mom. Each person will have about four songs, and they’ll include appropriate things like `What A Wonderful World,’ `Always,’ and `Tenderly.’”

            The roster includes vocalists who are no strangers to the Jazz Depot stage: Angie Cockrell, Sandy Gardner and Cynthia Simmons.

            “Cynthia,” says Crosby, “is going to be doing some Duke Ellington songs. She’s very good. She came over her from Oklahoma City about three years ago and started doing some stuff at the Jazz Depot. She’s even had her own show. Singing is kind of a lifelong dream of hers, and she loves doing it.”

            Along with Crosby, Gardner and Cockrell were featured in the Depot’s recent Cole Porter Revue, and Cockrell also just starred in her own concert there, working with pianist Chuck Gardner and his group. (Gardner is set to join his wife, Sandy, in her performance at the Mother’s Day Concert.)

            The singers will be accompanied by a trio led by pianist Steven Schrag, a young rising star in Oklahoma’s Jazz scene. 

            The Mother’s Day Concert is set to begin Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Tickets for the show can be purchased at the Depot or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.   

            The concert is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Spring Concert Series.

            The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.