Harrisburg resident Leonard Caston, the legendary writer and producer of the Motown hit Keep on Truckin’, will appear with the Harrisburg Symphony on the orchestra’s Capital BlueCross Pops Series on Saturday, May 5th at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, May 6th at 3 p.m. at the Forum in Harrisburg. Joining Caston on the program, entitled Motown Magic, will be singers Katalin Kiss and Gavin Hope. The orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, Tara Simoncic, will conduct.
The concert will take audiences on a musical journey of unforgettable Motown megahits made famous by the likes of Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin.
Support for the Motown Magic Pops performances comes from Pops Series sponsor, Capital BlueCross. Additional Guest Artist sponsorship for these concerts has been provided by Carmen & Tonia Finestra, Susquehanna Financial Advisors LLC, Pinnacle Health Medical Group, Pepsico, Goldberg Katzman Attorneys at Law, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, and Noisegate.
As an educational outreach aspect of the Motown Magic concerts, high school students were given the opportunity to enter a “Motown Magic Essay Contest,” submitting up to 250 words on the theme: My Favorite Motown Artist is…because… One winner was chosen from each grade 9 thru 12. The winners are: 9th Grade – Jessieka Aponte (SciTech High School), 10th Grade – Mystery Banks (John Harris High School), 11th Grade – Marcelus Thompson (John Harris High School), and 12th Grade – Keijuana Perkins (John Harris High School). Essay contest winners were awarded a $45 Gift Certificate from Outback Steak House, 4 tickets to the Motown Magic concert, an invitation to a “Backstage Meet and Greet,” and a Certificate of Achievement.
Tickets for the Motown Magic concerts range from $10 to $58 depending on seating location and are available online at Harrisburg Symphony or by calling the HSO office (717) 545-5527.
Leonard Caston, piano
Harrisburg’s own, multi-talented musician, Leonard Caston started his musical career at the age of 10 playing guitar and piano for local churches in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Caston worked for Chess Records and Motown Records for over 15 years. He has served as producer, songwriter, composer, arranger, conductor and performer. Leonard worked with such artists as: Coa Coa Taylor, Marlina Shaw, Willie Dixon, Tye Hunter, Muddy Waters, Tony Clark, Sonyboy Williamson, James Phelps, Little Milton Campbell, Billy Stewart, Mitty Collier, The Radients, Fontella Bass, The Dells, Jackie Ross, The Soul Stirrers, Sugar Pie De Santo, The Violinares, Laura Lee, Harold Smith and The Majestics, Minnie Riperton, Operation Bread Basket Orchestra, and Etta James. In 1968 Caston signed with the Motown family where for the next ten years he had the privilege of working with such artist as the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Originals, Syretta Wright, the Spinners, David Ruffin, the Supremes, Jimmy Ruffin, the Marvelettes, G. C. Cameron, Diana Ross, Eddie Kendricks, Junior Walker, and Smokey Robinson.
Mr. Caston teamed up with producer, song writer, now Rev. Frank Wilson. Together they produced several gold and platinum records and in 1975 they received the Producers of the Year Award for the Eddie Kendricks “Keep On Truckin” album.
Gavin Hope, vocals
Gavin Hope has diverse experience through song, stage, film, and TV throughout his career. After being the youngest member in Calgary Opera Chorus history, he’s been a member of Alberta pop group The EarthTones, sang with Michael Bolton, and eventually became a member of the Canadian Pop A Cappella institution, The Nylons. Four albums, constant touring, and a Juno Nomination later, Gavin ventured into theatre, where highlights include RENT, plus having the opportunity to play the role of Simba in the original Canadian company of The Lion King. Some other selected credits include The Tempest and As You Like It with Canstage. Gavin also had the pleasure of performing with Stage West Calgary’s Smokey Joe’s Café.
Gavin recorded his debut album, Anything Like Mine, in 1998, gaining favorable chart positions on Canadian airwaves with 9 singles, including Can I Get Close, which garnered him another Juno nomination for best R&B recording. Gavin has had many great opportunities to travel the world and share the stage with celebrities such as Deborah Cox, Jill Scott, Shania Twain, Michelle Wright, Natalie Cole, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. After some time gigging with multiple bands, performing jingles for Radio and Television, being a featured vocalist with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines, Gavin is now finally looking forward to getting back in the studio to record another album very soon!
Katalin Kiss, vocals
Katalin Kiss is known in the Canadian music industry for her staggering, tear-the-roof-off, goosebump-inducing vocals. In her travels she’s worked with many legends: Del Shannon, Chubby Checker, Chuck Berry, and Chaka Khan. A much-respected member of the Jeans ‘n Classics family, Katalin lives in Picton, Ontario with her bassist husband and three children.
They have their own recording studio and have just begun renting a vacation cottage on their property in “beautiful Prince Edward County” over the summer months.