We are excited to honor the 102nd birthday of our “First Lady of Song”. Born in Newport News, Ella Fitzgerald is one of the greatest singers in American history. This year we are celebrating her legacy with two very special events. Join us for an evening with the incredible Regina Belle.
About Regina Belle
“I’m amazingly blessed. I will never ever say that I’ve lived the perfect life to be shown such favor with God or the people but here I am,” declares the incomparable Regina Belle. The Academy Award- and Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actress, with a string of hits including Make It Like It Was, If I Could, Baby Come To Me, and This Is Love, Regina Belle has made a career following her heart and moving gracefully between the worlds of R&B, Gospel, and Jazz.
She is an entertainer of immeasurable musical talent. This New Jersey native has earned distinction as an international treasure. Her luminous vocals on the Peabo Bryson duet, A Whole New World, (Grammy’s Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1994) solidified her place as music royalty.
Be’’es vocal abilities were demonstrated at a young age, with her first solo at the age of 8, at Friendship Baptist Church in New Jersey pastored by her uncle, the late Dr. Fred M. Belle, Jr.. The entertainer’s natural gifts were further polished at Dwight Morrow High School and the Manhattan School of Music for Preparatory College where she studied classical voice training with Inga Wolfe. Although having received a full scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music, she opted to aim her sights on the elite Rutgers University to study both Africana Studies and Music.
In 1985, Belle left Rutgers University, just 15 credits shy of completing her degree, to go on the road with the Grammy Award-winning group, The Manhattans. She remained with them for two years before being spring boarded into her own career.
Thirty years after leaving Rutgers and 10 albums later, Belle started taking online courses, which earned her Bachelors Degree in Africana Studies and a Minor in Music. Belle walked the stage with her ‘new class’ from Rutgers in May of 2015. She states: “This achievement of finishing my degree which I started almost 30 years ago and finally being done, was a bittersweet moment that rates as high as my Grammy Awards.”
Her life has been an eventful and purposeful journey but not without misfortune. After releasing her first Gospel album in 2008, Love Forever Shines with the hit single God Is Good, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This devastating news came at the height of her gospel career. After two surgeries and 10 months of rehabilitation, Belle found herself back at the top of her game and ready to take on the world.
Belle’s life experiences and health challenges have made her a champion in the area of care-giving, affording her opportunities to wear different hats. She is honored to represent AARP as a spokesperson for caregivers.