No offense to the others, but my favorite News @5 guest this week had to be Della Reese. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long, long time. Her acting, but mainly her great jazz singing.
I was in the audience many moons ago when she appeared at a corporate event at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks. Saying her feet hurt she kicked off her shoes and ended her show with a killer version of Ease On Down the Road.
Off the air yesterday she and I were chatted about her early career and how she was discovered by the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Della was part of her backup group while still a teenager. “I didn’t like her,” she told me. “But let me explain.” She went on to tell me that on the road the boys wanted to “chase” her. And she “wanted to be chased.” Her mother and Mahalia Jackson made a deal to keep her chaste and not chased. “I didn’t like her,” Della said again. I sure like Della Reese, though.