Exclusive Interview: The Divas of Jazz by Gary A. Johnson


Earlier this month, I saw a live performance by a talented jazz quartet called The Divas of Jazz.  I immediately contacted their management (A Dante Production) who arranged for this exclusive interview 7-days later.  Watch my exclusive interview with the Divas of Jazz and followed by the latest article by the A Dante Production CEO.  If you’ll be near Ormond Beach on May 1, be sure to see the Divas of Jazz at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center.

Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com

What Makes DANTE TICK?  By The CEO

All of us are still trying to wrap our heads around losing Chris Clarke, we know he would want us to keep on pushing.

First, allow me to formally recognize J.A.W. Promotions to the Dante family. James A. Womack Sr. is the President of the company, he is the person that picks the venues to keep the Dante brand (A Touch of Class) alive. James often says we can work and make money very easy if we drop the brand and we are not going to do that. When we win financially, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. As James says WE WILL NOT DROP THE BRAND so if we lose, we lose, and let’s put it in the rear-view mirror, and I agree.

As you know we have 5 bands, singers, and single musicians, it takes many people to put a show together, so let me break it down:

J.A.W. Promotions, LLC keep us in line as it relates to both the venue and the items related to the venue, scheduling in Florida can be very interesting, with Bike Week in both March and October, Jeep Weekend (April) Car Racing at the Daytona Speedway, Art Shows, the Turkey Run and major shows in Orlando and/or Jacksonville. James really must thread the needle to fit us in-between all of this. This requires major concentration and planning, plus the financial part of everything.

Ladero Design Works

L.D. Robinson has marketing, flyer design, video design, and presentations. We are so busy that L.D. has become a visionary, staying 5 to 6 months ahead us.  L.D. does a lot of the “dirty work” that nobody sees.  She is on the receiving end of numerous late night phone calls about the development of a new idea.  L.D. works hard.  A lot of her work is tedious and requires an attention to detail that most of us don’t have.  She makes her work look easy.  Her finished product is outstanding.  You would never know that she’s had less than 6 hours’ notice to develop major design campaigns.  In addition, she is responsible for our social and multimedia presence including the placement of cameras and recording equipment for our shows, the maintenance of our website, and developing and managing the content for our YouTube channel and Facebook pages.  In between those gigs, she might find time to get a few hours of sleep. 

Leroy McClendon

Leroy is the master of sound.  His ear for perfection is amazing.  Have you ever been to a show and the sound was “off?”  That one factor alone can ruin an otherwise great show and performance.  Some musicians get extremely picky about what they hear in their ears.  The balance of pleasing the artist and the audience is a skill.  Leroy is a master of sound and managing the talent around him.  He never gets ruffled.

Emanuel Cowen

Emanuel has two main duties:  sound and video (studio and onstage).  He is the Studio Engineer who works with the musicians to ensure that they are “musically ready” for the next show.  Because of Emanuel’s efforts, we can almost make everything happen in one take. Many of you have seen our YouTube Channel Dante’s Den just think one take was all it took for Emanuel to pass the film to L.D. to edit and publish.

The Musicians

Everybody not only works with A Dante Production, but they also have other gigs they must schedule so they can pay their bills. A Dante Production is only a part of their everyday life. Five (5) bands in a rotational schedule is challenging, but in the concert world, it is a must.

What Makes A Dante Production Tick?

All the above is a simultaneous effort of the CEO.  The phone never stops ringing with questions about the vision.  Watching the other concert companies is a focus. Making sure all the players stay in their lane is another challenge. The CEO often seeks outside expertise. 

As CEO, I am responsible for the overall success of the business and for making top-level managerial decisions. I may ask for input on major decisions, but I am the person who has ultimate authority in making final decisions. I am responsible for providing strategic, financial, and operational leadership for A Dante Production and I closely coordinate and work with the others on the team. My primary responsibilities are planning, developing, implementing and I direct the organization’s operational and fiscal function and performance. 

Our newest group, Divas of Jazz came out of the starting gate swinging hard and heavy.  This group has more talent than many groups in the limelight.  They are headed for GREATNESS, which sometimes can be like a train without brakes. They have been invited back to the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center (PAC) on May 1, 2022.

The Divas next show will add singer Nina Skyy.  Nina is a singer rapidly rising to the top.   Tickets for the May 1, 2022, 2:30 PM show are on sale at the box office and online.

The PAC’s Box Office is open Tuesday-Friday from noon to 5:00 PM.  Tickets can also be purchased online at https://ormondbeach.org/267/Performing-Arts-Center

Again, what makes Dante Tick?

The only way that we can live, is to grow. The only way that we can grow is to embrace change. The only way that we can embrace change is to be in a learning mode. The only way we can learn is if we are open and exposed.

Dante Out

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