Decades after forming Prince’s cover band, CAPA alums lead tribute concert at Kelly Strayhorn Theater

Nearly four decades ago, Dwayne Fulton of Pittsburgh and fellow Creative and Performing Arts High School classmates Brian Edwards and Stan Howard started a band with the lofty goal of taking over the music of funk and R&B legend Prince. .

In the 1980s, Howard changed his first name to Chance, literally tried his luck by moving to Minneapolis, where Prince lived. Howard eventually became a vocalist and keyboardist who worked not only with Prince, but with Morris Day & the Time and saxophonist Candy Dulfer.

Edwards also moved there in the late 1980s. He became the touring drummer for R&B band DeBarge, working with Jesse Johnson. Edwards recorded at Prince’s home studio and performed as part of Paisley Park’s “Celebration 2019” concert in 2019.

Now Howard is struggling to recover after a devastating 2019 car accident. On Saturday, Fulton and Edwards will dedicate “When Doves Cry,” a Prince tribute concert at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, to their former bandmate.

Fulton, a pianist, composer and minister of music at Mount Ararat Baptist Church, said he was immediately captivated by Prince’s music when he was young.

“We artists, we’re all weird,” he said. “And the eclectic style of his music intrigued me so much. It wasn’t popcorn – you really had to dive into it, dissect it and understand it.

Fulton said Prince’s ability to merge disparate genres like funk and hard rock into a single sound has always held his attention.

Fulton organizes the show and leads a musical ensemble that includes singers Cam Chambers, Chantal Joseph and Rich Hutchins.

He said it was a challenge to find the right people to cover Prince’s songs.

“Performers these days are so much more adept at tricks and vocal ‘gymnastics’, but I find they often lack showmanship,” Fulton said. “You look awesome. But do you bring me into your world?

Edwards, who teaches percussion at Bentley & Romito Pro Music in Penn Township, agreed.

“You have to be able to sell it,” he said. “I tell my students all the time that what you played was beautiful, but I couldn’t believe it. I don’t need to hear Prince, but make me feel what I feel when I hear it from him. Not an imitation – take me to this place.

Fulton said he was excited to see what Chambers, Joseph and Hutchins are doing with Prince’s extensive catalog of hit songs.

“I think people are going to really appreciate Cam’s energy,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve worked with Chantal. But I believe they’re all going to bring that Minneapolis, Paisley Park dynamic that we’re looking for.

And while the show was originally scheduled for May 2020 and delayed by covid, Fulton considers it a blessing in disguise.

“We would not have had Brian Edwards for this original concert. Being able to connect with Stan and Brian – that’s where it all started with us,” Fulton said. “I can’t wait to see how this plays out at the show.”

Edwards said some of their former CAPA classmates will also be part of the production.

“It’s going to bring back memories, and I can’t wait to have a great show,” he said. “I really think Pittsburgh needs it. It’s probably late.

When doves Shoutwill be at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 19 at the theater, 5941 Penn Ave. in the East Liberty neighborhood of the city.

Tickets cost between $20 and $35 and are available at Kelly-Strayhorn.org/when-the-doves-weep.

For more information, call 412-363-3000.

Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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Corina C. Butler