Friday, March 22, 2013

Getting To Know Jaime

Jaime De Jesus     

Musical Biography
BORN: Puerto Rico on October 24th, 1948

CHILDHOOD: Harlem in NYC, 125th Street, West Side Grant projects (several blocks from the Apollo Theater)

Jaime began singing in the Corpus Christi Church Choir (as a soprano) at the age of 10 and performed numerous solos.

He and several close friends, including Lou Benito, organized an a cappella group named The Chants when he was 12 years old. He and Lou would later sing together in various musical groups for over 60 years.  As lead singer for The Chants, their success grew. They competed in the amateur show at the Apollo Theater in 1965 then later auditioned and were selected by Frankie Lymon as his back-up group for an outdoor street performance in Harlem. The group sang at the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem in the late 60's as well as numerous shows and local parties. The Chants also performed and competed at Town Hall in NYC which resulted in the recording of a long-play demo record for Amber Records in NJ.

Jaime sang as a tenor/baritone in the Power Memorial Academy men's chorus in NYC (where he was attending on a full academic scholarship) from 1962-1966 and performed at Philharmonic Hall in Lincoln Center, NYC in 1966.

He moved to New Jersey in 1975 and continued performing musically as lead singer for an a cappella group called MEMORY from 1976 to 1990. MEMORY developed a significant fan base over time and performed in large venues including a live appearance on WCBS-FM in Don K. Reed’s "DooWop Shop". The group eventually recorded two 45 RPMs with Avenue D Records (1983) when their single, Street Corner Serenade hit #4 on the Top 10 Doo-Wop chart.  

MEMORY is described in the BillBoard Book of American Singing Groups - A History 1940-1990 (Watson-Gupthill Publications).

Jaime was the lead singer for the Oldies/ Doo-Wop group DESIRE from 2006-2013. He and the group performed in such large venues as Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, Lead East and were hand-picked by Jay Leno as his opening act at the Sands Casino and Resort Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. (2012).  DESIRE released their first CD "Step by Step" in September 2008. He currently performs with his wife Nancy and his best friend Lou Benito under the group name: "DeJESUS Inspires" at benefits, church functions, assisted living residences, etc. They released their first CD, "Echoes of Harlem" in Nov, 2018.

Jaime is a father of 2 boys and 1 girl. He is a Christian actively involved in leading Bible Studies. (Link to Bible Studies) He enjoys computers, audio/video gear, singing and spending time with his 3 wonderful children, grandchildren and friends. He loves dining out, watching sports and going to Broadway musicals. Above all, Jaime loves God and values the time he spends praying for others, reading the Bible, preparing Bible studies, sharing Kingdom texts and spreading the "Good News" by bringing others to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Getting To Know Nancy

Nancy De Jesus

Artistic Biography      

Born: July 10th, 1959
Northampton, Pa.

Nancy largely credits her lifelong passion and talent for the arts to her mother, Pat, a music teacher and professional singer.

She began her musical training in classical piano at the age of 7 under the late Beatrice Gougher, a Julliard School of Music graduate.  She competed annually as a gold cup performer in the National Federation of American Music Clubs until age 15.

At the age of 16 her interests turned to the stage when she landed her first major dramatic role as Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker (the straight version of Hello Dolly).  As a teen, her passion for the performing arts flourished under the instruction of talented teacher and mentor, Joan Schneider. Nancy performed the role of Fatima in The Boys From Syracuse with the Pocono Players, a theatre troupe in the Pocono resort area of Pennsylvania.  In 1987, she became a founding member of The Coventry Players (Montgomery County, Pa.) and performed several dramatic roles with that company including Pam in Rich is Better and Jan in I’ll Be Back Before Midnight. 

In 1996 she was offered 3 roles in the television series, Medical Detectives (now broadcast as Forensic Files) on The Learning Channel (TLC) including the pilot episode, Magic Bullet. 

Following the completion of graduate studies in 1997 she began writing short stories and published her first non-fiction piece in New Works Review, an online magazine.  She went on to publish her first fiction novel, Cultivating Daughters (Authorhouse Publications, Bloomington, Indiana) in 2000.

She began the writing of her second novel when her friend, George Calderone invited her to begin singing duets with him in 2003.  Through his membership with a professional vocal harmony group, George would eventually lead her to the musical group DESIRE, first as a fan, then as a guest performer.  She was officially invited to join the group in 2011 following a dynamic performance with the group at Brookside Country Club in PA.  Over the next several years she and the group performed at such venues as Caesar’s Palace, Atlantic City, Lead East and were hand-picked by Jay Leno as his opening act in 2012 at the Sands Casino and Event Center, Bethlehem, Pa.  She currently sings with her husband Jaime DeJesus and Lou Benito in the group DeJESUS INSPIRES. They released their first CD, "Echoes of Harlem" in Nov, 2018.

Nancy graduated from Wallenpaupack Area High School, PA.  She earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Kutztown University in PA.  Besides her personally rewarding and successful career of more than 40 years in human services, she has tremendously enjoyed helping people with special needs in the field of behavioral health and developmental disabilities.  She has volunteered as a Big Sister for 9 years and as a member of the Lehigh Valley Red Cross.

Nancy enjoys gardening, gourmet cooking and caring for Windsor, her Maltese. She has many loving memories of her two Bichon Frise dogs, Maxwell and Brigitte, who have passed on.  She’s also the proud stepmom of Shannon and 3 grandchildren. 

She credits her joy and success in life to her abiding faith in God, her husband Jaime, her Mom & Dad, her family and all those who love and support her.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Getting To Know Big Lou

LOU "Big Lou" BENITO  
Musical Biography
BORN:  October 6th, 1948
CHILDHOOD: Manhattan, NYC ... 103rd Street  ... Amsterdam Avenue Projects

In 1960, when Lou was 12 years old, he sang 2nd tenor for an acappella group named "The Chants" with Jaime De Jesus. The group competed in the Apollo Theater Talent Show, they were also selected to backup Frankie Lymon for a comeback performance at an outdoor "Block Party". They sang at the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem and at numerous shows and parties in the 'hood'. The Chants also performed and competed at Town Hall in NYC which resulted in the recording of an LP Demo on Amber Records which, unfortunately, was never released.
Lou was not only a prominent player for the basketball varsity, he was also a member of the Gomper's H.S. Chorus in the mid 1960's and sang bass for an acappella group named Memory from 1976-1990. Memory performed in numerous venues including a live appearance on WCBS-FM, "Don K. Reed's Doo Wop Shop". Memory recorded for Avenue D Records and was recognized in the BillBoard Book of American Singing Groups - A History 1940-1990 (Jay Warner).
Lou sang bass for an oldies, doo wop group named "Desire" from 2006-2016. Desire released their first CD, 'Step By Step', in September, 2008. 
Lou currently sings with Jaime and Nancy De Jesus in a group known as “DeJesus Inspires” in the New Jersey area. They released their first CD, "Echoes of Harlem" in Nov, 2018. 

Lou's music Influences were:  listening to 'Murray the K's Swingin' Soiree' radio show; attending concerts at the Brooklyn Fox featuring many singing groups; growing up in Manhattan, hearing guys harmonizing in the street corners and parks; singing bass in the junior high chorus and then, meeting up with his oldest friend, Jaime, and forming his first group at the age of 12 and competing with other neighborhood groups. He is an established golfer and, whenever possible, spends time with his two sons and grandchildren.