BIOS

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The FIRST-EVER and ONLY
Karen Carpenter tribute artist
to perform with

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SALLY OLSON  - Artistic Director/Lead Vocals/"Karen Carpenter"

Sally was born in Rutland, Vermont and is a cum laude graduate of Middlebury College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Studio Art and French. Sally also attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and the acclaimed Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC. She has been acting and singing since childhood and has performed in numerous local and regional commercials, film, theatre and live music events. Sally starred in the commercial Emily’s Bridge for Heritage Automotive Group, written and produced by Mt. Mansfield Media, which was awarded the Vermont Association of Broadcaster's “Television Agency Produced Most Creative Commercial” of 2011. She also starred in Widow, directed by Michael Fisher, an award-winning short film that was praised at both the Green Mountain Film Festival and the White River Indie Film Festival in 2010. Sally also appeared on the CBS television series HACK (episode #36  "One for My Baby"), directed by Chad Lowe and starring David Morse and Andre Braugher in 2004.

For more than seven years, the Vermont native has immersed herself in all things Carpenters. Sally was the managing director of a voice studio in South Burlington, VT from 2009 to 2018. Carpenters Legacy debuted in January 2015. In April 2017, Sally made her NYC debut at the famed Triad Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. While in the city, Sally was a special guest on Sunday Night Live Featuring The Late Joey Reynolds on 77 WABC and The Mom & Pop Shop Radio Show with George Bettinger on It’s Right Here in Miramar Radio, as well as being featured on Scott Barbarino's Nite Life Exchange dot com. Sally has also had guest appearances on Burlington, Vermont's Morning Brew ABC 22/Fox 44, Cleveland’s Lakeside Today! WKYC ABC 3, Las Vegas’ GO B Networks Podcast, Vegas Live with Ninon, Las Vegas Morning Blend KTNV ABC 13, The CW Morning Show KSNV News 3 Las Vegas and Dallas’ Good Morning Texas ABC 8 to name a few.

In late January 2018, Sally made her Las Vegas debut where she first worked with acclaimed pianist and entertainer, Ned Mills. She has since relocated from Burlington, VT to Las Vegas, NV and has performed to SOLD OUT Vegas venues including showrooms at the Starbright Theatre, Freedom Hall Theatre and the CasaBlanca Resort & Casino Showroom. Carpenters Legacy was the featured entertainment for the Carpenters 50th Anniversary Celebration in Thousand Oaks, California in April 2019. Sally is the FIRST-EVER and ONLY Karen Carpenter tribute artist to perform with the world-renowned Las Vegas based review Legends In Concert.

Randy Schmidt, author of Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter, has said that "Sally's tribute to Karen Carpenter is heartfelt and honest" and Dave Halston of Tribute Masters says “Sally is remarkable, spot-on, and delightfully entertaining.” Sally is truly unsurpassed in her startling representation of Karen Carpenter and captures the essence of the late singer right down to her hairstyles, costumes, makeup, gestures and voice.

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NED MILLS – Musical Director/Arranger/Pianist/Lead & Backup Vocals/"Richard Carpenter"

 

A versatile pianist, singer, and entertainer, Ned Mills was born in Charleston, South Carolina and began playing piano at the age of four. He's entertained audiences in more than twenty countries and on three continents. After receiving his Bachelor of Music cum laude in Jazz Arranging at North Texas State University, Ned moved back to his native North Carolina and performed regularly throughout the Southeast. Ned has opened for many national acts, including Bobby McFerrin, Don Rickles, Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow. 

 

He has served as musical conductor and arranger for The Stars of the Lawrence Welk Show, the Ink Spots, and The Shirelles. His arrangements have been performed by the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, The Miss North Carolina Pageant, and in Pizazz starring Debby Boone. He has also performed as pianist for the Rockettes and in Legends In Concert. In 2003, Ned performed "Rhapsody In Blue" at the Liberace Museum on Liberace's famous mirrored piano. His film and TV credits include appearances in Matlock (ABC), Against Her Will : The Carrie Buck Story (Lifetime TV), and the George Lucas film Radioland Murders. He was the piano coach for Halle Berry and Eric Thal in Oprah Winfrey's production of The Wedding (ABC). Now a resident of Las Vegas, Ned performs and serves as musical director for many corporate events at every major casino, including the MGM Grand, The Venetian and Mandalay Bay. In 2000, Ned was voted "Most Likely to Exemplify the Spirit of Las Vegas" by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Ned has his own hit Vegas show called Piano Follies, a tribute to the music of Gershwin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Broadway and more! A little bit of Liberace, Victor Borge,  and Jerry Lee Lewis all rolled up into one talent! Ned (aka "Lionardo") even plays piano and trumpet at the same time! www.pianofollies.com. He currently serves as musical director and plays the role of Richard Carpenter in the Carpenters Legacy starring Sally Olson as Karen Carpenter.

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MARK HALL SPEIGHTS - Guitar & Backup Vocals

Mark was raised in Flint, Michigan during the days when cars were king in America and Buick was the city's claim to fame. He was the oldest son of two musician parents who influenced him greatly though did not initially support his quest for a life in music. He attributes his vocal ability to his mother and his broad interest in music fundamentals and styles to his trumpeter father.  Both his parents worked with some of the great big bands throughout the 1940's.

 

Starting piano lessons at the age of eight he added trumpet at ten.  He won many awards performing on trumpet in solo ensemble festivals throughout middle school and early high school. At the age of twelve he discovered the guitar by borrowing one from a friend. It took two years before he received his own as a Christmas gift from his parents. All previous training was laid aside in pursuit of this new passion which bordered on obsession. To play guitar you could also sing and sing he did. While in high school he organized his own dance bands and performed at many school functions which fed the fire. He also took the highly acclaimed high school choral department to the state championships where they took first place with him as featured vocal soloist.

 

He has traveled from coast to coast with numerous musical groups.  He has written and performed music for television and radio ads, two short subject movie scores, has accompanied Little Anthony and the Imperials, Chuck Berry, Chuck Mangione, Charo and a diverse host of others. When Clive Davis, once president of Columbia Records during its heyday in the 60's and 70's, began his own Arista label Mark's band was signed along with Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester and the Outlaws as one of the new hot acts. That led to touring as opening act for Lynyrd Skynyrd until their untimely demise. He moved to Las Vegas in 1980 and worked with bands and shows up and down the Strip. In the late eighties he became leader of the house bands at the Reno Peppermill and the Reno Flamingo Hilton. In the nineties he was relocated to Florida by Walt Disney Entertainment. Shortly thereafter he designed a customized vocal group for Disney's Yacht and Beach Club resorts. That became his ticket into entertainment management. He became the company musician expert and hired all musicians for Walt DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida and contracted musical acts for Tokyo Disneyland as well as Tokyo Disney Seas. Seven years ago he returned to Las Vegas and a full-time performing career. He would tell you he has worked in many music related fields over the years, but performing is his niche.  His advice to young people who wish to make a living in music -  "Listen to everything and learn to play multiple styles of music convincingly."

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JOHN PLOWS - Drums

John Plows graduated with honors from the Musicians Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, California having started his professional performance career at the age of 13.  A truly versatile artist, he has performed with Chuck Berry, the Jordanaires, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, and Grammy award-winning arranger and composer, Gary Anderson among others. John has performed in musical theatre productions such as Smokey Joe's Café, Leader of the Pack, Little Shop of Horrors and Man of La Mancha. He opened for Diamond Rio at a benefit concert in the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and recorded with The Four Freshmen.  John has been performing in Las Vegas since 1985 and has performed in numerous shows including Tony and Tina's Wedding, American Superstars, Country Fever,  Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell's Hello Dere and The Vegas Good Fellas.  He currently resides in Henderson, Nevada.

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JAMES D'ARRIGO - Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet & Backup Vocals

James holds degrees in music from West Virginia and Northern Illinois Universities. While studying for his Bachelor of Music Degree at WVU he studied with noted classical professor David Hastings and concentrated on classical saxophone performance and teaching.  In this area James is a fourth generation pupil tracing back to the greats of classical saxophone Frederick Hemke, Marcel Mule, and Adolphe Sax.  Having earned a Master of Music Degree at NIU under the instruction of the preeminent Steve Duke, James’ area of study was jazz performance. He was the saxophone studio teaching assistant at NIU where he provided instruction to undergraduate saxophone students where he was the assistant to Steve Duke.

While living in Nashville TN, James performed professionally and had a healthy thriving private studio of forty-five students. He taught beginners through to professionals. His studio produced many top chair saxophonists, clarinetists, and flautists in Tennessee Regional and All State bands.

James’ first professional performance was with his own band Shank Swing and The Divots. They were the top college party band in the Ohio Valley area. His first high-profile gig came at age nineteen with The Temptations, it was not until twenty-five years later that he would find himself regularly performing in Las Vegas with original Temptation singer Dennis Edwards.

Legendary R & B singer Ruth Brown was James’ long time friend and mentor in Las Vegas. He produced her last band before she passed.  Other music performances include Joel Gray, Roy Clark, The Four Tops, The Impressions, Jerry Butler, Cab Calloway Orchestra, Eddie Holman, Billy Hinche, Susan Anton, and Beggars and Thieves.

James is featured in numerous recordings most recently with Star Search winner Mark O'Toole and Atlantic Records Beggars and Thieves.

James studies with friend and mentor Gary Herbig, legendary LA soloist and Billboard top recorded rock ‘n’ roll saxophonist.

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