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Vocalist has worked with LaBelle, Vandross Thursday, 3/11/04 By BOB TULINI Courier-Post Staff Courior Post Online

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Includes literacy, tutoring, nutrition, movement, money management, guest artists and seminars. Students host events for their families, the elderly, preschool children and other target groups in an effort to foster strengthened familial ties, familiarity and increased respect for the elderly, increased parenting skills and more. We will offer field trips and other incentives to participants.

NAME - Carla L. Benson of Camden, New Jersey
Carla Benson is a music teacher at Brimm Medical Arts High School in Camden. She has been a back-up singer for Patti LaBelle, Elton John and Luther Vandross.

OCCUPATIONS - Benson is a vocalist and has taught vocal music at Brimm Medical Arts High School in Camden.

ENTERTAINMENT - She began a musical career in the early 1970s, providing background vocals with a cousin and a friend at Philadelphia International Records' studios. Singer Patti LaBelle dubbed them The Sweeties.

She has sung background for artists including LaBelle, Elton John and Luther Vandross, and performed in plays and television shows.

She was a section leader for the background vocalists featured in the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which put Motown's legendary backing band The Funk Brothers in the spotlight.


"These children have a lot to say and they say it through music," she says. "Music is very emotional and the kind of music you listen to brings out emotions. I expose them to things and ideas and situations that I don't think they would be getting in their homes."

Benson, a lifelong resident of Camden who has taught at the school since 2001, says she tries to deliver an important message to her students.

"I'm a living example to my children that they are not condemned to a poor future because of their address, and I give them that message through music," she says.


On March 27 in Deptford, the Southern New Jersey Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women will give Benson a 2004 Candace Award. The group describes her as a woman of achievement in entertainment, culture and arts education and a role model for black women.

She provided background vocals on two 2002 Grammy Award-winning recordings, the traditional rhythm and blues song "What's Going On" performed by Chaka Khan and The Funk Brothers and the soundtrack for Standing in the Shadows of Motown.


She graduated from Camden High School in 1971. She then took college classes on and off but concentrated more of her attention on her music career and having her two sons, Adam and Larry. She completed her bachelor of arts degree in music from Rowan University in 1999.


Her parents were educators and encouraged her to pursue a profession in teaching and her passion for performing.

"Both said I was a teacher. I fought them but they were correct," she says.


"I demand excellence from myself and I demand it from my sons and my students, and they reach it."


Patti LaBelle told her "do what you do and anybody who doesn't like it, tough."


"Find your passion, and recognize you need a spiritual connection to someone greater than you, wherever you find it."

Funk Brothers shine in the limelight By Paul Sexton Wed 4 February, 2004 -- type=entertainmentNews&storyID=451687&section=new

LONDON (Billboard) - Motown legends the Funk Brothers, sharing the name of the Grammy-winning film documentary that brought these mighty musicians their belated recognition, have pounded out the hits for a star studded audience in the Albert Hall.

Such has been the impression made by "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" that the venerable cast of sidemen who played on virtually every significant Motown record from its origins until about 1973 are undoubtedly stepping out of the shadows of Motown and into the spotlight. It may have taken far too long to shine on them, but it is certainly shining now.

Percussionist Jack Ashford, one of six of the original 13 Funk Brothers who has lived to see this overdue thanksgiving on Tuesday, as part of a ten-leg European tour, was revelling in his improbable new role as stage-front MC. As he told an appreciative and starry audience that included Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Nick Lowe and James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, he had been part of Motown's first international scouting party in this city way back in 1965. He joked that the veteran status of those who remain means that the cigarette breaks of the old days have been replaced by medication breaks.

Some of the fans here to show their appreciation for this celebratory recreation of the Brothers' finest sessions were the grandchildren of those early supporters, and they did much to establish a respectful but suitably joyful atmosphere that pervaded the evening. So did two world-famous singers contributing guest vocals, but tonight both Steve Winwood and Billy Preston were happy to be featured as humble cast members in a collective that raised its cap to the truly legendary music of Hitsville U.S.A.

Before either of them appeared, vocal lynchpins Carla Benson and Johnny Ingram had already laid down some impressive credentials. Ingram shined on "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "Reach Out I'll Be There" as did Benson, especially, on one of several welcome "specialist" inclusions to the program, Martha & the Vandellas' 1966 soul gem "My Baby Loves Me."

At the keyboards, 76-year-old Joe Hunter was revelling in the fact that he is a year older than Mickey Mouse, and then along came Preston, himself a former Motown signing, to fire up his distinctive organ sound on "Pride and Joy" and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Benson was back for a delightful revival of Brenda Holloway's "When I'm Gone" before Winwood's second half donation, which included "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and a spirited turn as Junior Walker, a Motown artist to whom he shares a vocal resemblance, on "Shotgun." He did well, too, at the helm of Shorty Long's "Function at the Junction."

Allan Slutsky, the musician and author whose biography of the late Motown bass-playing giant James Jamerson was the inspiration for "Shadows," excitedly introduced these half-dozen irreplaceable men, before a rousing finale of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." It was an evening on which to cherish the keepers of the original Motown flame.


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