Performing History – Faces
Here are just some of the amazing musicians with whom Suz has performed.
A musical romp through the ages!
Jeepers! is a mash up of Suz’s former Ukulele trio, the Wallop Sisters, and and her 1980s group, Jeepers!, that featured harmony-filled songs from the big band era, quirky tunes, and lots more. Luckily, the lead singer/ guitarist of the former Jeepers! group, Karen Sikich, gave Suz permission to use the name for the new iteration of Jeepers! Did I mention that I kind of like the name, Jeepers!? Anyhoo, the current version of the group has different configurations: A duo with Suz (uke/ piano) and her hubby, Niels Nielsen (on accordion/ bass). Sometimes it’s a trio with Jeanne Holmes (uke/ vocals) added; other times Jeanne’s hubby, John Swanson joins in, making it a quartet; and on occasion, Karen Sikich joins us on guitar/ vocals, which is a fun mix of Jeepers!-ness from in inception to its modern iteration.
Jeepers! Creepers! Where’d ya get those peepers? – the song that inspired our band name
** JEEPERS! How many times can we use the word JEEPERS! in one post?!!
The Wallop Sisters (formerly the Ukes of Hazard)
More fun than you can shake a uke at!
Luscious 3-part Harmonies a la the Andrews Sisters. Eclectic songs from the Motown, Rock, Rhythm and Blues and Sixties Eras to the good old days of Big Bands, Vo-de-o-do-ing (a 1920s version of yodeling) and Zoot Suits. Put these together and you’ve got “The Wallop Sisters,” more fun than you can shake a ukulele at. Jeanne Holmes and Mary Strickroth (of the 6-part harmony group “The Sonic Boomers” fame), and Suzannah Doyle (from oodles of harmonizing bands over the years) may look like ordinary cake bakin’, Betty Crocker kind of gals, but put some ukes in their hands and they pack a surprising musical wallop with their luscious harmonies and eclectic selection of tunes (who knew James Brown could sound so good on the humble uke? Woah! I feel GOOD!). Active from 2010 to 2014.
The Wallop Sisters appeared at: Tunes in the Dunes Ukulele Camp • Lincoln Cultural Center • Northwest Gospel Explosion • Corvallis Best Cellar Concert Series • Aloha Friday (Cozmic Pizza, Eugene, OR) • Mya Moe Picnic (White Salmon, WA) • Corvallis Fall Festival • Uketoberfest (Eugene, OR) • Imagine Coffee House • Eugene Saturday Market • LBCC Acoustic Showcase • Corvallis Imagination Festival • Corvallis Ukulele Cabaret (hosts) • Corvallis Arts Center
Check out the Wallop Sisters (formerly the Ukes of Hazard) performing their rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the Lincoln Cultural Center in September 2013.
Musical Improv Work – various groups
Suz provides improvised piano and ukulele underscoring and in-the-moment songwriting for groups including Infinite Improv-abilities, Pirate Improv Theatre, and Springboard Northwest. She has also played piano for music theatre teachers and improvisers, including Brad Fortier (Brody Theatre); Eric Nepom (Infinite Improv-abilities workshops); International keynote concertarian Vicki Hannah Lein; Aden Kirschner (Merlin Works Improv classes), and Jean Bonifas (Springboard Northwest, LLC). She has also done on-the-spot songwriting during concerts at Eugene Uketober Fest and Tunes in the Dunes Ukulele Camp.
Suz leads workshops in Singing without Fear and On-the-spot Songwriting, and has provided spontaneous musical underscoring for countless events for over 30 years. She delights in writing/ co-writing songs in the moment and in inviting people of all ages, abilities and musical styles to rediscover the music within them.
Instruments Suz plays include: Piano, ukulele, guitar, bass, boomwhackers, mandolin, records and ethnic flutes, psaltery, and a smattering of violin, cello, and harp.
Pirate Improv Theatre Show (PITS)
A wild and sassy group of pirate-loving improvisarians (those who make up pirate-themed music, theatre and other bits of entertainments on the spot). Suz provided improvised piano underscoring and pirate-y song co-writing for troupe members as they improvised songs on the spot.
This crazy clan of cohorts is also part of Impropera, a musical theatre improv group comprised of oodles of talented actors, singers and comedians from the Pacific Northwest. This particular incarnation of Proliferative Pirate Playmates includes (pictured at left): Suzannah Doyle, Heather Hoglund, Linsey Earp, Ajai Tripathi, Johanna Beekman, Jean Bonifas, and Eric Nepom.
More fun that you can shake a wooden leg at!
David Cudo (Another Dave)
Soprano and alto sax player extraordinaire David Cudo played at Carnegie hall at age 18 and toured Europe with America’s Youth in Concert. He is a two time recipient of the Close Scholarship at the University of Oregon School of music. A financial planner by trade, he has managed to record two albums with Suz (as Another Dave), has composed several original songs, and released his first album of original compositions, “Promise,” in 2010. Suz and Dave still perform together on occasion at various whoop-ti-dos in the Northwest.
Kathy Morris, Harpist
Suz (piano) & Niels Nielsen (bass) have the delightful honor of performing with Kathy at the yearly Light Up a Life Celebration in Lebanon, Oregon. This event, sponsored by Samaritan Health Services, honors those who were served by Evergreen Hospice in a given year, as well as honoring family and friends of the departed one, and Hospice volunteers and staff who make their work possible.
Suz was delighted to share the bill at the Jan 25, 2019 Best Cellar Concert with Dinna Fash. They each did their own set, then played two songs together at the end. Dinna Fash (Scottish for “Don’t Worry”) consists of Kevin Craven, fiddle & viola; Maria Blair on fiddle & cello; and Beth Brown on cello and whistle. They played some modern tunes composed by the new generation of Celtic-influenced musicians. Suz performed all of her own originals (for the first time) on piano and voice, and was joined by fellow songwriters, Niels Nielsen on bass, and Jeanne Holmes on Uke and vocals. She also improvised two complete songs on the spot based on audience suggestions.
After each group played its own sets, they joined in together to end the night with two songs. The cello and violins added so much to Suz’s “Tango Moon” song, and Suz enjoyed adding piano (not to mention Niels Nielsen on bass and Jeanne Holmes on uke and vocals) to their rendition of the classic Irish singalong, “The Parting Glass.” What a fun evening!
FROM SUZ’S TOP SECRET PERFORMING DIARY:
Cantando en español e ingles con mi amiga, Billie:
Suz piano playing at weddings, memorial services, & other events
Over the years, Suz has played piano, both as a soloist and as an accompanist for various configurations of musicians, for hundreds of weddings, memorials services, and other kinds of gatherings, from reverent to raucous. In addition, she has extensive experience coordinating/ music directing for such events, which includes educating participants about the function of music at gatherings and different options for structure, format, and flow of the songs, preparing music charts for different musicians and singers, and creating
underscoring for transitional moments, slide shows, and spontaneous events, often in the moment.
She created her Free factsheet, “How to choose Music for a Memorial Service” to help families and loved ones better understand the function of music at such a gathering, and how music can make the experience more meaningful and a more accurate expression of the personality of their loved one and those grieving the loss of them.
On-the-spot songwriting, inspirational messages and empowering creative play are the hallmark of Keynote Concertarian Vicki Hannah Lein, who delights and inspires people from all walks of life to dare to be brave and live their biggest dreams. Suz gets to create instrumental tracks for Vicki’s albums and performances, and occasionally joins in with her live in keynote concerts with songs on subjects from Menopause to believing in yourself and being on an authentic journey. Who knew that music could be so fun and life-changing at the same time?
“Is it legal to have this much fun??!! “
Audrey began performing with Neal Gladstone in l980. Her appreciation for his original material helped usher his unique music and comedy out of his living room and onto the stages of Oregon . From 1987-1991 she worked with Fred Child (now the host of NPR’s “Performance Today”) and Neal to produce “Neal Gladstone and Friends Radio Show, ” which aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting, KLCC out of Eugene, and KUOW in Seattle. Suz played piano for Audrey at several events over the past year, and looks forward to more musical meanderings with her! Audrey is the featured vocalist on CD “Song for us all” with Neal Gladstone, and appears on all six of his CDs, including “Sleep Neat,” “American Dawg,” and “Big Fish” along with her harmonizing cohort, Barbara Gladstone.
Mitch The Whistler (Mitch Hider)
Mitch is a nationally-known, award-winning whistler, singer, ukulele player and vaudevillian. Suz has had the pleasure of singing and playing with him numerous times over the years, and loves how he makes every performance so much fun. He received the Lillian Williams Award for distinction in the art of entertainment from the International Whistler’s Association and was a featured performer in the Emerald City Opry. His years hanging out with Spike Jones and friends may explain why Mitch’s name seems to by synonymous with “Vaudeville!”
“I am about to play . . . La Donna e Mobile. I don’t know what to play, but I’ll play it anyway . . . “
Johanna (whose full name is Johanna Beekman) is a contemporary Indie Folk Rock singer/ songwriter whose has two CDs out, “Stolen Grace,” and “If I Could Fly.” Suz appears on some of the songs from the latter one, and plays occasional concerts with Johanna. Johanna wrote her first song at 9 years old. By the time she was 20 she had released her first album of original music, studied songwriting with Chris Williamson and Tret Fure, musical improvisation with jazz singer Rhiannon and rhythm-master Keith Terry, performed in musical theatre, rock and world-beat bands, gospel and women’s community choirs, improvisational acting and singing troupes, social action theatre groups, films (including Gus Van Sant’s Sundance Award-winning “Elephant”), and countless festivals, political rallies, clubs, coffee houses, colleges, and universities. In 2005 she Completed her BS in Women’s Studies with a focus on diversity education and a minor in theater with a focus on social action and improvisation. Her music has been influenced by Ani Difranco, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Carol King, Grace Slick, Tracy Chapman, Bette Midler, the Indigo Girls, the Beatles, and Motown.
This sax and woodwinds master played in the Hamburg, Germany production of Cats for 11 years, performed, recorded & broadcasted with the NDR Big Band, and in European orchestral works including An American in Paris and Phantom of the Opera. He performed on numerous CDs, including Cats (German prod.,1986), and Fascinating Rhythm (Ensemble Clarinesque, Signum, 1996). He and Suz played light jazz, improvised music at labyrinth walks, and obscure tunes on occasion here and there and now and then. Prior to his death, he appeared in numerous big bands throughout the Willamette Valley.
” …a talented and versatile duo! They can go from poignant to hilarious at a moment’s notice, and follow the whims of a crowd so keenly!”
Absolute—Elizabeth Wyatt, Robin Patterson, Julie Williams, Micki Reaman, and Shelley Willis —believes in the power of harmony and in music with a message. They blend vocal harmonies in performance to weave a musical tapestry that will lift your spirit and arouse your heart. Their music ranges from South African freedom songs to contemporary folk music, from doo-wop to choral arrangements, from creative unique arrangements of contemporary music to original compositions by Absolute members and other local musicians. Their performances will take you from the familiar and silly to the poignant and soulful.
Absolute has performed at an Amnesty International event at Oregon State University, at OSU’s Summer Folk camp; Celtic Music Series, at da Vinci Days, for the City of Corvallis’ MLK Celebration, with Jubilate! The Women’s Choir of Corvallis, and at private house parties, weddings, and memorial services. Absolute produced and opened a Judy Fjell concert in Corvallis and created a commissioned program for ArtCentric in conjunction with a 9/11 Memorial Tapestry exhibition. Suz joined them on piano as a special guest in their May 2007 showcase concert at Artcentric, and looks forward to future musical forays with them.
the Suzannah Doyle Trio
A trio of mirthful musical cohorts and real life pals playing songs from easy listening James Taylor tunes to torchy gospel, folk, light jazz, standards, classical, Celtic and originals — not to mention some quirky tunes from the good old days that are not often heard any more.
Featuring Suzannah Doyle on piano and vocals, Paul Bezanson on vocals and guitar, and the late Stuart Curtis on Woodwinds — from Tenor sax to tin whistles and everything inbetween. Also known to play nose flute on occasion!
A saucy women’s trio performing British Music hall tunes, novelty songs from Noel Coward, and recitations of the ever popular Ramsbottom sagas. With Suz at the piano, they have done variety shows, strictly British high teas and other events in the area, including the popular yearly “Majestic Theatre Follies” variety shows. Beyond Reproach members include Londoner Kathi Anderson (Albert & The Lion officianado and owner of Oregon’s very own “Buckingham Palace”), Jane Sivetz (famous for writing the shortest letters to the editor in the west & sending the audience into hysterical fits of laughter with her signature song “Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty”) and the late Muriel Maxwell (a sultry jazz singer who defected from the circus of
England in the 1960s . . . who says her skills as an elephant girl didn’t come in handy later? But that’s another story!).
Jane, at the age of 92, still wowed audiences on occasion with her feisty renditions of songs such as “Lorelei,” “You’d Be Surprised,” and (my other favorite of hers) “Blah Blah Blah” (a classic Gershwin tune). She also played the role of “The fairy” who saves the day in the Piano Dreams movie
Jane passed away at the age of 99 in February 2022. Suz & assorted co-horts are digitizing videos of her performances over the years, and plan a tribute concert sometime later in the year to honor her memory.
Free Range Chix
It all began in the spring of 2002. Four talented women wandered into their local community theater, performed brilliantly in the musical SIX WOMEN WITH BRAIN DEATH, or EXPIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW, and decided the magic must continue. One question demanded an answer: how could they continue to sing incredible harmony, offer a little wisdom, and make people laugh until they peed their pants? The answer was obvious and The Free Range Chix were hatched. Suz has played with them on occasion and gets to create Music trax for their performances and their CDs. How cool is that?!
“Wrap your claws around Menopause, or it will wrap it’s claws around you . . . “
Gospel singer extraordinaire! Suz had the good fortune to accompany Pam during the years Pam lived in Oregon. They did several shows with The Innerstrength Gospel Choir, Isaiah Jones, director, a top notch show at the Majestic, and numerous other events over the years.
Pam is best known for her show-stopping gospel voice, but even more so for her warm heart and loving nature. “Amazing Grace” will never be the same!
Mark is a singer/ songwriter who performs nation-wide. He appeared at Merv Griffin’s Coconut Club in Los Angeles, opened for Karla Bonoff in 1997, and has over 12 solo albums out, including “My Foolish Heart,” and “Young and Foolish”. Mark and Suzannah performed together professionally since 1973 on Riverboats, in concert, and at resorts and fine supper clubs throughout Oregon. Merv Griffin describes Mark’s voice as “beautifully lyrical.” The Prime Rib Riverside called Mark & Suzannah: “Crowd-pleasers! …their extensive and eclectic repertoire pleased a plethora of musical palates!”
FROM SUZ’S TOP SECRET PERFORMING DIARY:
Popular actress, singer, playwrite and voice teacher, Vicki has appeared in oodles of theatre productions, including with Melinda Pittman of Summer Angels fame, and in the group “Double Image” with Susan Peck, with whom she appeared on two albums. She and Suz performed their famous “Home Eck” medley to gastronomic fans, and Suz had the privilege of accompanying scores of talented voice students over the years that Vicki taught in the area.
Soothing, uplifting 4-part harmony music with music veterans Kitzie Stern, Paul Bezanson and Doug Ulfers (and Suz, of course!). The group served as the music team of Unity Church of Corvallis for several years, and continues to inspire people from all walks of life with their transcendent vocal blend and diverse repertoire, from Doo-wop tunes and engaging singalongs to Sanskrit chants and reflective songs about loss and remembrance. All have appeared with the area’s top musicians, on numerous CDs, radio shows and at the Majestic Theatre.
“Smooth, sophisticated sound!”
Aretha Meece/Ladies with Hats
Aretha was a blues and gospel singer who has performed in the Willamette Valley with many groups. She and Suz, as the duo “Ladies With Hats”, performed an eclectic blend of big band tunes of the 30s and 40s as well as contemporary music. Suz says: It was a privilege working with her over the years at a bevy of musical venues and events. It was especially meaningful playing piano for her final performance at the Majestic, and then singing the theme song for which she was best known (”Something’s Got a Hold on Me”) at her memorial service in October 2003. She was a tiny woman with a giant voice and an expansive spirit and embrace of life.
Newly arrived in Oregon, this seasoned chanteuse has teamed up with Suz to share jazz songs that run from the sultry to the sublime. In her own words: Singing was a passion long before it became a profession for me. And music has always been much more about heart and soul than chords and notes. It’s what connects my inner and outer worlds, and allows me to tap my deepest feelings. As a result, performing with emotion and enthusiasm has become my musical trademark, because it is the only way I know how to honor the music and me. That love affair has taken me on a fascinating musical path…from European cathedrals to nightclubs, from headlining on stage in Nevada to performing solo with classical orchestras, and from backing up Paul Anka to doing the Star Spangled Banner on national television…twice! Now I choose to focus on what I love best…venues where I can connect with an audience and perform my versions of classical jazz, sultry standards, Broadway tunes, blues, and pop. As a little girl in Ohio I dreamed that someday people would actually want to listen to me perform, and living for 30 years in Arizona I watched that dream come true. Now I’ve made Oregon my permanent home, and I’m thrilled to bring my musical joy to the Willamette Valley.
FROM SUZ’S TOP SECRET PERFORMING DIARY:
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