Motown group Spectrum encores with Springfield Symphony Pops Feb. 7

Date: 1/19/2009

SPRINGFIELD When the Motown foursome Spectrum were guest artists last year with the Springfield Symphony Pops, newspaper music critic Clifton Noble Jr. said, "the orchestra keeps the Motown train a-rollin', pacing the songs in such a way that the excitement never slackened." The group drew a near sellout audience in March 2008.

Spectrum is returning to Springfield Symphony Hall for an encore with the orchestra on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. For tickets call 733-2291 or visit

"These guest artists blend well with a full symphony orchestra, which only adds to their authentic 'Motown sound,'" said Symphony Executive Director Michael Jonnes.

Jonnes said the group, in their tribute to Motown, has added a special homage to soul singer Barry White and his Love Unlimited Orchestra. White is often referred to as "The Sultan of Smooth Soul" with his hits, "Can't Get Enough," "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Just Another Way to Say I Love You."

Jonnes said the Springfield Symphony Pops is proud to bring that sound back to Springfield because of the fond memories those songs bring back to listeners.

From 1964 to 1967, Motown artists had 14 number one pop singles, 20 number one singles on the R&B charts, 46 Top 15 pop singles and 75 other Top 15 R&B singles. In 1966, 75 percent of Motown's releases made the charts.

"Spectrum captures perfectly the sound and style and put on a great show," said Jonnes.

Harmonies and Choreography

Jonnes said Spectrum's performances include angelic harmonies and deft choreography. The foursome is made up of Darryl Grant of Oakland, Calif.; Chicago-born musician and versatile entertainer Pierre Jovan; David Prescott, the soaring-voiced first tenor from Rochester, N. Y.; and singer, actor and group founder Cushney Roberts, who left the life of a Princeton-educated corporate engineer to cut his teeth in the casino lounges en route to becoming a well-respected Vegas showroom entertainer.

In addition to the Las Vegas Strip, they have appeared on the "Today Show," been featured in the films and starred in August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." They have performed and recorded with Tony Bennett, the Temptations, Little Richard, Marty Robbins, the Platters, Frankie Lyman's Teenagers and Doc Severinson's Band.

The audience is invited to a reception after the concert in the Mahogany Room and to attend the Seventh Annual Silent Auction to benefit Springfield Symphony Educational Programs, which will take place before the concert and during intermission.

The concert is sponsored by Baystate Health. The media sponsors are the Valley Advocate and WEIB 106.3 Smooth FM. MassMutual Financial Group is the official season sponsor.

The Symphony is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. All concert tickets may be purchased from the Springfield Symphony Box Office, 1350 Main St., downtown Springfield, charge (VISA, MasterCard American Express or Discover) by calling 733-2291 or online at

Tickets range from $10 to $57 with secure free parking. Tickets for youth ages four to 17 are half price. A discount of 25 percent is available for groups of 10 or more. Visit the SSO Web site at

Springfield Symphony Orchestra performances are made possible through the generosity of donors, concertgoers, Business Friends of the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.