Welcome to the “Kathy Donald Quartet” website! Our goal is to bring you a new insight to an old vogue called “jazz”. For us, jazz is an extremely diverse style of music that encompasses styles such as swing, blues, latin, classic ballad and, yes…even Broadway! The term “oldie but goodie” rings sweet with this band and its leader Kathy Donald. Yet, there is a continuous vision to take more current music and set it to an original arrangement of the style that jazz lovers will enjoy. We hope this site and our music supports that vision for you and encourages others to ‘do their own thing’ with the styles of yesteryear.
How It All Began
Early incentives into the wonderful world of music most certainly include her mother playing piano and her father singing, particularly in the car, on route to just about anywhere the family traveled. Her brother played the clarinet as a teenager and continued a musical interest by singing (pretty darn well mind you) in the bedroom along with countless Mario Lanza records. Hence, it all began…
Kathy started her life’s true love of music around the age of 10 with classical piano lessons and dance lessons including the styles of jazz, tap and ballet. By 15 years of age, she was playing piano for and singing in the junior high school choir. At that same age, along came being chosen as the junior high school big band vocalist – first introduction to ‘jazz’. With songs such as “When Sunny Gets Blue”, “Cry Me A River” and “The Joker”, she was absolutely hooked!
Probably the most powerful impact anyone had on her life with relation to music, was a man she refers to as “Pappa Peter”, her high school A Capella Choir director. To this day, Kathy calls Peter and sing carols to he and his wife on Christmas Eve! Along with a vast array of experience in the music department, came the theatrical world. Musical theater has given her the most diverse and fulfilling experience any entertainer could ever wish for or imagine and continues to be a thriving force inside her at present.
The Exciting Move to Phoenix
During and post high school, Kathy continued her theatrical endeavors with ‘song and dance’ as well as beginning a whole new musical life shortly after moving to Phoenix with a 16-piece big band known as the Bill Hunter Orchestra. This was a dream come true at just 27 years of age and opened up a new window for her in the world of jazz! She was the lead vocalist with the big band for close to 8 years. With this band Kathy (then known as “Kathy Fishel”) was privileged to perform along side such greats as Roger Williams, Paul Anka, The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, Kay Starr, Johnny Desmond, Connie Haines and Anna Maria Alberghetti. Many thought Bill Hunter was truly Glenn Miller reincarnated. He was a fanatic about ‘Miller’ arrangements and became quite famous for playing them ‘true to form’. Bill had an unbelievable success and following in the Phoenix area over the years and occasionally traveled to other cities for performances. Unfortunately, Bill passed on at only 45 years of age. The band continued for a couple years, but eventually came to a close.
Variety and More!
At this point, Kathy began to sing with a troupe called Art Royer’s WWII Stage Door Canteen. It was a show reminiscent of the Bob Hope shows for our troops overseas! This show toured all over the country playing such events as the USO’s 50th Anniversary in Norfolk, Virginia and various anniversaries or reunions for branches of service in Las Vegas, Coronado Island and Chicago. She was with this show for about 12 years, until the show ended in the late 90’s.
Back to theater we go with multiple productions in the 80’s, 90’s and to the present! Over these years, Kathy has been nominated for three AriZoni awards in Phoenix and won two of those honors for best actress and best supporting actress. Some key and favorite roles in the theater include The Witch in Into the Woods, Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Reno in Anything Goes, Lola in Damn Yankees and the highly misunderstood, but loveable whacky nun Sister Robert Anne in Nuncrackers! Most recently, she performed over the summer of 2006 in a three-month run at the Copperstate Dinner Theater of Broadway Jukebox. This show was voted the best musical review of 2005/2006 by the Tribune’s GetOut and Mark Turvin, reviewer and writer for backstage.com, a national New York-based theater website.
The Kathy Donald Quartet Evolves
This brings us to the present and what became The Kathy Donald Quartet! Our first performances were at the String Chemistry Café in Mesa, Arizona in September of 2005. The group played there for 8 months and received high acclaim from many of the Valley’s best vocalists and musicians. Some of these performers ‘sat in’ or subbed occasionally with the ‘Quartet’. We did a ‘live’ recording, which turned into a fine CD in late fall of 2005. This CD is entitled “Live at the String Chemistry” and is currently available. It is a combination of classic jazz standards, both vocal and instrumental along with a few riveting and innovative arrangements! The group’s 2nd CD was studio recorded (thank you Andy!) and was released in February of 2007. This CD has a variety of unique arrangements including a few classic jazz standards and my usual ‘twist’ on Broadway-style jazz! If you are interested in purchasing a CD, you can e-mail us at email@example.com.
We perform all around the Valley of the Sun and post performance dates for the band on this website, so come out and catch a few sets - we promise you, you will not be disappointed!
See you on stage!
The Kathy Donald Quartet