We are happy to bring back a favorite part of THE VOICE, Fan Feature. Dennis Belkofer, and James McIvor and his mom, Peggy, have been fans of Linda and her music for a long time and have been privileged to see many of her shows over the years. Thank you, Dennis and James, for sharing your memories with Linda’s fans, many of whom discovered Linda only fairly recently.
These memories – going all the way back to the 1990s – are proof of how long Linda’s star has shone brightly and how long she has been bringing joy to her audiences and fans.
Dennis Belkofer from Ohio writes…
It was either in the early or mid 1990's - I can't remember. But I saw a poster in a bar stating that Linda was going to perform at Chicago's Park West. I may be wrong, but I think it was the first time she performed in The Windy City (By the way, Chicago got the nickname not for the wind, but for its politicians.). I remember watching Linda compete on Star Search a few years earlier and loved her voice. Seeing her in person was sure to be an experience I did not want to miss. I called a friend, Laura, a graduate of Northwestern University's Theater School, who performed in musicals in the Midwest, and told her about Linda, thinking she would share my enthusiasm and want to catch her show, too. Laura hadn't heard of Linda, considered Star Search to be a cheesy show with cheesy contestants, and had no interest. I kept on begging and pleading and finally she said she would join me - dragging her heels all the way.
I still remember us waiting for the doors to open and Laura complaining that she did not want to be there. Her attitude changed with the first note Linda sang. And by the end of the evening, Laura was on her feet like the rest of us there that evening cheering and begging for more. Laura became an ardent fan and loves Linda's voice as much as I do.
Linda returned to the Park West on my 50th birthday in August 1996. My son, Chris, along with my best friends including Laura, celebrated by landing front row seats. Chris managed to get a note back to Linda saying it was my birthday and asking if she would dedicate “Vienna”to me. She did. After the show, we ran into Linda and several members of her band at Stanley's, an eatery near Park West. I thanked her and was greeted by her genuine warmth: Linda is not a self-centered diva - and I love that about her as much as her voice.
God bless you, Linda!
You are truly a special person - and one of the best singers ever! I would love to hear you sing two of my favorite songs: “If I Loved You” and “All the Things You Are.” Forgive me if you have and I missed it.
James McIvor from Illinois writes…
| Linda and James's mom, Peggy
My mother and I have been big fans for years. I remember seeing Linda at the Shubert here in Chicago when she was pregnant with her son. There was another year when we were hit with a huge snow storm and her band could not make it into the city, so she used local talent. The show was amazing as ever. My mother and I saw her under the stars at Ravinia with Michael Fienstein, and I brought my aunt. The whole evening was wonderful.
When my mom had leukemia and had to have a bone marrow transplant in Detroit, I had Linda’s CDs right next to her to help her to relax. I was able to arrange for my mom to see Linda after the show in Boston with the Gay Men’s chorus the year after her transplant. I emailed her management for an autographed picture for her and offered to donate money to Linda’s charity, and they arranged for us to meet Linda after the show. Linda took the time and chatted with my mom and took a picture with her. That moment meant so much to my mom and she still talks about it!
This year will be our first year not being able to see Linda. I had to have achilles heel surgery in December and have been off work, so concerts are not in the budget. But next year we will once again be looking for local concerts either here in Chicago, Michigan or nearby cities. It’s funny. We laugh at the many times we have traveled to see her. The furthest was when I flew her to Florida to meet up with a school friend of mine for them to see her. I think it was Ft. Lauderdale or Miami.
It sounds so cliché’ to say her music really makes people feel within the heart but it’s very true. I’m so glad Linda has started using Facebook. It really will open up a whole new audience for her, and so many other people who might not have heard of her will now discover Linda and how wonderful she is. I’ve been homebound with this cast but listen to Linda and watch videos everyday to make the day better! Thank you is not enough for the joy she brings.
Bless you, Linda!