On a cold night in Madison, Wisconsin, Café CODA stayed aglow as members of the community gathered for a once in a lifetime performance. LunART was thrilled to present Syndee Winters, Broadway star from The Lion King, Hamilton and Motown. The show she performed was unlike anything she has done before; a cabaret show.
This was her first time performing her own journey in front of an audience. She hopes to continue this journey all over the world.
“I felt a bit nervous performing my story for the first time for a Madison audience,” Winters said. “But after the first song it felt like the guests were engaged and ready to listen to my journey, and they were open to listening to the story and working on an artist rather than coming to be entertained.”
During her performance, Winters was pleasantly surprised by how active and receptive the audience was to the songs she was performing.
“I was surprised to hear the feedback from guests sharing their thoughts about my original songs, and I was surprised to learn how many knew references from artists like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill in my show,” Winters said.
Some audience members stated how enjoyable and wonderful the performance was for them.
“The performance was outstanding,”Ana Garic, LunART board member and audience member at the event, said. “I loved the music performance and especially appreciated the personal narrative that the singer shared with the audience on her lifelong journey of challenges and successes in becoming a musical star. It was done in a lovely way and added layers to the music performance.”
Syndee performed with three band members from Madison. Jazon Kutz, keyboard, Mike Koszewski, drums, and John Christensen, bass, accompanied her throughout the whole performance. Koszewski, a local Madison musician, explained that his performance with Winters was a wonderful experience.
“Performing with Syndee was special,” Kozewski wrote via email. “She brought an amazing and diverse set of songs - her pop music influences of the ‘90s and ‘00s, Broadway tunes, and her super fun original music. As the drummer, this gave me a wonderful opportunity to use a variety of grooves and influences of my own to help bring the songs to life. Syndee is so talented, charming, and sharp. A pro's pro!”
This was a gift to the Madison arts community. Winters and audience members were pleased to see the performance come to life.
“It brings a spotlight of Madison as a great venue for music. It also presents a great opportunity for Madisonians to hear musicians of color and stars that we typically do not see come to Madison to perform,” Garic said.
Madison has a huge art community and LunART’s efforts to spotlight women has been extremely important.
“Art focuses our attention, expands our perspective, and even alters our point of view,” Kelly Parks Snider, a board member of LunART and an audience member at the performance, said. “It can change us. For many, art is a more powerful amplifier of contemporary issues and ideas than the spoken or written word. Art brings people together, and creates a low-key, safe environment to explore highly charged topics.”
Hearing the personal story of a Broadway star is something that not everyone has the opportunity to witness. Winters brought this experience to LunART’s audience.
“We loved her as an artist— her stories were heartfelt and relatable and her voice was simply amazing,” Chele Isac, audience member, said. “I like the idea of LunART being out in the fabric of the musical scene (with some cocktails!).”
LunART is grateful to Café CODA for allowing for the use of their wonderful space. It created a wonderful atmosphere for the LunART community.
“CODA was a perfect place to showcase talent that came through LunART,” Isac said. “It spreads the word about the mission and it seems like it will be easier to bring even more talent to Wisconsin if we team up with (and support!) local venues. It’s a win for the artists as well since they get to know club owners and promoters. And of course it’s a win for the community to experience art from around the country.”
We are always on the lookout for interesting and talented women artists!
Article by Ava Wojnowski
Ava Wojnowski is an intern with LunART. She is majoring in journalism and Spanish and is excited to bring her passion for writing to LunART. Outside of school, Wojnowski loves to spend time outside and also loves to listen to music. She played the viola from 4th to 12th grade, so music has always been a part of her life.