Patti LaBelle brings a lifetime of brilliance to Beaver Creek, March 19 | VailDaily.com
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Patti LaBelle brings a lifetime of brilliance to Beaver Creek, March 19

Patti LaBelle has played numerous roles in films and she’s also appeared in the award-winning Broadway musical "Fela!" among other appearances on Broadway. She comes to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 19.

BEAVER CREEK — Patti LaBelle has been called the Godmother of Soul — and for good reason. She has sold more than 50 million records and earned a pile of Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards and a BET Lifetime Achievement award.

"When I sing, I sing with soul," LaBelle told the Kansas City Star last week. "When I dress, I dress with soul. When I cook, I cook with soul. I can never really tell you the way I do it every time, because I never do it the same way every time."

'Very lucky'

She'll bring that soul to the Vilar Performing Arts Center today.

"We feel very lucky here at the VPAC, as LaBelle has selected us as the only Colorado and even western USA stop on her tour," said Ruthie Hamrick, marketing manager for the Vilar Center. "Matter of fact, the closest stop to Beaver Creek besides the VPAC will be in Austin, Texas."

In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine named LaBelle one of the 100 greatest singers of all time. Listen to "Lady Marmalade," "On My Own," "If Only You Knew," "New Attitude" and "Burnin'" and you'll understand why.

Patricia Louise Holte blossomed from a choir member to lead vocalist for Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles and later into a solo artist with the same energy that keeps her fire burning at 63 years young.

"Each year, I grow, and that's a blessing from God," she told the Star. "I do what I can do. I do what I feel God has given me the energy to do, so I just go out there and I do it. … It's not about making money because I don't need money, but I need to sing. With a voice or without, I've got to get on that stage."

Troubled waters through the years

It hasn't all been smooth sailing. In a 10-year stretch, diabetes and cancer killed her mother, three sisters and best friend. She was diagnosed with diabetes herself in 1994 and shortly thereafter became a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. She's also an advocate for adoption, foster care, Big Sisters and the United Negro College Fund, among many other initiatives.

The legendary singer is also a legendary cook and entrepreneur, creating a line of sauces and other food and writing cookbooks and the autobiography "Don't Block the Blessings."

She also will release a new solo album, "Bel Hommage" (pronounced belle oh-MAH), on May 5. It features 13 of her favorite standards, including "The Jazz in You," "Moody's Mood for Love" and "Softly as I Leave You." "Moody's Mood for Love" is a 1952 classic by Eddie Jefferson and features contemporary R&B singer-songwriter KEM — because she has to help the young folks.

LaBelle is also slated to headline the iconic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 7, proof that desipte kindred soul sister Aretha Franklin announced she'd retire from recording and performing this year, LaBelle won't be following suit anytime soon.

"Child, I'm going to be singing with my boots on until I fall down," she told the Star with a laugh.

If You Go …

What: Patti LaBelle.

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

Cost: Tickets start at $90.

More information: A free shuttle will be available for this show from any Vail hotel or lodge, with pick-up at 6:45 p.m. The shuttle is subject to availability and must be booked 24 hours in advance by calling 970-845-TIXS. To learn more, or to purchase tickets, visit vilarpac.org.