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Supremes' Mary Wilson comes back home for symphony shows

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Fifty years ago, Mary Wilson and the Supremes took "I Hear A Symphony" to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And this weekend, Wilson really will be hearing a symphony.

The Motown veteran and Detroit native, who now makes her home in Las Vegas, is coming home for three shows with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, during which she'll sing a selection of the group's biggest hits and a few other pop and American songbook favorites. And, Wilson says, it's an experience she always enjoys.

"For me it's like going back to that really good Motown sound," Wilson, 72, says by phone from Los Angeles. "I do a lot of symphonies around the United States, and it's always fun. It's different because you get a different feel with an orchestra playing behind you, a real sort of plush feeling. It doesn't swing the same way a regular (band) does -- but it still swings."

And not surprisingly, performing with the DSO -- whose members performed on Motown recordings during the 60s and 70s -- is "extra special" for Wilson.

"For me this is a homegirl coming home and making good, singing with the Detroit Symphony," Wilson acknowledges. "Back when I was 17 years old we were just trying to get a hit record, y'know? So 50 years later singing with (the DSO), it's like wow, who knew THAT would happen."

Wilson adds that her orchestral dates also allow her to tap into material that she doesn't always perform in her other shows -- including "I Hear A Symphony," a Holland-Dozier-Holland composition and production that gave the trio its sixth No. 1 single and was also the title track of the group's sixth album.

"That's a special song for me," says Wilson, ho's currently looking for a deal for a new album she's recorded and continues to curate a traveling exhibition of Supremes gowns. "Even though we were getting hits, we felt some of them were beneath us, not showing off our harmonies or how great we were as a group. But 'I Hear a Symphony' finally caught up with that and really showed what we could do as a group, so I love it dearly.

"But it's not a song I can sing all the time. (Diana Ross) sang it, and some of those are harder for me to sing than others. So basically I only do it with the symphonies, and I'm very happy when I get a chance to do it."

Mary Wilson with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

10:45 a.m. Friday, April 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10.

Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $19-$105.

Call 313-576-5111 or visit dso.org.

Web Site: www.dso.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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