Judy Sings the Blues Saturday at Smyrna Opera House

Judy Mangini fronts Judy Sings the Blues with drummer James Sudimak and bass player Carl Thompson. The band performs at the Smyrna Opera House Saturday night with guest guitarist Lin Doughton. (Submitted photo)

When Judy Mangini takes the stage at the Smyrna Opera House Saturday night with her band Judy Sings the Blues, she’ll do so with a heavy heart.

Her longtime friend and fellow Lewes resident Karen Lynch died Feb. 16 from complications of asthma. She was just 48 years old. Her death came three days after her 18th wedding anniversary.

“I’m going to be dedicating the performance to her memory,” Ms. Mangini said this week.

“Her funeral is Saturday and I’m only going to be able to spend an hour at the viewing and miss the funeral entirely because of the gig in Smyrna. She was such a big presence and we’re all a close-knit group. Hopefully I’ll do her proud. Emotions are going to be high, that’s for sure.”

Judy Sings the Blues is a — what else? — blues group that has been entertaining music lovers from New Castle County to Ocean City, Maryland for the past six years.

“The music that we do isn’t necessarily what everyone else does. We do contemporary, funkier songs. We don’t do what I call ‘the cry in your beer’ style of blues,” she said.

The band has gone through a few musicians over its short life but Ms. Mangini said she thinks she has hit the right combination with her drummer James Sudimak and her bass player Carl Thompson.

“Carl has been playing in local bands for over 40 years. We’ve been through some musicians and most understood they just weren’t right for the band. But he’s just such a solid bass player. He stands there and smiles the whole time he plays,” Ms. Mangini said.

Mr. Sudimak has been playing drums since age 11. He attended The New School For Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City from 2011 to 2013.

“He’s like a clock. He’s right there on timing. He’s very talented and one of the best drummers around,” Ms. Mangini said.

Since Christmas, well-known local guitarist Lin Doughton has been playing with the band, although on a temporary basis. He will be with the group at the opera house Saturday night.

“I wish I could get him full-time but he’s in two other bands and teaches school and is very busy. He’s so gifted and I’m just honored that he agreed to play with me,” she said.

For Ms. Mangini, this band has been a long time in coming.

“It’s been my dream to be a singer ever since I was young,” she said.

“But I started to have kids and I hear these national acts talk about touring and having to leave their little ones at home and I could never do that. I miss my kids after two days. I’m enjoying myself immensely and I just figure if God gave me a gift, I need to share it and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The enjoyment level has heightened over the last couple of years with the right combination of musicians, she said.

“I want quality players. This isn’t a garage band. We dress the part and try to put on a good show. I understand what it takes to put on a good show and what the audience expects to see,” said the Chester, Pennsylvania-born Ms. Mangini, who grew up in Newark and moved to Lewes 14 years ago.

“With these musicians, we have the chemistry which you need. If you have chemistry, you don’t have the drama, which can really bring a band down.”

A member of The Barefeet Band before she formed Judy Sings the Blues, Ms. Mangini said blues is in her musical wheelhouse.

“You really have to feel that music vocally, and physically it comes out a lot more positively when you feel and connect to the blues,” she said.

Since Saturday night’s show is in a theater setting as opposed to a nightclub where there are other distractions, Ms. Mangini said she expects it to be a bit more laid-back than the usual performance but still pack a punch.

“Because Lin’s there, I can’t ask him to learn any more songs than he’s already learned. He’s already doing us such a

Lin Doughton

big favor. But we’ll probably do stuff like ‘It’s a Man’s World’ and end with this Beth Hart song that I love,” she said.

Judy Sings the Blues has also written eight original songs and is working on a ninth.

“It’s always funny when we go out and do those songs and see people singing along with them. You realize they are out there listening. It’s great,” she said.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $16 general admission, $14 for Smyrna Opera House members, senior citizens and military and $8 for children 12 and under. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and a cash bar is available.

To purchase them, visit SmyrnaOperaHouse.org, call 653-4236 or visit the box office at 7 W. South St.

Beer on Ice

Also on a busy Saturday, Delaware State Fair’s Centre Ice Rink presents “Beer on Ice,” a craft beer tasting.

The non-skating event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. with eight breweries serving up 17 different beers. Ticket redemption will open at 1:30 p.m., although though patrons will need to remain in the rink lobby until the event opens on the ice.

There also will be food from Bethany Blues, Mojo Loco, Vanderwende’s Ice Cream and the Centre Ice Rink Coach’s Café. The Federal Street Band will be performing live throughout the event.

Curling demonstrations will take place and patrons can try their hand at broom ball. The ice will be carpeted for the afternoon.

General admission tickets are $25 and include six beer tasting tickets and a souvenir mug.

Designated driver tickets are $15 and include two soda tickets and one hot dog from Coach’s Café. Additional beer tickets may be purchased on site for $2 per ticket. Admission tickets can be purchased online in advance at www.delawarestatefair.com or on Saturday at the door.

All patrons must be 21 years of age or older to enter the Centre Ice Rink for this event. Remember to wear warm shoes and dress appropriately as the event takes place on ice.

BritBeat at MMC

As we told you last week, The Modern Maturity Center on Del. 8 in Dover hosts its sixth annual Winter Dinner Concert Saturday.

This year’s event features the BritBeat — a multimedia concert journey through Beatles music history. Cost is $55 per person for dinner and the show. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $75 per person. VIP tickets include dinner, show, meet and greet with the band at a private reception, and premium seating in the first three rows for the performance.

Dinner is at 6 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at MMC Member Services, 302-734-1200 Ext. 167.

BritBeat recreates the Beatles’ touring years. With their multi-media feature, the audience experiences the music, moods and emotions of the 1960s with a backdrop of projected images and video to journey back in time to relive Beatlemania.

All proceeds benefit Modern Maturity Center programs for older adults.

Comedy Live at Schwartz

Across town, The Schwartz Center for the Arts will present Comedy Live at the Schwartz Saturday at 7 p.m.

Performers include host Buck Wild, Denny Live, Jamal Dorman, JV Pearson, Ryan Higgins and Skeet Carter

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show.

For more information and tickets, visit schwartzcenter.com, call 678-5152 or visit the box office at 226 S. State St., Dover.

Lights of Life in Dover

Finally Saturday, The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Lights of Life gala will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Dover Downs’ Hotel & Casino.

This year’s Oscar-themed celebration “Lights, Camera, Auction” will be an evening of living and giving in support of those affected by breast cancer with all proceeds benefiting DBCC’s programs and services in the local community.

This year’s gala will feature hors d’oeuvres, a plated dinner and an open bar. There will be an opportunity to walk the paparazzi red carpet and take Hollywood celebrity photos. The entertainment of the evening will feature a disc jockey and dancing, live and silent auction, along with a fashion show featuring local breast cancer survivors. The live auction will feature trips, experiences and items such as a low-digit license plate PC1142 and two general admission four-day passes to the Firefly Music Festival.

To make reservations online, visit www.debreastcancer.org/Lights.

Now showing

New this weekend in theater is the suspense-thriller “Collide”; the horror film “Get Out”; and the animated movie “Rock Dog.”

Coming to DVD and download starting Tuesday is the comic book fantasy “Doctor Strange”; the Oscar-nominated “Moonlight”; the horror film “Shut In”; the Howard Hughes biopic starring Warren Beatty, “Rules Don’t Apply”; and Brad Pitt in the World War II romance “Allied.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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