Hampton Avenue is an a cappella jazz-pop group of 7 singers, consisting of 4 males and 3 females. As you will see in the biography section, (to access individual biographies -- see biography section) all of these singers are professional musicians with a great deal of varied experience in the music business, each bringing his or her own pot-pourri of talents and strengths to the group.
Debbie Fleming, co-ordinator and conductor of Hampton Avenue, has put together various combinations of singers over the last 18 years, to rehearse both her original arrangements and charts by such groups as Singers Unlimited, The PM Singers, Manhattan Transfer, The Hi-Los, and Take 6, all of whom have had a huge influence on the Hampton Avenue sound. Many accomplished singers have joined these get-togethers, simply for the love of singing, sight-reading and harmonizing.
In 1983, the original group, then known as "Sing-Co-op-8" briefly became a performing group, but the difficulties in co-ordinating schedules of 8 very busy session singers ensured that this project was short-lived. Debbie, who is a writer and arranger, has accumulated a number of original a cappella arrangements over the years, and in 1995, decided to once again try and assemble a group of interested singers, to rehearse, and possibly record an album.
Judy Tate, the only original member besides Debbie, was the first to show her interest and she brought along her talented daughter, Emilie Barlow, who, though not quite 20 at the time, was already an accomplished musician, singer and sight-reader. Various combinations of voices were tried, and in March 1996 we arrived at a lineup of 8 singers , when Suba Sankaran, Dylan Bell, and Tom Lillington were recruited from the York University Jazz vocal ensemble "Wibijazzin". The rehearsal group at that time, was made up of members Debbie, Judy, Emilie, Larry Folk and Don Laws. Stephanie Taylor, a seasoned session singer was then invited to be our "swing", singing any parts from soprano to tenor, usually sung by people who had to be absent from rehearsals. The sound clicked, the personnel were dedicated, all 9 ducks were in a row, and Hampton Avenue was named -- in recognition of the street in downtown Toronto, where rehearsals shaped the group. In January '98, to even up the score, we added a very capable male "swing", Tim Olfert, an ex-member of Wibijazz'n, who was brought in, kicking, screaming and making beautiful noises by Tom, Suba and Dylan.
In 1998, Emilie Barlow and Don Laws left HA to pursue further interests.
Emilie Barlow is now a solo jazz recording artist, nominated for a Juno
award in 2002. In 2000, Stephanie Taylor left the group, in order
to spend more time with The Canadian Singers.
Hampton Avenue has released 2 CD's, both of which are available in our Market Section. Sheet music for our vocal arrangements is also available for sale in this section.
See our upcoming concert section for newly added concert information!
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