FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 2:00 P.M., there will be a celebration of the life and music of vocalist Marlene VerPlanck at the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ.
An outstanding gathering of Marlene’s musical friends and student jazz ensembles from William Paterson University’s Jazz Studies Program will pay musical tribute to her. Among the performers will be vocalists Sandy Stewart, Annette Warren, Daryl Sherman, Ronny Whyte and Ben Cassara; pianists Mike Renzi, Bill Charlap, Tedd Firth, Tomoko Ohno and Russ Kassoff; bassists Jay Leonhart and Boots Maleson, drummers Ron Vincent and Victor Lesczak; and trumpeter Warren Vaché.
New Jersey native Marlene VerPlanck was one of the top torchbearers of the classic songs from the Great American Songbook during a career that lasted from the mid-1950s until shortly before her death on January 14 of this year. She recorded over 20 albums, and appeared in concerts and clubs all over the United States and in Europe. For many years Marlene was one of the busiest jingle singers in New York City studios, and was featured in commercials for products like Campbell Soup (“Mmm, Mmm good”), Michelob (“Weekends were made for Michelob”), Nationwide Insurance (“Nationwide is on your side”), and was the original voice for the “I Love New York” campaign.
Marlene was born in Newark and lived in Clifton for several decades. She was married to trombonist/arranger J. Billy VerPlanck for 52 years until his death in 2009. Billy wrote all of the charts for Marlene, and was her biggest fan.
Upon Billy’s death a scholarship in his name was established for students in the Jazz Studies Program at William Paterson University. Marlene’s name has been added to the scholarship, and all proceeds from this concert will be donated to the Marlene and J. Billy VerPlanck Endowed Scholarship fund.
Tickets are $20, and can be purchased on-line at https://tickets.wpunj.edu/, and in-person or by phone (973-720-2371) from the Box Office at the Shea Center for Performing Arts.