In honor of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald’s 104th birthday on Sunday, April 25, The Yonkers Downtown/Waterfront Business Improvement District, with support from the city of Yonkers and Mayor Mike Spano, has coordinated a much needed restoration of Fitzgerald’s statue as well as a celebratory live-streamed concert featuring the best of Fitzgerald’s iconic music on Friday, April 23, from 5 to 6 p.m.
The virtual concert, “Yonkers Celebrates Ella,” will feature Sounds of A&R singing her greatest hits and concluding with a special rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
A life-sized sculpture of Fitzgerald by Vinnie Bagwell was unveiled at Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza, 5 Buena Vista Ave. in 1996, the year she died, to honor her legacy and connection to Yonkers, where she grew up. She is posed with her hands extended, singing, forever entertaining onlookers with her timeless talents.
In the 1920s, Fitzgerald lived on School Street downtown. In a career that spanned six decades, she toured and recorded constantly, producing one hit record after another. Music publishers wanted her to be the first to record their new songs, and she became known as “The First Lady of Song.”
“Since it has been more than 25 years since the unveiling of Ella’s statue, it is only fitting that we bring new life to the sculpture with a complete restoration for her 104th birthday,” said Sara Brody, executive director of the YBID. “I want to extend a special thanks to the city of Yonkers and Mayor Mike Spano for making this happen. Now that she is fully refreshed, what better way to celebrate her than with a special concert. We hope everyone will join in for the live stream to enjoy the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald.”
Live stream available on both Facebook & Instagram (@yonkersdowntown).
– Georgette Gouveia