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Grand Times~Tena Wilson LaDonna Smith: News

2014 The Tena Wilson Experience! - July 10, 2014

   We expect this to be a pivotal year for Grand Times.  

                                         Meet The Tena Wilson Experience!

     Always prepared for Ceremony, Theatrical and Spiritual Music, we present our band,
The Tena Wilson  Experience.  LaDonna & Tena team up with drummer, Rich Sarris, and multi-instrumentalist  Mike Cogan (contrabass, guitar, banjo, flute, soprano and tenor saxophone).   As a big party needs a full band, we augment into a full blown jazzband, featuring piano, bass, drums and violin, and the amazing stage presence and awesome voice of Tena Wilson. Watch for us!  And try us out at your event.  Each member of our group is a seasoned and experienced musician, and with the combination of popular repertoire and stunning improvisations, we leave the launching pad, wide open!  And can be as mellow as a candy!

Announcing the Spirituals!   We are in the process of a studio recording project!  It features a collection of Negro Spirituals, that celebrate the work of great classic composers like Hall Johnson, Frank E. White, and Jacqueline B. Hairston. The release date for a new CD of this material is very soon, 2014!   It promises to be a classic.

In celebration of the years of the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement and the
Grass Roots Folk Rock movement, we are developing an entirely new repertoire of Serious Music, Spirituals
,, and also the great popular music of the 1960's. Hits of Burt Bacharach, the Beatles, Carol King, James Taylor, Fifth Dimension, and Mama's and Papas among others will make your  60's party come to life!

The Tena Wilson Experience performs for the Alabama Women's Leadership Conference, Mardi Gras Party! February 27th, 2014

2013 Jazz and Blues, Spirituals - December 31, 2013

The year 2013 found Tena and LaDonna branching out into new repertoire.  We began expanding on and exploring jazz combinations more deeply, adding a drummer and woodwinds to our jazz trio. In addition, we were regular musical providers for the transition at Unity of Birmingham, and collaborated with others in providing the sacred Special music and leading the Sunday Services.   We also performed special services at Beloved Community Church in Avondale,  Tena was featured at Jazz in the Parks, and ended our year on New Year's Eve, performing  jazz at the Birmingham International Airport with drummer Rick Sarris.  

In developing our repertoire, we have grown really excited about the body of work known as the Spirituals. Not only the work songs and the common Spirituals that have been adapted in our combined folk and cultural history, but there were great black composers like Hall Johnson, Frank E. White, and Jacqueline B. Hairston, whose work deserves a wider audience. We have begun compiling and preparing a stunning repertoire of these works, in celebrating the progression and 50 year anniversary of the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
We performed many of these works in 2013, and the  CD recording of these famous works will be released in 2014. 

The Wilson Family Christmas Album - December 6, 2012

 The Wilson Family Christmas Album!   (CD) 
     This is something you do not want to miss.  Tena comes from  a family of amazing artists and outstanding talent.  In this new release, LaDonna has produced some of the best of the Wilson Family's Christmas repertoire!  This album is varied and diverse, featuring rousing family Gospel quartets, the sisters and neices wailing Jesus, What a Wonderful Child to the crisp and punchy gospel piano of Brother Pat Wilson.  Featuring all the Ave Maria's by solo sopranos, Tena Wilson and Dana Dargon Wilson, Oh Holy Night by Ann Wilson, and violin solos by Tory Malavet!  If that weren't enough, check out Ann Wilson's 60's style in Gee Whiz, It's Christmas! and culminating the Christmas Spirit with some Tena Wilson all-time favorites including,
The Lord's Prayer, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and In This Very Room.  
       This CD is a heart warmer, if not a hearth warmer. It is warm. It is beautiful. It is a must have!

Highlights 2011-2012 - December 6, 2012

     As always Grand Times' events are a highlight for anyone lucky enough to be present at the party!  Here is a sampling of the various kinds of events that we performed in the  2011-2012 year period:

"Jazz Brunch at Oscars,"  Birmingham Museum of Art,   March 20, 2011

"Tena Wilson Experience" at the Rucker Place in Southside  May 18, 2011

"Fourth of July Celebration" -  The Club, Birmingham, Alabama  July 4, 2011          
      Tena sings a variety of Patriotic Songs, along with standards from her jazz and cabaret
repertoire at the buffet dinner, prior to Birmingham's Annual  July Fourth Fireworks display, atop Red Mountain, at The Club's perfect viewing location! "God Bless America!"

"Holiday Christmas Music" at private parties around town by Grand Times.
"I'll Be Home for Christmas!"  ...  for private occasions

"Perfect Wedding Guide"  Professionals Holiday Business Christmas  party. December 16, 2011
                      Party Music, Christmas, jazz and popular! 

"Birmingham Bridal Show"  at the Jefferson County Civic Center 
Contemporary music!   featuring "The Prayer,"  "You Raise Me Up,"  "I Believe in You and Me" by Whitney Houston, "My Heart Will Go On," "I Will Always Love You,"  and others...

"Perfect Wedding" Spring Bridal Show,  Winfrey Hotel at Riverchase Galleria
Classical Ceremony Music plus Contemporary music featuring  Josh Groban's "The Prayer,"  Contemporary Christian "You Raise Me Up,"  "I Believe in You and Me" by Whitney Houston, "My Heart Will Go On," from the Titanic,  "I Will Always Love You,"  and others...

"Feature Entertainment" Concert Entertainment for Glenns' Motorcoach Tours, hosted by the Hill Events Center at the Historic Alabama Theater performing the classic song hits of George Gershwin, Roger Williams, and other classics from the 1940's. 

On Private Occasions, Grand Times wins our audience hearts with poignant or rousing renderings of the music of George Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein,  Mama Cass, Barbara Striesand, Judy Garland, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, and Carol King and other popular artists. "You Make the Earth Move Under My Skin."

"Sweet Memories"  by Grand Times!
Cherished melodies and song favorites from the 30's and 40's up!  Tena sings classic artists like Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Judy Garland.  Always a crowd pleaser,  we consistently perform for Senior Centers, and Assisted Living Residents whenever invited. As Tena says, "This is our way of musical tithing! It is a special  honor to be able to bring joy to our Seniors, Elders, and Veterans with the gift of music. Some of the notable venues we enjoyed entertaining our Seniors were Greenbriar at Altamont,
Mount Royal Towers, Galleria Woods, Lakeview Estates, Chateau Vestavia, Somerby at Brookdale Place,  Rocky Ridge Retirement, Somerby One Nineteen, Fair Haven, St. Martin's in the Pines, and
The Oaks at Parkwood.

"Ceremony Music"  Grand Times performs at numerous private Weddings, Birthdays, and "End of Life" ceremonies during the year.  Sometimes as the trio, Grand Times, other times in duo or solo individually as the occasion requires. From the simplicity of a solo violinist outdoors by a lake, to  intimate church weddings, private ceremony, to dancing at a Wedding Reception  at the Hilton,
we will adapt to make the music special to your own taste and need. Ceremony Music is our specialty!

Special Receptions:   Miles College, Birmingham Alabama

              Classical Music, for New Student Orientation   (solo violinist),
                 Foreign Student Reception  (solo violinist)  jazz and blues

Magic City Choral Society Fundraiser, Silent Auction and Mardi Gras Party!   
At Kathy G's place on Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook, August 2010

Women Writing for a Change,  June 2010  Private Party, Beacon Parkway atop Red Mountain

Private 60th Birthday Party,  atop Red Mountain, 2010.   Private host. It was so fun!!!

The Trailways Convention - March 28, 2010

In March, 2010  Grand Times entertained the International TRAILWAYS Convention at the Renaissance Hotel at Ross Bridge.  The theme for the evening was Moonlight and Magnolias.  We set up around the grand piano in the lobby area of the ballroom, for the happy hour gathering, surrounded by beautiful Magnolias, and many items that were being displayed for silent auction, as guests mixed and mingled, looked and listened. 
Grand Times was happy to present the theme-song for the event, Stars Fell On Alabama along with more than an hour's worth of music from "back in the hay-day of the American art song!"

Selections included classic song favorites from the 1940's. Some of the titles included
Blue Moon, It must have been Moonlight, Somewhere Over the Rainbow,Somebody Loves Me, Stormy Weather, many Gershwin favorites, and others.

Especially notable, was violinist Tory Malavet's  rousing upbeat swi ng-jazz selections,  dedicating songs to specific states and cities served by the Trailways Bus Lines, including  Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Stars fell on Alabama, St. Louis Blues, Tennessee get the idea!  

Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Market - March 1, 2010

Perfect wedding music for a perfect wedding day

 It's all about you and what you envision for the most creative ceremony of your life.  
Grand Times,
...the beauty of the voice! the piano!  a duo, or a trio with violin, your song selections! Making your ceremony sparkle!  That's what we are all about!

    This year, on February 28th, Grand Times  took part in the PWG Bridal Market hosted by "Engaged." 
The event took place at the Winfrey Hotel in Birmingham. LaDonna, dressed to the 9's in a gold-pleated tailed-tuxedo, performed popular wedding favorites, such as The Prayer,  You Raise Me Up,  A Time for Us, Love Me Tender,  My Heart Will Go On, and I Will be Here... on the large 9 foot grand piano in the lobby and also upstairs as brides shopped and vendors exchanged cards in one of the biggest bridal events of the year. 
Tena arrived on the scene a little late, due to her busy schedule with church music, teaching voice, and making sure that Tory was at his orchestra rehearsal, but indeed a "Grand Time" was had by all, as we provided beautiful backgrounds to inspire the attendants.

   Tena Wilson is a joy to behold, from head to toe!

For your wedding music, Grand Times, is an excellent affordable choice.
We love to serve, and dishing up beautiful music is what we do best!
Call us for your free Wedding Music consultation.  205-967-0392 

Grand Times Summer Activities - September 9, 2009

The golden voice of Tena Wilson teaming up pianist LaDonna Smith, on any grand piano,
creates a collaboration that is as elegant and smooth as it is free and exciting.  If an acoustic
grand piano is not available in your chosen space, no worry. We'll bring an excellent quality
electric grand piano. Music just floats effortlessly from the keys, the voice, and the heart strings.

LaDonna Smith and Tena Wilson

Grand Times loves to make the perfect music for all occasions. Whether in Concert, or in your private living room, or elegant entertainment setting, we will provide the ambience and entertainment you need. Events & Fundraisers, Sacred Ceremonies, Weddings and Memorials, there is truly nothing more satisfying and worthwhile than bring joy to the hearts, and smiles to the faces of our clients.  

                                Tory Malavet, Violinist                                      

Our music never fails to capture the essence of the audience. Going with the flow of the specific event, we oscillate from background ambience to showcase." From party classics like Lena Horne's "Stormy Weather"to "Chattanooga Choo Choo" we'd love to choo choo you home, light up your night with some rockin' fun and settle you down with some dreamy romanticism.  Grand Times promises to create  a grand experience !       

                   Tena Wilson sings jazz

Appropriate and affordable.  Grand Times would love to make your event sparkle with music! 
We invite you to consider having one of many Grand Times with us soon! 

Contact Us:  205-967-0392        
or  205-542-5436



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