Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gretchen Everhart, Stevie Wonder's former teacher speaks

Audience members tapped their feet and sang along to the songs of Stevie Wonder, as the musician's one time teacher told stories about his time with the famous songwriter.
Tim Hull, who taught Wonder in the 1960s from fifth grade to high school graduation, spoke Tuesday at Gretchen Everhart School to a room of more than 50 particular education teachers and music lovers.
Hull traveled from his home in Tampa after being asked by student Colleen Morrissey, who is studying exceptional student education at Florida State University.
Morrissey read Hull's book "The Wonder Years: My Life and Times with Stevie Wonder" for a class grant and was inspired to bring the author to Tallahassee to speak about teaching the visually impaired musician.
Hull, who is legally blind, explained that he was asked to privately teach Wonder while Wonder traveled on tour because of his experience in teaching blind children in Detroit. He later became Wonder's tour manager.
"I wanted to learn about the techniques he used with Stevie Wonder," Mickey Damelio, a teacher of the visually impaired, said about attending the event.
Particular education teacher Barbara Donaldson said she wanted to hear Hull tell his story.
"He gave a historical perspective of the '60s and talked about how he was able to overcome all obstacles," she said.
Linda Jones read a Braille excerpt of Hull's book to the pair. She read about two traveling around the world and the prejudices they faced being a white teacher with a black student.
"Tim's book is not only about his time with Stevie, but gives us a personal up-front view of the '60s," Jones said.
Hull spoke fondly about his time with his student and friend, but vividly remembered his favorite times; listening to Wonder sing and record music.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pre Rock Hall Tour Stevie Wonder Lines Up

Fresh off a celebrated performance at VH1 Divas last week, Stevie Wonder has booked a line up of shows leading up to his anticipated appearance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary celebration. Set to kick off October 22, Wonder's short tour will make stops in Mashantucket, CT and Verona, NY before wrapping up October 25 in Norfolk, VA.As confirmed earlier this year, Wonder will join Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin and U2 at the two-day 25th Anniversary celebration of Rock and Roll October 29 and 30 in New York.Proceeds from the shows will go toward creating a permanent endowment for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and Museum. According to arrangers, the concerts will be curated by Tom Hanks, Jann Wenner, Robbie Robertson and Cameron Crowe, among others and will include both live and filmed segments to help tell the story of rock and roll.Tour Itinerary:October 22 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand at FoxwoodsOctober 23 - Verona, NY - Event Center at Turning Stone Resort CasinoOctober 25 - Norfolk, VA - Constant Convocation CenterOctober 29 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tickets to Stevie Wonder's Norfolk show go on sale Friday

Pop and R&B legend Stevie Wonder has not frequented Hampton Roads stages in current years, but he seems to finally be cruising in this direction.Today, officials announce that Wonder will play 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, performing a show titled "A Wonder Autumn Night." Tickets go on sale Friday from the Constant Center Box Office, by calling 888-3-COXTIX, and through Prices have not been announced.It's to be one of a handful of concerts Wonder has performed in the region over the last 20 years. Wonder played Hampton Coliseum in 1982 and has appeared here infrequently since.The show's title spins off the 59 year old singer's DVD "Live at Last: A Wonder Summer's Night," which was released in March. The concert document was filmed Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2008, at London's O2 Arena. In April, Wonder performed for a family on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," where he sang a customized version of his tune "I Just Called To Say I Love You." That's one of Wonder's 46 top 40 hits, which include "Fingertips Pt. 2," "Superstition," "I Wish" and "Sir Duke." Among other Wonder favorites are "Higher Ground" and "My Cherie Amour."

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

the X Factor's approval to Wonder boy Olly wins

HE may be have caught the nation’s attention on the X Factor, but he’s not too big to remember his mates.
Witham man Olly Murs is all anyone can talk about in the town after his appearance on Saturday night’s TV show.
The 25 year old knocked the socks off Simon Cowell, who has a reputation for viciously honest criticism, as well as fellow judges Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole.
Cowell, on seeing Olly’s performance of the Stevie Wonder hit Superstition, described him as “very, very, very cool”.
When it came to voting, Cowell said: “This is the easiest ‘yes’ I have ever given.”
Cheryl described him as a “natural born entertainer”.
But Witham friends of Olly say he has kept in close contact, not forgetting his roots.
He visited both his footballing mates and his local pub on Saturday night.
John Fisher, landlord of the George, said Olly is an “easy go lucky guy” who they were all rooting for.
Mr Fisher first noticed Olly two years ago when he was beatboxing in the pub.
He said: “What you saw on Saturday is what you get, he’s such a nice kid.
“I would be surprised if anyone had a bad word to say about him, unless they were jealous.”
Olly plays regularly at the pub with his friend Jonathan Goodey, he said.
Tony Last, chairman of Witham Town Football Club, where Olly used to play as a centre forward, said: “He came up and saw us, he’s not too big for that. We asked him how he got on and he said, ‘you’ve got to watch it’.”
The customer advisor for Climate Energy, on Witham’s Freebournes Road, reportedly tried for X Factor before, but was knocked back by the judges.
He also appeared on the Noel Edmonds show Deal Or No Deal in 2007, where he could have won £250,000, but came away with £10.
Olly, of Carraways, has been barred from speaking to local media until he goes through to the contest’s boot camp weekend, on September 26 and 27.