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R&B great Ruth Brown to perform at UConn/Waterbury gala (Released: 2/21/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Otha Brown was a young man in his first year at Central State College near Dayton, Ohio, when he first saw Ruth Brown, the celebrated rhythm and blues singer, perform. Some years later, while working with Voice of America, Brown heard her voice again. Each time, he was enthralled.

Finally, five years ago, he attended one of her performances in the Whaling Church in Edgartown, Mass. And this time, says the director of the University of Connecticut's Waterbury campus, he realized he had to bring Ruth Brown to Connecticut.

"It was absolutely the finest performance I had ever seen or heard. I knew I had to have her perform here, although at the time I wasn't thinking about UConn, but in connection with one of my community pursuits in Norwalk," Brown said.

But UConn it is. Ruth Brown will appear at the Waterbury campus's second annual black-tie celebration of Black History Month. During the gala evening, to be held Saturday at the Waterbury Sheraton Inn off Interstate 84, Ruth Brown will autograph copies of her new autobiography, Miss Rhythm, at 6 p.m. Then, following a 7 p.m. dinner, a jazz orchestra and dance band from Hartford's Artist's Collective will work the crowd. Ruth Brown will come on stage about 9 p.m.

Brown, 68, who won a Tony Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in Broadway's Black and Blue, a Grammy and numerous other awards, recently was inducted into the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

She just completed a show in Las Vegas, which she began shortly after ending a month-long stint at the Rainbow & Stars, a nightclub at Rockefeller Center.

Tickets for the Waterbury event are $50. Proceeds go to the UConn Foundation to help the campus recruit minorities, sponsor cultural events and establish a Black Hall of Fame at UConn-Waterbury.

For more information or to order tickets, call (203) 596-4080.

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