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Rosemary Besnson

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For almost three decades, Ward Marston has been a frequent performer, both as a solo pianist and with his orchestra. He has appeared at the Café Carlyle filling in for Bobby Short and played for four years at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. As a dance bandleader, he has performed at the White House and played for private parties from Hawaii to Turkey. Ward is also a pioneer in the field of audio restoration, winning two Grammy awards and four prestigious prizes for historic recordings. Born blind, Ward began playing piano at the age of four. He first attended the Overbrook School for the Blind, where his formal musical training began. At age twelve he left Overbrook School and become the first blind student to attend public school in his district. During these years he continued his musical studies in both piano and organ and formed his first jazz group at age 15. As a teenager, he spent a summer in France studying organ with Pierre Cocherau, the organist of Notre Dame in Paris. He then entered Williams College where he managed the college FM radio station. At Williams, Ward developed skills as a recording engineer and gave weekly jazz broadcasts at the piano. After graduation, he played jazz in Philadelphia clubs where he established a reputation as a talented musician. He caught the attention of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Oscar Peterson. All knew Ward and Ward jammed with several of these artists at various nightspots. At around the same time Ward's skills as a recording engineer led to work for Columbia records, The Franklin Mint, and Bell Telephone Laboratories (where in 1979 he restored the earliest known stereo recording). His two related careers and passions grew. Ward developed a working relationship with Michael Carney Music of New York while he gained an international reputation as a recording engineer specializing in the re-mastering of historical recordings. Today, the Ward Marston Orchestra plays for private parties in venues across the United States and occasionally in Europe. Ward Marston lives outside of Philadelphia with his fourth Seeing Eye Dog, Vinnie, and nearly 30,000 records, which he enthusiastically collects. Rosemary Benson, a former Atlantic City Entertainer of the Year, has been a singer, actress and voice-over artist, performing in the U.S., Canada, and Italy. Starting as a teenager, she covered songs by The Beatles, Carole King, and Bonnie Raitt, went on the road with dance bands, and experimented with pop, jazz, folk and country music while appearing at night clubs, hotels and casinos. Leading her own band, she sang in the lounges and showrooms of the Sands in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Industrial shows allowed Rosemary to enjoy playing great musical roles from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. As a voice-over artist and singer, Rosemary was the voice of Caesar’s Atlantic City Bacchanal and Showboat’s Basin Street Follies for seven years; she also recorded background vocals for many casino shows, including New York, New York with Frank Gorshin. After introducing the character of Big Mama in Speakeeezy at the Claridge Hotel, she continued to work for Steppin‘ Out Productions as a performer and writer for sequel reviews. Rosemary presented fundraising concerts at South Jersey Regional Theater, including Salute to Sassy: Remembering Sarah Vaughan, and A Salute to Irving Berlin, arranged by Gary Haberman. Capitalizing on her comedic talent, Artie Schroeck and Linda November featured Rosemary in their Salute to Spike Jones at Harrah’s. Performing with some of the best musicians in the country, Rosemary has stayed active as a performer with several big bands in the NY-NJ-PA area. Throughout her career, Rosemary has never abandoned her love of the great vocalists of the American Songbook: Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Hartman, and countless others. Her long and happy association with Ward Marston has allowed her to interpret some of the most beautiful standards ever written. Their CD, Falling In Love Is Wonderful, is available on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon, and other trusted sites.

 

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