Crossing Over to Classical

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:06

Singer Beverly Taki will perform her eclectic mix of music at Carnegie Hall this week

The fitting anthem "New York State of Mind" will be the opener of a concert to benefit the city's youth. On June 6, the audience at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall will be regaled with an eclectic mix of rhythm and blues, pop, and show tunes from singer Beverly Taki and classical crossover ensemble O Sole Trio.

Part of the concert's proceeds will be donated to the Manhattan-based nonprofit, Education Through Music, which works with inner city schools to create music programs.

The O Sole Trio will pay homage to Italian music, covering selections from Frank Sinatra all the way to Andrea Bocelli. The group is comprised of soprano Erin Shields, baritone Giuseppe Spoletini and pianist/violinist David Shenton.

We spoke to Taki, a Midtown resident, about her musical career and upcoming charitable performance.

When did you know you wanted to pursue singing?

Probably at the age of three. [Laughs] I studied voice and dance and all of that. And then, when I was 12, I started professionally with Frankie Avalon and a slew of those singers at that time. There was this place called Palisades Park that had all of these shows.

Were you born in Manhattan?

Yes, actually born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx and then moved to New Jersey. And now I'm back in Manhattan. Right now I live in Midtown East

How do you think New York City influenced your career?

Well there's so many great artists here and I love rhythms and blues. And there are so many great rhythm and blues artists in New York City. That kind of helped me cultivate what I wanted to do. So this is your first time at Carnegie Hall, but I read you've performed all over the city. Where are your favorite places to sing? I think The Plaza Hotel was wonderful. The Iridium was a great place to work. I worked at Carolines for one evening, doing a whole concert there. I also worked at the United Nations.

What can we expect to hear at the concert?

I do a lot of rhythm and blues, some stage songs. We're featuring probably 25 musicians on stage. They'll also be three backup singers, so it's quite a large group. There are eight string players and about five horns.

How did you pick the charity Education Through Music?

Actually it was through the wife of the bass player in our group. She got in touch with a young lady who runs the program. We decided that it would be a good match for all of us. They're not sponsoring the show, but they will be getting a small percentage of what we can make at Carnegie Hall.

I saw that you also raised money for children's cancer.

Yes, we did Cookies for Kids' Cancer at the Metropolitan Room. Actually, my daughter-in-law, Cynthia Rios, contacted that group and had them come on board.

How long have you been singing for charity?

Actually, this is probably the third one, but I think I'm going to do that for the rest of the time that I'm singing.