Island Park Public Library

Rhonda Denét sings ‘the songs that speak to me’


Rhonda Denét and the Silver Fox Songs Trio paid tribute to the queens of soul and jazz music at the Island Park Public Library on March 11. The dubbed “All Hail the Queens,” show performed for the first time by the talented vocalist and trio celebrated the music of Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan and more. And just in time for Women’s History Month.

Denét exuded soul in her performance which had the audience captivated and attentive to every song and note. Many audience members danced along in their seats with the upbeat songs and sang quietly alongside Denét during the softer soul renditions.

“I pick the songs that speak to me and don’t get heard enough,” Denét said during the show, “I love to dig into music and find out the stories of each song.”

The Silver Fox Songs Showcase Series, is a performance series tailored with the older adult populations in mind. Denét as the founder and manager alongside the trio – Chuck Batton on drums, Gene Torres on bass and Michael Bardash on keys – believe to improve quality of life by providing professional live music to facilities and organizations that celebrate the older adult community.

The Silver Fox series originally called, From Jazz To Soul vol. 1, has grown to more than 19 different showcases since 2010, dedicated to performances from the 1920s to the 1990s. The Silver Fox performances plan to take place in retirement communities, independent and assisted living complexes, senior centers and libraries.

“The music was great, including their reactions with each other,” said Debb Colona, 82, a long-time Island Park resident, “she brought back all the music from my youth.”

During the show, Denét, Batton, Torres and Bardash would smile at each other and notably communicate through the music. “It’s a beautiful conversation so it’s wonderful to be able to work with them on and off the stage,” Denét said about her connection with the Trio. “I agree,” Torres said, “it’s a musical conversation and sometimes we even tell jokes to each other through the music.”

March is Women’s History Month, commemorating the celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Denét and the trio highlighted this with the, “All Hail the Queens” performance and shout-out during the rendition of, “I’m Every Woman” a song by American singer Chaka Khan.

“I’m honored to be a woman,” Lucy Llanos said in response to listening to the queens of soul through Denét and, “the performance was amazing.”

“I used to say I was born in the wrong time, but someone once told me, ‘No, you were born in the right time to carry on the tradition,’” Denét said.

“So, I’m happy to be able to do this,” she said, through performing the songs of the woman she grew up listening to.