The Golden Anniversary, a jubilee event, the fiftieth-year celebration is one to commemorate a milestone in life.
Such was the occasion as the legendary vocalist, Dionne Warwick, kicked off her fiftieth anniversary tour at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.
Ms. Warwick took control of the stage with chart-topping hits, including number-one hits as “A House Is Not a Home,” “Alfie,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “Say A Little Prayer,” and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” The audience added their vocal efforts when invited to join in for a thematic chorus, “What the World Needs Now is Love.”
In 1962, her first hit, “Don’t Make Me Over,” began climbing the charts. Since that time, Dionne Warwick has had over 62 hit songs.
Looking fit, healthy, and half her age, Ms. Warwick took time for an interview before rushing off to change for the evening’s performance.
“I was in college, during the period of time that I recorded and basically the year before I was to graduate, I had a hit record. Subsequently, that gave me the enthusiasm, and I thought maybe I’ll try it and see what happens. And I guess you can say the rest is history, said Warwick.”
“My grandfather and my family is part of that history. I come from a family of gospel singers my grandfather was a minister and my mother’s father was a deacon in his church. So the church played and still plays a very, very important part of my life. I have said and will continue to say I feel that my grandfather was the wisest man to walk this earth, second only to Jesus.”
She would like Santa Clarita concert-goers to experience, “fun, a lot of smiles, joy, happiness and wonderful memories, said Warwick.”
Passing on the legacy was a monumental part of the concert. Ms. Warwick was joined by her son, David, for several duets during the concert. Ms. Warwick shared that he started touring with her at age 16 as the drummer yet she didn’t realize his vocal prowess. One day he confided that he no longer wanted to be on percussion but wanted to sing. She asked pointedly, “CAN you sing?” And he replied, “Yes, I can sing.”
According to Ms. Warwick, she allowed David (his professional name is David Elliott) to open for her shows until she decided to reduce her touring schedule. Looking at his options, he decided to begin a career in the Los Angeles Police Department, ranking third in the division.
Although a noble and stellar career with LAPD,her performance had concert-goers cheering like teenagers as together they sang “Say A Little Prayer for You” and other favorites with his mother.
Although suffering from a cold which Ms. Warwick attributed to a “Christmas gift from her niece,” the Dionne Warwick hallmark sound and elegant stage presence did not let anyone down.
According to PAC board member and Dionne Warwick’s stage manager, Deanna Warrick, says ‘perseverance’ is the quality that shines through when she thinks of Dionne.
“Her perseverance and just her ability to keep going, she surprises me all the time, rain or shine, sickness, it doesn’t matter, when it’s show time, it’s show time,” shared Deanna.
As a Santa Clarita Performing Arts board member, Warrick feels strongly about bringing more top entertainers to Santa Clarita.
The Warwick concert took a year to arrange and plan with the PAC.
“I love Santa Clarita. It’s a great place to live … and I want to bring more top-tier talent here. The facility warrants top-tier artists.”
As for the Dionne Warwick concert, “I want them to take the memories…they’re just going to reminisce through the show.
And reminisce they did.
“The greatest duos in history, is Dionne Warwick, and of course, doing Burt Bacharach songs, just amazing!” said COC Board of Trustee, Scott Wilk.
Megan Guthrie-Wedemeyer, a younger generation fan, knows Dionne Warwick songs from the movies.
“I grew up watching “My Best Friends Wedding” which has “Say A Little Prayer” in it so I saw it and bought my mom tickets for Christmas, said Guthrie-Wedemeyer.”
“She has the whole couture of pop music. Songs she did with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, those are the songs of life,” said Byron Motley of Pasadena.