Born in Putnam, Ct. May 5, 1949, Jo-Ann always loved to sing. At two years old she would sing with the choir in church. Well not exactly sing "with" the choir. She would sing her favorite song "Goodnight Irene" when the choir would be singing something like "Ave Maria"!! Her mother use to give her gum to shut her up. But the people sitting around her would tell her mother, "Oh let her sing".
Then dancing school started, and Jo-Ann would always get the leads in a song and dance routine. However, this was very nerve-racking. People were actually "paying attention"” to her performances. But still, she never had any intention of going "professional". But every day she would go downstairs to the "rumpus room" and put her records on, and sing and sing all day long, pretending she was one of those famous artists on the records. It didn’t make any difference what genre the music was. As each new style of music would make the airwaves, she would sing it, but still no plans of doing this professionally.
Then one night in 1968, while attending a friend’s party, Jo-Ann was asked to sing. Sheer panic came on her face. "What would I use for a microphone" she thought. So, someone handed her a beer bottle and she sang into that. It was kind of like a security blanket. (Jo-Ann never was a drinker, so holding a beer bottle was even stranger than singing in front of all these people). When her impromptu performance ended, the applause she received was exhilarating. She thought, "Wow they liked me, maybe I could do this professionally. But how do I get started"? Living in a small town like Putnam wasn’t exactly the night club capital of the world. So she crossed the border to Massachusetts, walked into a club and asked the band if they needed a singer. Much to her surprise they said "Yes come to rehearsal Saturday"! And that’s when her music career began.
But, there was one little problem. She had already been accepted to American Airlines Stewardess College in Ft. Worth, Texas. And her parents were not too thrilled about their "little girl" singing in “bars” (as they put it)! So she decided to do both. Maybe this could work out. So off to Texas she went. However, Jo-Ann did make it perfectly clear, if she wasn’t based in Boston, she probably wouldn’t last. She really wanted to sing. Unfortunately Jo-Ann’s home base ended up being in New York, which threw a huge wrench into her plan. But the band was willing to work with her and her stewardess schedule. So, she would bid for flights that would have her back in New York on the weekends. That way she could drive back to Connecticut and work with her band. However, driving back and forth on I-95 and the New York thruway, wasn’t exactly a picnic. And besides, she was making more money on the weekends singing, than she did working as a stewardess. So she left the airlines to pursue her singing career. But like most bands, the group broke up not long after she quit the airlines.
But Jo-Ann, always with a positive outlook, didn’t let it get her down. She soon received a call from a Boston agent suggesting she join a touring Boston area show band. It sounded good to her. See the country and get paid for it (and not have to serve people coffee, tea, or whatever, while seeing it)! But as any musician knows, the music business does have its’ ups and down. So after performing with a number of groups (not the most stable job) she decided to put her own show together.
The Jo-Ann Dumas show soon became popular in the 70’s and 80’s show band circuit. She performed all over the United States and Canada. Even doing a number of cruise ships. She opened for such greats as Rodney Dangerfield, The Grass Roots, Bobby Lewis, Grand Funk Railroad, The Platters and the list goes on. But the traveling was starting to wear thin on her, so she decided to relocate to New Hampshire. (of all places) She performed with a number of groups who only worked New England nightclubs and hotels. (She even acquired a New Hampshire Real Estate License, did a number of TV commercials and a few modeling gigs, just in case the singing fell through) All in all, everything worked out pretty well.
Unfortunately, the illness of her dad brought her back to Connecticut. Jo-Ann soon began working with an 18 piece orchestra singing all the "big band" classics. Her mother was thrilled. In her mother’s words "Now that’s what I call music"! However that wasn’t enough. She immediately invested in a Karaoke machine and became a Karaoke DJ. Between the Big Band and the Karaoke music, all the music she ever sang was covered. She even did a “single” using all her Karaoke tracks for background music; something that had never been done in her hometown area, but was well received.
But things really changed when an a’cappella group, based out of Rhode Island/Massachusetts was looking for a singer. Actually they were looking for a male singer, but when she auditioned for the group, she got the job. She was now a member of "Street Corner Serenade". (however, she almost didn’t go to that audition because in her own words, "I’ve never sung a’cappella. Can I even do that?") But, she did just fine.
"Street Corner Serenade’s" singers were also part of another Rhode Island group called "Reminisce" an 8 piece doo wop band. Jo-Ann was soon asked if she would consider working with them too. That’s when things started to happen.
While performing with "Reminisce", Caprice Records former president, Gerry Granahan, came in to a nightclub they were performing in, and inquired about her. He had recently been in contact with the original lead singer of The Angels, Linda Jansen (with whom he had produced their first two hit records "Til" and "Cry Baby Cry") and wanted to re-form the group. In 2008 he asked Jo-Ann if she would consider going to New Jersey to audition for Linda. Without thinking twice, she was off to New Jersey where she passed the audition. She has been performing with Linda in major doo wop shows all over the East Coast ever since, while still continuing to perform on a regular basis with "Reminisce" and "Street Corner Serenade".
Most recently Gerry Granahan who had hit records of his own with such groups as “Dicky Do and the Don’ts”, The Fireflies, and also under his name, decided to re-form all of his acts. He asked Jo-Ann if she would consider working with him along with two other singers from “Reminisce”, Frankie Gargiulo and Ronnie Iacobucci, and a Rhode Island female singer named Diane Lupo. They were a vocal group made in heaven. Their perfectly blended harmonies were just what Gerry needed to get his newly formed group off the ground.
So here’s a recap on the groups Jo-Ann is currently performing with: "Reminisce" (of Rhode Island), "Linda Jansen’s Angels", "Street Corner Serenade", and Gerry Granahan’s Dicky Do and the Don’ts/Fireflies.
If you would like to see and hear some of Jo-Ann’s performances by herself and with all these groups, check out the following you tube posts:
"Jo-Ann (Dumas) Sings" ... "Makin’ Whoopee" and "When I Fall In Love" from her own personal CD….
"Reminisce doo wop Twin River" ….
"Linda Jansen’s Angels" or "Linda Jansen" live performances at several venues…..
Gerry Granahan’s Dicky Do and the Don’ts/Fireflies
By the way, if you’re planning on getting married in Connecticut, Jo-Ann is also a Ct. Justice of the Peace!!
For more info contact Jo-Ann @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also check out Reminisce’s website: www.reminisceontheweb.com.