By Dwight Hobbes
Going backstage to the dressing room, congratulating Sandra Robinson Hodges on her triumphant turn as Mahalia Jackson at the Old Log Theater, you’d never guess she’s Twin Cities’ gospel royalty, not from her unassuming manner. She greets you with a warm smile, “Just call me Sandy,” and is fairly shy about accepting compliments. For the record though, if she did have a swelled head, it’d be hard to blame her. For one, she has worked and recorded with her more famous brother, Robert Robinson, most notably at the well-renowned Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, where she succeeded him as artistic and executive director. Among her accomplishments in the area, she performed as both lead and background vocalist on albums for the Sam Davis Gospel Ensemble, Minneapolis Gospel Sound, and Excelsior Choral Ensemble. Nationally, she has performed with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Jermaine Jackson, and Prince. There’s considerably more, including her present tenure as choir director at Park Avenue United Methodist Church and chapel choir director at Bethel University. Suffice to say, illustrious singer Sandra Hodges (SH) indeed is an entity of considerable consequence. During the run of Mahalia, where she shared the stage with gifted performers Dianne E’Laine and Sam Reeves, she granted the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder an email interview to reflect on her artistry.
MSR: How did you come to do this role? Were you in the premiere? Continue Reading →