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Dionne Warwick makes her way to the SCV

Posted: January 14, 2012 8:30 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2012 8:30 p.m.

Singer Dionne Warwick shared her 50-year music anniversary with her family, friends and fans Friday night during a concert at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

Before taking the stage to sing her chart-topping hits, such as “Alfie,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Warwick sat down for an interview to talk about this milestone in her career.

“I was in college, during the period of time that I recorded, and basically the year before I was to graduate, I had a hit record,” Warwick said. “Subsequently, that gave me the enthusiasm, and I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll try it and see what happens.’ And I guess you can say the rest is history.”

Warwick added that her grandfather and her family are part of that history.

“I come from a family of Gospel singers. My grandfather was a minister, and my mother’s father was a deacon in his church. So the church played and still plays a very, very important part of my life. I have said and will continue to say that (to me) my grandfather was the wisest man to walk this earth, second only to Jesus,” she said.

Passing on the legacy was a big part of the concert. Warwick was joined by her son David Elliott for duets.

He started touring with her at age 16 as the drummer, yet she didn’t realize his vocal prowess.

One day, he confided that he no longer wanted to be on percussion, but instead, wanted to sing.

She asked pointedly, “Can you sing?” And he replied, “Yes, I can sing.”

According to Warwick, she allowed her son to open for her shows until she decided to reduce her touring schedule.

Looking at his options, he decided to begin a career in the Los Angeles Police Department, ranking third in the division. He still got concert-goers cheering as he and his mother sang “Say a Little Prayer,” and other favorites. 
According to PAC board member and Warwick’s stage manager, Deanna Warrick, perseverance is the quality that shines through when she thinks of Warwick.

“Her perseverance and just her ability to keep going — she surprises me all the time. Rain or shine, sickness, it doesn’t matter; when it’s show time, it’s show time,” Warrick said.

As a Santa Clarita Performing Arts board member, Warrick feels strongly about bringing more top entertainers to Santa Clarita. The Warwick show took a year to arrange and plan.

“I love Santa Clarita. It’s a great place to live. And I want to bring more top-tier talent here. The facility warrants top-tier artists,” Warrick said.

As for the Warwick concert: “I want them to take the memories,” she said. “They’re just going to reminisce through the show.”

And reminisce they did.

“Having her son there with her doing the duets even made it that much more important,” concertgoer Larry Wild said.
Megan Guthrie-Wedemeyer, a younger generation fan, knows Warwick songs from the movies.

“I grew up watching ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding,’ which has ‘Say a Little Prayer’ in it, so I saw it and bought my mom tickets for Christmas,” Guthrie-Wedemeyer said.

Watch the Dionne Warwick interview later this week.


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