Judy Collins

Many performers can distinguish themselves with a hit or two. A lucky few of those can string several songs into a career. But only the rarest of artists can use their voice to capture the flavor of an entire era in song.

Yavapai College is presenting “An Evening with Judy Collins” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at the Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center, located on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, 1100 E. Sheldon St.

“Both Sides, Now.” “Send in the Clowns.” “Chelsea Morning.” “Amazing Grace.” A Judy Collins setlist reads like diary entries from a generation coming of age. A three-time Grammy winner, Collins was a musical prodigy who originally saw herself as a classical pianist. Instead, she followed her voice to ’60s-era New York, became a player in the folk music renaissance, and a singer, writer and activist in a defining era of change, a news release stated.

Collins’ cover of the Joni Mitchell song “Both Sides, Now” on her fifth album, Wildflowers (1967) catapulted her to fame. “Both Sides, Now” reached No. 8 on the Billboard charts and won her a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.

She followed with a series of hits — “Someday Soon,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Chelsea Morning” that established her as a force to be reckoned with.

Along with her own songs, Collins has covered and immortalized works from an eclectic blend of musical pioneers — Joni Mitchell, Steven Stills, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman and Kurt Weill, among many. Her definitive take on Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” won the ballad Song of the Year at the 1976 Grammys, the release stated.

Collins’ creative spirit, stylistic versatility and still-pristine voice have allowed her to build a career that spans more than 50 years, seven Grammy nominations, 36 studio albums, nine live albums and four holiday albums. As an author, she has written three books, including Singing Lessons: A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope and Healing. As an activist, she has campaigned for causes from the Chicago Seven to UNICEF to the abolition of landmines. As a filmmaker, her documentary, Antonia: Portrait of the Woman, received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. As a composer, her works have been covered by the likes of Shaun Colvin, Rufus Wainwright and Chrissie Hynde.

She remains humble about her career and its remarkable legacy. “That’s a combination of good fortune, extreme luck, and hard work and discipline,” Collins stated. “I do a lot to protect and take care of my voice, and I practice every day—you have to, or you lose it.”

Tickets for Judy Collins start at $39. Details for a separate “Meet the Star” reception will be available soon. The Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center Ticket Office, located on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. For reservations and more information, call 928-776-2000 or visit www.ycpac.com.

Information provided by the Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center.

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