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YOU! HAVE THE POWER | Powerful voice, amazing story

October 24, 2023 by  
Filed under Conversation

Powerful voice, amazing story

DR. ELLEN BROWN

BY DR. ELLEN BROWN

Ahhhh! Life in Las Vegas. 

There are natives and transplants; snowbirds and showbirds. As I have come to know it after 20 years, Las Vegas is a place where people come for the bright lights and end up staying for the night (and day) lights. One intriguing benefit to life here is access to the most amazing musical entertainment. But it doesn’t stop there; we may run into “who knows who” — in the mall, at church, shopping for groceries — just being themselves, when we realize that, “Wow! Wasn’t that …” 

Having grown up in the heyday of classic soul music, one such heady experience for me was a recent conversation with a soul music legend who has made an extraordinary life in Las Vegas. Through a combination of events, I found myself sitting for a delicious Bonefish Grille lunch with Ané Marshall, who won global fame as a member of the singing group The Shirelles. 

I was introduced to this beautiful and accomplished woman by a friend who encouraged me to hear her story and music. Having done both, let me tell you this: Ané is an amazing artist and friend. And after witnessing her eponymous show at the Smith Center, I can attest that her energy, drive, and glamour are matchless — and her award-winning musical gifts are something to behold. 

Ané, like all accomplished performers, works tirelessly at her craft — and the New Jersey native is quick to advise young people to follow that same path. But not all paths go in the same direction, as evidenced by one interesting tidbit from our discussion: Ané did not develop her singing voice in the church. Although the church of her youth had an amazing choir that carries significant meaning in her life, she just never felt compelled to sing with them. Her non-traditional path did, however, include some pretty heavy hitters whose presence made a difference — like Cissy Houston, who was the choir director at her church. 

The most important aspect of Ané’s life, however, is her commitment to giving back and staying close to family and friends. Her 18-year-old granddaughter, Layla, began dancing at the age of 3, learning ballet and tap. She now performs with Grandma Ané — as well as the Full Tilt Dance Crew, which is a regular at Aces home games. 

Dr. Ellen Brown is a retired university educator and dean and can be reached with thoughts and ideas at ebrown.nci@gmail.com

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