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Chester County Press

Legend at work: Patti LaBelle rocks Longwood

09/20/2022 02:56PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw                    Performing artist Patti LaBelle delivered a 15-song, 90-minute concert before a near-capacity crowd at Longwood gardens on Sept. 13.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

It was one part pop, one part harmony, one part soul, one part ballad, one part gospel and one part testimony, and at the end of Patti LaBelle’s electrifying set at Longwood Gardens on Sept. 1, the near-capacity crowd rose to its collective feet, certain that it was all parts legend.

Throughout her 90-minute concert, LaBelle, joined by the harmonious voices of four back-up singers and a pitch-perfect 16-piece orchestra, seemed to defy her 78 years through the power she gave to every selection in her 15-song set. Flashing her radiant smile as she entered the stage, LaBelle kicked off the show with her hit, “New Attitude” and followed it with “I Keep Forgetting,” a duet she performed with Michael McDonald that was first released in 1982.

LaBelle shared her spotlight with trumpeter Jeff Bradshaw – who delivered a blistering solo that brought the audience to its feet – and singer John Williams, with whom she sang “On My Own,” another duo she recorded with McDonald in 1986.

Throughout her performance, LaBelle playfully threw her voice from sweet ballad to street-smart growl, and at several points, kicked off her shoes to dance bare-foot on the stage. Between songs, she thanked the audience for their support over her 60-year recording career, and wrapped up the show with her chart-topping hit, “Lady Marmalade.”

LaBelle’s performance, produced by Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick in partnership with Longwood Gardens CEO Paul Redman and Longwood Gardens staff, served as a fundraiser for the new Kennett Library & Resource Center. Through private and corporate donations, grants and contributions from neighboring municipalities, the library’s Imagine Campaign has raised nearly $16 million towards its $21.7 million goal.

“This was a great community event that gave a lot of exposure to the Kennett Library, and while we still have $6 million to raise, this concert will go a long way to helping us reach that goal,” said Jeff Yetter, president of the Kennett Library Board of Trustees, after the concert. “Between Matt Fetick and Paul Redman, our gratitude doesn’t even begin to express what they have done for us. Longwood Gardens did not make one dollar for this concert, and they have also contributed $250,000 to this campaign.

“That is what I call community support.” 

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].