The Vandellas celebrate a legacy in Ahwatukee

The Vandellas will host a Q&A and concert at Cactus Jack’s in Ahwatukee on Friday, July 5.

The Vandellas’ Rosalind Holmes says when fans see their show at Cactus Jack’s in Ahwatukee on Friday, July 5, they’ll hear the sound is the same. 

“We’re not bragging, but the sound is still the same,” Holmes said. “We have a different lead singer, but she is fantastic. She does a wonderful job.”

The Vandellas feature Holmes, Annette Helton and lead singer Roschelle Laughhunn. Helton guarantees that fans will hear solely Motown music during their appearance, which includes a Q&A session and performance at 8 p.m. at Cactus Jack’s, in strip mall on the southwest corner of Elliot Road and 48th Street.

On their setlist are songs like “Heatwave,” “Dancing in the Streets” and “Nowhere to Run.”

Helton said the music still resonates today because the music is simple, not controversial or aggressive. 

“Our music was about love and family, being together and having fun,” she said. “It was just a nice sound with all of us. Berry (Gordy) used to tell us we were family and we still treat each other as family. 

“When we see other Motown acts, we’re like brothers and sisters who haven’t seen each other in a long time. We’re singing from our hearts, too. The Motown sound was a different sound for that time. But (listeners) like the beat and it’s stuck in your head a little bit.”

Holmes agreed, and said it’s relevant because parents are passing Motown’s legacy to their children.

“They always hear their parents playing Motown and they got adjusted to it,” she said. “It’s passed on decades to decades.”

Holmes and Helton were attracted to music as teens. Helton’s goal was to become a nurse. She got into singing by accident when she was between 14 and 16 years old. 

“I went to an audition for a friend of mine,” she said. “They were looking for a leader singer and background singers. Through that audition, I was chosen to be a singer or background person. By going through that, after I got involved in it, it was fun — especially the hits.

“I was fun going to the house and rehearsing songs that were already on the radio. We didn’t have time for extracurricular activities because we had to go rehearse.”

Helton described the highlight of her career as traveling. The Vandellas hope to go overseas to perform as soon as possible.

“People want to hear them the way they were recorded,” Helton said. “That’s the way I fell in love with it. You hear the music and see the group. That’s something great for them. 

“At Cactus Jack’s, they can see the group who made the music. It’s a thrill for them and for us. We want to give them what they want.” 

Helton said The Vandellas are grateful for their career. 

“We thank God we’re able to still do it,” she said with a laugh. “Neither Rosalind nor myself are ready for rocking chairs. We don’t want to sit down and do nothing. This gives us something to do.

“We get to meet a lot of our fans, too. It’s a nice feeling to pack your bags and go somewhere, do your show and be welcomed by the people.” 

If You Go 

What: The Vandellas w/Fel Davis

Where: Cactus Jack’s, 4747 E. Elliot Road, Ahwatukee.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 5.

Tickets: $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

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