Robert Robinson

Recent Articles

Multitalented JD Steele keeps pushing the creative envelope

His latest project: a dance opera score blending Black and Indian genres 
 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

JD Steele is, of course, even if you have been hiding under a rock, a household name in Twin Cities’ music and, by extension, theatre. For that matter, he’s internationally renowned along with his siblings as a vocalist-songsmith, arranger and producer for The Steeles. Still not ringing a bell? In case that rock you’ve been under is out in West Abu Dhabi somewhere, can you say, to name just a few titles, The Gospel at Colonus (yes, the film, TV and stage production featuring Morgan Freeman), Two Queens One Castle starring Jevetta Steele (Mixed Blood Theatre) and The Young and the Restless (CBS)? So yes, Steele has established his artistry with a rock-solid, far-reaching reputation. Continue Reading →

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Sandra Robinson Hodges speaks with MSR about her starring role in Mahalia

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

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 →

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Old Log’s Mahalia delivers in song

 

 

Old Log Theater’s Mahalia, starring Sandra Robinson Hodges with Dianne E’Laine and Sam Reeves Old Log Theater is flaws and all, a winning ticket. This is the second go around for the production, which premiered at Old Log in 1994. Ironically it’s a slice of African American theater, indeed, a page from Black history, running way out in the middle of White suburbia. And well worth the trip. Local gospel luminary Sandra Robinson Hodges is a natural to play Mahalia Jackson, the music immortal, civil rights activist and cultural icon. Continue Reading →

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2012 Black History Month Calendar of Events

 

 

Saturday, February 11
11 am — The Spirit of the Blues, Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley
Celebrate Black History Month as KFAI’s Lady Griot uses storytelling and live music to show the roots blues have in the music brought with the slaves from their homeland. Hear the spiritual side of this tribal music and how it relates to the 12-bar blues. A Minnesota Legacy program for ages 10 and older
This event is free. For more information, call 952-891-7045 or go to www.co.dakota.mn.us.  

7-9 pm — Ignite the Spirit of Love with J.D. Steele, Ted Mann Concert Hall, Univ. Continue Reading →

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