Blues singer Francine Reed will perform in Toccoa on March 3. She will sing in the Schaefer Center as part of the Flames Fest, a tribute to The Famous Flames featuring Bobby Byrd.

Toccoa receives state concert grant

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) recently announced the recipients of its new Vibrant Communities grant. 

Ninety-three entities received more than $300,055.00 in funding, including the City of Toccoa.

Earlier this year, the Georgia Legislature allocated funds to Georgia Council for the Arts to increase the reach of arts grants across the state.  This grant was available to organizations in counties who did not receive an FY16 Project or Partner Grant. 

GCA received 109 applications requesting $353,766 from 65 counties across the state. 

Applicants included libraries, schools, arts centers, cities, historical societies, community theatres, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.

“We believe that all communities in Georgia have great art, inspired artists and visions for the way in which local art can bolster community and economic development” said GCA executive director Karen Paty. 

“GCA is grateful to all of those in state leadership that enabled us to increase the breadth and reach of our funding to support the incredible work happening in  communities throughout the state,” Paty said.

Georgia Council for the Arts uses Peer Review Panels to adjudicate applications following National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) precedent. 

Peer Review Panels include GCA Council members; fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed; or are Georgia citizens with a record of arts activities, experience, and knowledge.

Toccoa received $1,680 in funding to be used toward a concert featuring Francine Reed at The Schaefer Center. 

This concert is part of Toccoa’s “Flames Fest.” This new event will honor “The Famous Flames” and will begin with a concert by Milkshake Mayfield Feb. 11. 

On Feb. 20, the St. Matthias Episcopal Church will host a showing of “Selma” involving area churches.    

The Francine Reed concert will be finishing off the month long event by performing on March 3 at 7 p.m.  

Born in Chicago and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., Francine Reed has had a passion for singing since her early childhood. 

She began singing professionally with her family's gospel group when she was five.  After marrying young, the everyday struggles of life kept Reed from pursuing her dream of singing full-time until her children were older. 

Fortunately, she was able to sing in local jazz clubs and at various functions in Phoenix. 

She became known for her powerful voice and commanding stage presence, and delivered an eclectic blend of jazz, blues, and R&B. She was often the opening act for such headliners as Miles Davis, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, and the Crusaders. 

In the mid 1990s, she decided to pursue a solo career and moved to Atlanta.

Here she recorded her debut solo album, "I Want You to Love Me," which featured a duet with Lyle Lovett. Her follow-up, "Can't Make It On My Own," featured a duet with Delbert McClinton. 

The success of these early works resulted in nominations for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award. (Blues Song of the Year and Soul/Blues - Female Artist of the Year - 1997). 

Reed is perhaps best known for her performances of the classic blues song "Wild Women (Don't Get the Blues)," written in 1924 by Ida Cox who was born in Toccoa. 

A recording of this song appears on Reed's albums, I Want You to Love Me, I Got a Right!...to Some of My Best, and Blues Collection; as well as on Ichiban Records Wild Women Do Get the Blues and Lyle Lovett's Live in Texas.

 Francine Reed has become one of Atlanta's most treasured artists and continues to expand her fan base at venues around the country. 

For several months out of the year, she performs in Seattle or San Francisco, appearing as the Chanteuse for Teatro ZinZanni. She describes the avant-garde production as "Cirque du Soleil meets dinner-in-the-round, on acid." 

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The Toccoa Record

Mailing Address:
P.O. Drawer 1069
Toccoa, GA 30577

Phone: 706-886-9476
Fax: 706-886-2161