Mary Launder, Vocalist/Actress...

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Joe Lill's Six of One Orchestra

I am currently singing with Joe Lill's Six of One and have been since 1996. This wonderful group of musicians is lead by Joe Lill (trumpet & vocals), with Andrew Collins (keyboard & vocals), Mike Lill (drums & vocals), Joe Palumbo (alto & soprano sax and flute), and George Sawyn (guitar & vocals). It continues to be a true pleasure working with this versatile band, providing the best in live music for any occasion.  For more information or to book us for an event check out the website www.musicbyjoelill.com

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Sweet Pepprika

Also, I am currently performing with Sweet Pepprika. Working with Diane Compton, Barbara Eulenberg and George Sawyn has been a blast.  Recently we performed with Frank Portolese and had a wonderful time.  We still perform arrangements of the Boswell Sisters, however, our repertoire continues to expand as even more arrangements - both vintage and contemporary - are unearthed.   We hope to see you at one of our performances.  For more information check out our web site www.sweetpepprika.com

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Moonglow

Diane Compton, Julia Maish and myself started out singing the arrangements of the Boswell Sisters and other vintage music a cappella.  We then were fortunate to add guitarist George Sawyn into the mix.  On special occasions we added drummer Allen Green and bassist Dean Milano.  Over the years we have had the wonderful experience of performing with the Ron Mills Orchestra, pianist Jon Weber, guitarist Frank Portolese and many other great musicians.

The Launder Sisters
The Launder Sisters

My sisters (Sue, Kate and Christie) and I have been singing together since we were kids. Our first professional endeavor was in the late 80's. Then, in some variation of The Launder Sisters, off and on over the years we have performed at Summerfest, Taste of Chicago, Wisconsin State Fair, many festivals, special events and clubs. Most recently, March 23, 2007 we had a reunion concert as part of the Oconomowoc Performing Arts Council 2007 Concert Series. All four of us had such a great time preparing for the event. It was so wonderful to spend so much time with my sisters again. The concert consisted of original compositions by Sue and Kate, and songs of our choice from all genre's - pop, rock, folk, country, jazz, and classical. It was a night of making beautiful music together that I will always treasure.

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Luke & The Coolhands
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Luke & The Coolhands

There were different versions of Luke & The Coolhands over the years between 1989 and 1996. The picture on the left (from left to right) is Mary Launder, Luke Nelson, Sandra Julian, and Roxonne Assof. The picture on the right (down low ) is Mike Spadaro, then( left to right) is Gary Bristol, John Spiegel, Alice Kirwan, Luke Nelson, Mary Launder, Don Stiernberg. Other Coolhands included: Olie Oshay, John Rice, Glenn DeMichele, Stewart Rosenberg, Mark Edelstein, Brad Goode, Jon Novi, Karl Montzka, Stewart Miller, Dana Hall, Pat Mallinger, Paul Mckee, Jeff Newell and yes even my Father Russ Launder. We were celebrating all of the Coolhands Birthday during one gig at the Roxie in Chicago. There was a song that Luke had written that called for a trumpet solo. I asked my dad if he would play with us on that one gig as a birthday present to me. He agreed and he sounded great!! Luke Nelson, the genius behind the band, wrote 100's of songs. The style was Western Swing Music, or as we ended up calling it "Cowboy Jazz."

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Pump Boys & Dinettes, Apollo Theatre, Chicago IL
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Nunsense, Asolo State Theatre, Sarasota FL

Two musicals kept me employed as an Actress/Singer/Dancer for many years. Pump Boys & Dinettes and Nunsense. I have performed Pump Boys & Dinettes at the Asolo State Theatre, Sarasota FL; Madison Repertory Theatre, Madison WI; Apollo Theatre, Chicago IL; Forum Theatre, Berwyn IL; The Harrah's, Lake Tahoe NV; and The Pump Boys & Dinettes Theatre, Branson MO. I have performed Nunsense at the Asolo State Theatre, Sarasota FL; Forum Theatre, Berwyn IL and The Charles Playhouse, Boston MA. Over the years, before I started singing with various bands, I performed in many musicals and light Operas. Of which some of my favorites were: The Music Man, Gondoliers, Pirates of Penzance, Three Penny Opera, The King & I, Brigadoon, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Lady in the Dark and Street Scenes.

Guys & Dolls
Guys & Dolls, Oconomowoc High School
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Wizard of Oz, Wawautosa Recreation Drama Dept.

My theatrical history would not be complete without two very important musicals. Guys & Dolls and The Wizard of Oz. It was 1975 and I was cast as Sarah Brown in Oconomowoc High Schools production of Guys and Dolls. The Director was Vic Passante or as we called him Mr. P. It was a very special production. Vic was an amazing director and teacher at Oconomowoc High School. He taught and ran the drama dept. there for over 30 years with endless energy, commitment and creativity.

When I was in 7th grade I was cast in my very first leading role, the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. The show was put on by the Wawautosa Recreation Dept. and we toured the musical to grade schools around the area.
 
 
 
I do need to add one more role. The very first role I ever had was in 1st grade. I played a singing Christmas Tree. Sorry I don't have a picture of that, however, you can just imagine.

 
 
Top left corner photo, Sweet Pepprika and the Pump Boys and Dinettes picture by Jennifer Girard.