Thanks to my dear friends Thorny and Diane who introduced me to a most wondrous event "Jazzfest". There are many reasons why I've fallen in love with New Orleans.

My mother loves to tell the story about the day I was born at Travis Air Force Base in California. There was an earthquake that cracked the walls in her room and I've been shaking things up ever since! Luckily, I was blessed by being born into a musical family. My mother Dorothy and my brother Barry were both great singers. We spent a lot of time singing together and my brother's great love of Motown music was a huge influence in my life.

I was also very lucky to have worked with several excellent choir directors. One church choir director at the Brethern Church in Pottstown Pa. stands out in my mind, Ruth Levengood. She placed me with the second sopranos which meant I had to learn to sing harmony. This was very difficult for me, but my best friend at church, Susie is an excellent singer and I was able to imitate her until I learned to hear the harmonies myself. Unfortunately, I never learned to read music as I would immediately memorize the tune, no matter how many cantatas we learned.

Another very influential experience I had was in high school, at Pottstown Sr. High. We had annual musical plays which required much diligent team work and commitment. It was a huge group effort, involving many parts of the school, not just the music department. The wood shop and art classes worked together to create stage props. The home economics classes (that's what we called it then) created costumes and worked with us on make-up. We even had an active stage crew, all working really hard to make our shows very professional. It's a testament to how extremely important the cultural arts are in a young adults development.

My first performance, actually singing in front of people was in the second grade, when I sang" The Little Drummer Boy" for my classmates in Saxton Penna. I have to admit, I was scared to death, but as always I persevered. So many of today's young vocalists have amazing confidence, but I never really did. The music helped me find myself and many years of performance, gradually built my confidence and ability to relate to the "crowd". I think it's also important for the reader, that would be you, to know that my family was nomadic. I have moved more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes. Always being the "New Kid", teaches a person a lot about human behavior. You learn to be very observant, listening and waiting for acceptance (sometimes you never get it). You learn to read body language as it becomes essential to your survival. To be successful in musical endeavors, you have to be an extremely attentive listener.

I moved to the "North Country" in 1978. My bands in many various forms included; "T & Ron", "Hickory Wind", "The Terrina Russell-Band" as well as "The Velvet Rabbits". Another great and fun band I had the pleasure of working with was "Mono Groove" from Ticonderoga NY, which included John Kroner, Kenny McCalpine and Jim Gabler. Along with all of that I was the "T" in "T-BONZ". I get a big kick after hearing many people say "You married us!", because we played at their wedding. My career with the "T-BONZ" is legendary, entertaining at weddings, parties and local haunts for over 25 years. The T-BONZ band was originally the brain child of "T", Ron Riddle, bassist and Richard Bolton, guitarist, although our dear friends played with us for about 20 of those years, saxophonist Mike Santos and drummer Fred House. We played an eclectic collection of Rock, Swing, Soul, Blues and Country music, and we had a blast. Every event we played was like a family reunion.

Terrina Russell-Cook © 2012