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Soul Sister Brother Groups Make Stage Debut

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The Following is taken from 7UP


"Slick song and dance routines have paved the way for stage debuts at the Blackie by kids. The Disco in the Blackie Fashion show in 1972 saw the birth of soul sister/brother groups The Glitters, Funky Hands And Feet, and Friends Of Soul.


The young Glitters dancing duet (Maxine Alcock, Brenda Suku) with dance combination group Funky Hands and Feet (Ramon Serrano, Gerald Aryeetey, Stephen Smith, Phil Tagoe, Ronnie Deforo) and teenage vocal group Friends of Soul (Hilda Osu, Diane Barker, Pauline Williams, Iola Palmer, Joanne Lewis, Linda Agoro, Donna Deforo) inspired many watchers to become singers/dancers in later shows (Christmas Fair ’72, Summer Show ’74). Other groups since formed include: Black Gold, Puzzle People, Sister’s Peace.


Friends of Soul’s (first of the vocal groups) performance at Disco in the Blackie Fashion was a personal triumph for the group, who in front of a somewhat critical audience of relations/mates turned in a smooth interpretation of ‘Ebony Eyes’ by the Stylistics.


Gary Tagoe, ex-Funky Five and now with the Superstars, recalls how older friend Jayotis Williams, Ronnie Deforo, and Stephanie Dodds, with the occasional staff member, would help sharpen the group’s stage presence in voice and dance as well as arranging practice schedules.


Rehearsals were tough discipline-wise and if a show was scheduled practice was daily, with material (mainly soul numbers) being worked on for up to three weeks before the performance date. Often 2-3 groups would be in, practicing simultaneously in different places. The groups always tended to start off bigger than they ended up, as the few with non-professional attitudes left the scene. As Gary Tagoe chipped in: “It was hard but that’s the way it should be.”"


 

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