Denise Thimes | St. Louis Public Radio

Denise Thimes

Several years ago, when Aretha Franklin (at left) was planning her birthday party in New York City, she gave Denise Thimes a call and asked the St. Louisan to sing for her.
Courtesy of Denise Thimes

Denise Thimes was still a young girl when she first interacted with Aretha Franklin in St. Louis during the late ’60s. But even then the Queen of Soul made a big impression on Thimes, who is now an accomplished vocalist herself.

“I emulated her a lot and never had a chance to, as a little girl, sing for her – which is what I wanted to do when she would come to our home,” Thimes told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “But to have done her birthday party [a few years ago] and to stand there and watch her watch me sing – Don, I had to fight back the tears the whole time.”

Proceeds from Denise Thimes’ performance this Sunday at UMSL’s Touhill Performing Arts Center will help to support the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Much like Mother’s Day itself, Denise Thimes’ benefit concert that takes place during the annual celebration of moms has grown into a recurring and anticipated event.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with the jazz great about this year’s iteration, which is set for Sunday evening at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Touhill Performing Arts Center.

It will benefit the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Thimes founded and named the foundation in remembrance of her mother, who died of the disease in 1997.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1997, St. Louis jazz vocalist — legend, some do say — Denise Thimes lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. In the wake of that loss, Thimes launched the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. While she’s held an annual Mother’s Day concert for the past 20 years to pay tribute to her mother, her rock, the reason Thimes sings could be applied to anyone who has lost their mother: maternal sacrifice.

Denise Thimes, Peter Martin, at the piano, Chris Thomas and Montez Coleman preform on 'City of Music.' The Nine Network series premieres March 16, 2015
Ray Marklin / Nine Network

In a two-part series, the Nine Network is exploring St. Louis’ musical legacy.

Christine Brewer
Christian Steiner

Soprano Christine Brewer, jazz pianist Peter Martin and jazz vocalist Denise Thimes will perform Sunday with ensembles from various faith communities in an annual 9/11 commemoration concert. 

Related story: Sept. 11 Concert Focuses On Uniting Community

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The Jazz Unlimited on Sunday, August 24 will be  “The Jazz History of St. Louis-Part 8: The 1990s-Rebuilding the Scene.”  The 1990’s were a period of rebuilding.  The jazz studies programs at Webster University and SIU-E were firmly entrenched.

courtesy photo

When a friend asked St. Louis vocalist Denise Thimes to come to Detroit to sing for her father’s 75th birthday party, she didn’t tell her until she got there that one of the guests was Aretha Franklin. “I was shaking in my boots, to say the least,” Thimes told Cityscape host Steve Potter, but she pulled herself together and sang for the diva and the others in the audience. “She wanted to hear “The Way We Were” and I really tried to sing it to the best of my ability.  And she was very pleased with that.”

Cosima von Bonin, MISSY MISDEMEANOUR #02 (THE BEIGE VOMITING CHICK, MISS RILEY[LOOP #02, 2006], MVOS VODOO BEAT & MVOS ROCKET BLAST BEAT), 2011. Installation at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Whitney Curtis | Provided | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 29, 2011 - Is a velvet Elvis painting, art? What about a guitarist playing on the street for tips?

Polling local performance and visual artists, the Beacon found a pretty good consensus: Art doesn't have to cost money or be vetted by an institution.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Intelligence gathered after last night’s fatal shooting in North St. Louis has led the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to believe the incident is tied to several other homicides from the last two weeks.

In hopes of supplementing intelligence efforts and arresting possible suspects, the department has activated the Violent Offense Team.