Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase Donal Leace

The word craftsmanship implies not only careful technique, but also a love of and pride in one's craft. In this sense the word craftsman can be aptly applied to Singer-song writer, Artist, Educator, and Entertainer Donal Leace. Born in Huntington, West Virginia, raised in Philadelphia, Donal made his first professional folk singing appearance at Carnegie Chapter Hall, in New York City, 1959. Since 1960 he has made Washington, DC his home base. In the early 1960's while still a student at Howard University, working at The Cellar Door night club, Donal was affectionately known as "Washington's Favorite Folk Singer." He performed there for over seven years. At one time the club had a sign at the door that read, "The Home of Donal Leace." Over the years he has performed with many of the nation's most outstanding jazz, folk, blues, pop, gospel, and country artists, from Nina Simone, John Denver, Joe Williams, Muddy Waters, the Staple Singers, Odetta, Manhattan Transfer, Judy Collins, Ramsey Lewis, Take Six, Emmylou Harris, Big Mama Thornton, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee to comedians Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Mort Sahl and many more. He recorded for Franc, Gateway, JBL, and Atlantic Records. He has appeared on "The Today Show," "Sunday Morning," and the "David Frost" show. He has been a featured performer at the "New Year's Eve Concert For Peace" at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, N.Y.C., and has appeared in concert at London's Odeon-Hammersmith, the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, the D.A.R. Constitution Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

A graduate of Howard, he also holds graduate degrees from The George Washington and Georgetown Universities. He has served as a judge for the Washington Theatre Awards Society's Helen Hayes Awards. In 1991 he was invited to Johannesburg, South Africa to assess a non-government supported arts program. He teaches a course on The Harlem Renaissance in the School For Summer and Continuing Education at Georgetown University. In 1998 Donal was named a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan. In January 2000, Donal was named to the Washington Area Music Awards Hall of Fame. He returned in August from a five week Fulbright-Hayse Scholarship in Turkey. He is a full time faculty member of Washington's Duke Ellington School of the Arts. His latest recording Leace Renewed is available on compact disk.

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