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Garrison Woman, Former Broadway Singer, Performs In Peekskill

The Joni Blondell Band has become a big hit in Peekskill.
The Joni Blondell Band has become a big hit in Peekskill. Photo Credit: Courtesy of SharaNikoPhoto.com

GARRISON, N.Y. -- Joni Lanza, who previously performed on the Great White Way, is taking her musical talents closer to home.

Lanza is the lead singer of the Joni Blondell Band , a country rock cover band that regularly performs at Peekskill's Hudson Room .

"We're having a great time," Lanza said.

Performing on Broadway on and on for 13 years, Lanza was in "Copacabana," "42nd St," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

"It was an amazing experience," Lanza, who played the lead in "42nd St" approximately 80 times, said.

Lanza left Broadway when she started her family and moved to Garrison where she lives with her three kids, ages 7, 6 and 3. The family runs a maple syrup and goat cheese farm.

"It was really important for me to be involved in their lives and not be going back and forth to the city," she explained.

The opportunity to join a band started when her husband, Louis, purchased the Hudson Room and she performed "Amazing Grace" at her mother-in-law's funeral.

"It was such an emotional experience," Lanza said. "It was my first time performing in front of audience in 10 years. I was able to connect again with my talent."

Lanza's brother-in-law said there was an open slot in his band, and the Joni Blondell Band was formed.

Lanza said she likes to perform songs by women who have inspired her including Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Popular covers include Dolly Parton's "Jolene," and Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man."

"Audiences really respond to tunes and artists that are so well loved," Lanza, a Kentucky native, said. "We try to add energy to the Hudson Room. We're having a great time."

She said the band is looking to perform at more venues; one big one will be Peekskill's Mardi Gras Celebration.

While her kids can't attend her Hudson Room performances due to the late hour, she said they enjoy seeing her on stage.

"My 7-year-old really loves it," Lanza said. "I practice a lot at home. They know and like a lot of the songs. They are getting a musical education in this genre."

For more information and details on upcoming performances, visit www.joniblondell.com

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