Ila Vann’s 80th birthday celebration

On March 6, 2018, in Entertainment, by admin

Ila Vann performing at BluMartini in Kingston, ON for her 80th birthday celebration.
Image by: Norm Johnstone © 2018

Kingston, ON—On Sunday, March 4, 2018 a celebration for my friend, “Ila Vann’s” 80th birthday was held at BluMartini on Ontario Street in Kingston, ON. I have known Ila for years and she has performed with such greats as, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and many others. Over the years I have heard her perform at Brandy’s with the R ’n B Boys, and numerous places around the Belleville/Quinte area.

The Fade Kings (Ila’s backup band for years) opened the show at BluMartini and they featured the great, Ian ‘Koko’ Kojima, on saxophone, and Deborah Feeley on vocals. The Fade Kings performed a very groovin’ rendition of the O-Jays classic, “Love Train,” and showcased some amazing tight harmonies.

The show continued on and Deborah Feeley was introduced and was featured on a great B.B. King tune entitled “The Thrill Is Gone.” Deborah acknowledged Ila as being a great inspiration and that Ila is a huge deal!!

Spencer Evans was the next featured group and he said that he was going to play some Huey Lewis, and he quipped, not Huey Lewis & The News, but Huey Lewis & The Clowns, from New Orleans-I think he met Huey “Piano” Smith & The Clowns from New Orleans. Spencer wasted no time into going into a rockin’ version of Rockin’ Pneumonia—and really let loose on those 88 keys!!

“Ila worked with Louis (Armstrong), and Ray (Charles), and of course I like Ray,” Spencer said, “This one’s for you Ila!!” Spencer performed, What I’d Say, with his sunglasses on and then continued his portion of the show with Billy Preston’s, ‘Round In Circles which received thunderous applause from everybody in the club including all the great dancers.

I’d like to call another singer up – my sister, Heather Evans. We all like the blues and so does Ila!! – Heather was featured on Muddy Waters’ Hoochie Coochie (Wo)man and did a terrific job. Spencer went on to do Chuck Berry’s Teenage Wedding as well as Chubby Checker’s The Twist. Ila Vann – I love you – and I know you love Joe Cocker too, Spencer said and he then proceeded to play, With a Little Help From My Friends.”

Kingston loves Ila-we’ll all miss you he said.

My friend Julia Moore was called up to the stage and she performed a powerful, high-energy, version of Aretha Franklin’s Respect—wow what a highlight of the event!!

Heather Evans did a version of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode and Mike Myers (vocalist) was featured on the old R n B classic, “Mustang Sally.”

Ila Vann was also featured on a couple classic r ’n b tunes throughout the afternoon.

What an amazing afternoon of great music and celebrations of Ila’s 80th birthday. Ila is leaving Canada to be closer with her family in New York. We will all miss Ila Vann-such a loving person and great vocalist.

To see the gallery of photos, click on the picture of Ila.

All images by: Norm Johnstone © 2018


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