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Ramona Collins: News

Acting in Dorothy McFarland's Play "Church Folks" - May 2, 2010

On Sunday June 27, 2010 I will be acting (not singing) in a play called "Church Folks", written by Toledoan Dorothy McFarland. The event is being held at the Franciscan Center and curtain is at 6:00.  For info about tickets you can call 419 297-9856 or call the Franciscan Center box office.

Recording session finished - now on to mixing and mastering - March 28, 2010

Johnny and I recorded a cd in front of a few fans and friends on Sunday 3-21-10 at Audio Matrix Studios.  Everything went very well.  I regret I couldn't open the session up to everyone like I normally do when I have an even, but, there were space limitations that would not allow it.  We're now ready to mix and master.  This cd is something different for both Johnny and me because there is no rhythm section - just piano and vocals. 

Photographer Grover Cummings took great photos for the cd cover and insert.  I love them!!

Will keep you posted as to what's going on with the project.  Stay tuned.


CD recording session date set for Ramona Collins wsg Johnny O'Neal - March 10, 2010

We have talked about recording together for years, but never got around to it.  Now Johnny O'Neal is relocating to the east coast - New York - but before he goes we want to capture some musicial memories on disc.  We will be recording Sunday March 21, 2010 @ 4:00 p.m. @ Audio Matrix Studio, 151 N Michigan, Ste #333. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.  Due to space limitations only 45 people can be accommodated.  There will be finger foods provided by Pam's Corner, and you are invited to bring your own beverage.  Please RSVP to 419 244-5601 to reserve your space. 

Tickets to this very special and unique event are $20, but credit cards cannot be processed. 

The building has a free parking lot on the corner of Michigan & Monroe.

New Recording Project - February 28, 2010

John O'Neal and I are planning to record this spring.  Will keep you posted.

Omni Artists - January 30, 2010

Attended my first meeting with some of Toledo's most prominent artists.  It's great to see these folks so excited about their upcoming projects and to enjoy the fellowship after the meeting.  They are still in the organizing stage, but seem to know where they want to go.  I plan to attend more gallery events because there is so much talent in Toledo in the visual and performing arts.  More info about this group later.  Go Omni Artists!

Celebrity Wait Night - January 30, 2010

Giorgio's - Celebrity Wait Night Thursday March 4, 2010 for the benefit of the YWCA which supports programs for young women in the community.  I'll be waiting for you.  6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  Tickets are $40.  More information later when I receive it.

2010 - January 30, 2010

  • Still would like to have a little jazz club someday - perhaps when the economy improves.
  • Planning to record a cd with Johnny O'neal this year.  Stay tuned.
  • I miss Rusty a lot.

Toys for Jazz @ Christmas - November 29, 2009

I will be kicking off the holiday season at Murphy's Place Saturday, December 5th, 2009 from 9:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.  Bring a wrapped child's toy and get a stamped card for free admission on your next visit to Murphy's.  Help us make a Merry Christmas for some of the children in our community by supporting Murphy's "Toys For Jazzx @ Christmas.  Thank you for your generosity and support of this event.

DeGage' Jazz Club - October 31, 2009

I worked at the club for the first time last night (Friday) w/Glenn Tucker (p), Jordan Schug (b), and Jerry Powell (d).  The room was packed, and we had a great time interacting with the customers.  the guys were on point, and made me sound great!  Looking forward to returning tonight.  Many thanks to a professional club staff who took care of business and served their customers promptly and with class.  I'm sure their clientele appreciated that.


I was asked to sing the national anthem October 16, 2009 to kick off the Walleye festivies weekend.  This was great, and I remembered the words (smile).  I stood on the red carpet on the ice and sang to a packed arena who relay seemed to enjoy my a capella rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner", which was pretty traditional.  I kept it simple. 

Art Tatum 100th Birthday Celebration at Main Library - October 11, 2009

Last night the the Art Tatum Resource Center Advisory Boar, the Tatum Society, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library hosted a 100th celebration for the jazz legend.  It was great!  We had a very good turnout, and people seemed to enjoy the various events that took place throughout the evening.  We had a diamond raffle, contest to guess how many kisses were in the glass, Our special guest was pianist/vocalist/actor Johnny O'Neal who performed solo and then with his trio.  Johnny showed everyone why Oscar Peterson recommend him for the role of Art Tatum in the movie "Ray".  He was wonderful!  I was thrilled to be asked by him to sing "For All We Know", which received a very positive reception from the audience.  Charles McDaniel, Jim Gottron and John Cleveland provided great piano music a guests were arriving and for the VIP reception prior to the show.  After Johnny O'Neal's performance, Keith Bernhard and his More Jazz Messengers played for everyone's listening enjoyment.  Special thanks to our committee, Dorcel, Joan, P, Melissa, Faith, Andre, Johnnie - to the library staff and volunteers, and especially Mr. Scoles. 

Art Tatum 100th BD Celebrations - October 7, 2009

10-10-09 Toledo Lucas County Public Library 7 pm - 11 pm.  Special guest Johnny O'neal. 

10-11-09 Owens Community College, Stanley Cowell sponsored by African American Legacy Project.  Also early morning program at Grace Presbyterian Church

10-25-09 TMA Peristyle - McCoy Tyner, Benny Gholston, Jon Hendricks and Toledo Jazz Orchestra

Grand Opening of Lucas County Arena - October 4, 2009

The grand opening weekend of the new Lucas County Area October 3 & 4 2009 featured four or five bands - my group, C. J. Manning & Company, East River Drive and a couple others.  However, I was the first to sing at the new arena.  We had a sound check because we were first, but the sound was good throughout the day for the other bands.  We only had one glitch when my mic went out, but I moved over to the next mic w/no problem.  Photos taken of us are wonderful and will be posted here on my site and on my Facebook page.  My band was Mike Lorenz on piano, Jerry Powell on drums and Jesse Coleman on sax.  It was a great event, and we were honored to be a part of it.

Women Blessing Women Concert @ Collingwood Arts Center - September 11, 2009

Be sure to check out this concert on Sunday, September 27 @ 3 p.m. at the CAC. Artists appearing are singers Theresa Harris, Laurie Swyer & Mary Dick (Blue Moon), poet Ophelia Thompson, saxophonist Katrina Barnhill and many others. Proceeds benefit education program for women in the WBW program. Thanks CAC for hosting another great event for a deserving organization!

Tatum Memorial Installed @ Lucas County Arena - September 11, 2009

The abstract keyboard memorial to Art Tatum was installed today at the Lucas County Arena It's lighted, so be sure to check it out at night.

Firefly Club - August 15, 2009

So sorry that the Firefly Club is closed. We hope this is only a temporary setback and Susan Chastain and the cats will soon be back hard at play. Good luck!

Baker's Keyboard Lounge - March 22, 2009

Read in the free press last week that John Colbert, co-owner of Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit is having trouble. He says he only has enough money to keep going for a couple of months. It would be a shame to lose Baker's which has been in existence since 1934. John hopes someone will purchase the club and keep this historic jazz venue. I was booked to work with Allan Barnes at Baker's on April 18th, but the date was moved. I already have a gig on the new date, so I can't be there. Let's all pray that Baker's survives because it needs to. We can't lose any more jazz venues, especially this one.

Rouge Bistro Closes - January 25, 2009

So sorry to hear that one of my favorite venues has closed. Jake, you and the staff were a class act. Hope you rebound.

Trip to DC for Obama Historical Moments - January 25, 2009

What can I say? It was fabulous! We drove, stayed at a hotel in Woodbridge Virginia (never got caught in traffic backups), met great people, rode the train, appeared in audience shots on MSNBC Monday night before the big event, walked for miles, visited all the landmarks. Look forward to his next inauguration (smile).

Robert McCarther CD Release - December 4, 2008

Congratulations to Detroit vocalist Robert McArther on the release of his new CD "That's Me". It's a great CD with songs you don't hear much as well as two original tunes by Detroit songwriters. Check it out at I guarantee you'll love it.

My 60th Birthday Party @ Murphy's - October 26, 2008

My children gave me a birthday at Murphy's last night. It was great!! I saw many old friends, and enjoyed my brothers, sisters, uncle, cousins, and a brother whom I had never met. He's almost 50. We partied in the back room at Murphy's, which is perfect for a party. Even though I was the birthday girl, I was working, and had a little help from my friends. Two of my sons sang, Chris H sang "Them there Eyes", Jamal proposed to Alicia, my uncle helped me sing "You Send Me", I sand "Happy Birthday" to him because his birthday is the same day as mine, excepet he is 73 now. The place was packed and most people stayed until the end.
Oh, what a night!

RIP Margaret "Rusty" Monroe - October 16, 2008

Rusty was laid to rest in Marion, Ohio Wednesday, October 15, 2008. There was no funeral service, just a private burial for the family. The family requested that no flowers or cards be sent, but some of the girls - Suzanne, Carol and Joyce - went down Thursday and put beautiful flowers on Rusty's final resting place. We will, of course, have a memorial to our wonderful friend who showed so much love and respect to local musicians. She was a class act who truly understood how important her customers were when they passed through the doors of Rusty's Jazz Cafe. To those of us who performed there, it was home.

Details regarding a memorial for my mentor and friend will be forthcoming.

In Memory of - October 12, 2008

Margaret "Rusty" Monroe,
Former Owner, Rusty's Jazz Cafe, (11-22-18 to 10-11-08)

Maryann Russo, Vocalist

Dick Garris

Jimmy Cook, Trumpeter

Tony Ben, Percussionist(1/08)

Donald Walden, Saxophonist, Educator & Michigan Jazz Master (4/08)

Leon Cook, Guitarist/Vocalist

Bruce Zimmerman, Marimba

Hershey Cohen, Trumpeter

Jimmy Cook T-shirts - September 24, 2008

It was great to see Jan Cook and other members of the family at Murphy's last night. Jan and Suzanne, Jimmy's daughter, were wearing these wonderful black t-shirts with a photo of Jimmy holding his trumpet. You'll love it!
If you want to own one of these, call Jan at 419 531-3815. The cost is $25 each, with proceeds supporting the Jimmy Cook Scholarship Fund. Be a true JazzKeeper and support the efforts of the Cook family to assist young people pursuing careers in music with this wonderful tribute to Jimmy.

Rusty's Jazz Reunion Picnic 7-20-08 - July 22, 2008

The picnic was nice although the guest of honor was not able to attend. I spoke to her on Monday of this week, and she sounded wonderful. Her voice was strong, and she said she felt better than she had in a long time.
We had a good conversation reflecting on times gone by but talked about the future for jazz in Toledo. I assured her that we, the JazzKeepers, will do what we can to remain a cohesive and productive community.
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