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Singing troupe heading to New York
Bob and Kathy Russell, third and fifth from right, head up the Bob Russell Singers, who will perform during the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City this weekend. - photo by For the FCN

A Cumming singing troupe will head to New York this weekend.

The Bob Russell Singers, 13 members strong, has been chosen to participate in a music festival called Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Russell and his wife, Kathy, have become well known in the Forsyth County performing arts community.

Together, they began the Georgia Senior Follies, a large-scale musical variety show featuring the talents of seniors 55 and older. The show is presented nearly every year at the Cumming Playhouse.

They also lead BK Productions, which has put on several shows with casts of all ages at the playhouse, such as last year’s “Annie.” This December, they’ll be leading the musical, “White Christmas.”  

Bob Russell said the singers are a “relatively new group” made up of many of the couple’s friends.

“It’s actually a lot of people who are in the Follies and friends of ours, so it’s been around for a while in a casual sense,” he said, but noted that the group became more formal, taking its name and booking public performances less than a year ago.

“These are all people who have day jobs or are retired and just love to sing, and who are very talented.”

At the recommendation of a jazz arranger friend, he said the group was asked to perform at the festival, which will be held April 19-21 at New York’s Lincoln Center.

“He was unable to make it this year so he recommended us,” Russell said. “It’s not a competition, but it is an invitational … and I think there are only four or five groups that will be going from around the country.”

To his knowledge, the Singers will be the lone adult group.

“Everybody else is high school and college. So we’re the old guys and we better be good,” he joked.

The group will be performing several times throughout the weekend.

“We’ll be singing in ensemble, along with a jazz band, and then we’ll be singing individually also,” Russell said. “We’re just so excited and so honored to be asked to perform.”