Joey English as Mistress of Ceremonies
By Pamela Bieri
One of the Coachella Valley’s most respected musicians, radio hosts, event promotor and champion of his fellow musicians, jimi FITZ Fitzgerald, will be honored at Steinway Society of Riverside County’s Bravo Children in Music event, Sunday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m. at The Classic Club. Tickets are $160 per person and available through the website, www.steinwayriverside.org or by calling 760-341-4130.
“Fitz is such a well-known personality for his longtime radio music programs, producing Fitz’s Jazz Café at the McCallum Theatre for 20 years, his songwriting and well received albums, and his bringing all his local musician friends together for two back-to-back memorable Fitz and Friends at the McCallum a few years ago, as well as producing the Gardens on El Paseo charity series for 17 years and raising more than $1 million for local charities,” said Steinway founder/CEO Ruth Moir. “But most of all, his putting the spotlight on local musicians has truly encouraged and inspired young people to pursue their music careers. Honoring Fitz with the Bravo award is fitting with Steinway’s mission to ‘bring music to children.’”
Fitz’ eclectic recording and performing career is only one part of his life as a music Renaissance man, which includes successful stints as an award winning radio and TV personality, concert promoter, producer and director for NBC Radio and Television, Showtime Cable Network, Lifetime Television, MTV, ABC Radio Network, Sony and Westwood One among others.
Together with his wife, Wendy Jane, the songwriting duo has produced numerous TV specials, concert events, records and albums the latest of which is his jimi FITZ “NO EASY WAY OUT.” The new full-length album of eight original songs includes their “WHO ARE WE,” a self-reflective patriotic song, and marks a creative breakthrough for this well-traveled artist.
Among many accolades, in 2019 Fitz received the Pioneer Award at Coachella Valley Weekly’s Music Awards event, its last live event before the pandemic. He was also two-time nominee for Best Adult Contemporary Artist.
“I’m encouraged to see more and more young people discovering and responding to the greats of early rock like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Bob Dylan,” said Fitz. “They’re creating music the way it used to be made, singing important lyrics that demand to be heard and responded to. I’m honored to receive this recognition from The Steinway Society and to call attention to the wonderful work they do to inspire and motivate up-and-coming musicians.”
Currently Fitz can be heard on his nationally syndicated program, originating here in the desert, with details at www.CryptoFitz.io.
In addition to Fitz, singer/actress/radio show host Joey English brings her enthusiasm, warmth and beauty to Bravo as Mistress of Ceremonies.
“We are delighted to have Joey English set the tone for Bravo as our Mistress of Ceremonies,” said Moir. “Joey has been a huge supporter of Steinway over the years. Her mantra of ‘wear red and eat chocolate,’ reflect her gracious and warm personality.”
Highlights of Miss Joey English’s career performing in nightclubs, theatres and on television include 28 years of singing as an opening act for such stars as George Burns, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Rodney Dangerfield. English has appeared numerous times on such classic programs as “The Dinah Shore Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” and “The Mike Douglas Show.” A published writer, a sought-after speaker, radio talk show host and the emcee of many premier events in the Coachella Valley, she has earned the moniker, “Voice of the Desert.”
Special musical entertainment will feature Steinway’s “Ukesters” (youngsters on ukuleles), led by Jeanie Cunningham, Steinway’s school music program director, as well as piano performances by several of Steinway’s Festival Piano Awards winners – along with other surprise entertainment.
Steinway’s Bravo event not only raises funds for the organization’s in- and after-school music programs – such as hands-on piano and ukulele labs, live concerts, in-class music education programs – it also funds the Festival Awards Piano Competition for local youngsters learning and mastering classical music. The Festival takes place March 5 for juniors (ages 7-12) and March 12 for seniors (ages 13-18) at Xavier Preparatory High School, and the Winners Concert is May 3, 7 p.m. at the Rancho Mirage Library. Both events are free and open to the public.
“We know that music is essential to children’s emotional and intellectual development,” said Moir. “Music develops creative thinking, imagination and curiosity. It helps in developing language and reasoning skills. Learning to play a musical instrument increases coordination and discipline and promotes a sense of achievement and self-confidence.”
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, SSRC has been providing free music education to all three Coachella Valley school districts since 2002. For more information, to purchase Bravo tickets or become a donor, visit http://steinwayriverside.org or call (760) 341-4130.