Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its 30th Anniversary Season with a return performance by an international treasure — beloved singer Johnny Mathis, who brings his velvety voice, accompanied by a full orchestra, to the Lehman Center stage in an exclusive New York City appearance on Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m.
Mathis, who has sold millions of albums worldwide, will perform all of his timeless hits, including “Chances Are,” “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Misty” “The Twelfth of Never,” “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and “A Certain Smile,” as well as a mix of jazz and classic standards and celebrated songs from Broadway musicals.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, N.Y. 10468.
Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway.
Johnny Mathis, born in Gilmer, Texas, the fourth of seven children, grew up in San Francisco. Learning songs from his father Clem, who worked briefly playing the piano and singing back in Texas, young Johnny sang at church, school and community events, and amateur shows in the San Francisco area.
At George Washington High School, he was known not only for his singing ability but for his athleticism, becoming a star on the track and field and basketball teams. He enrolled at San Francisco State College intending to become an English and physical education teacher and set a high jump record of 6’-5 1/2”, just two inches short of the Olympic record at the time.
When a fellow student whose sextet was working at the Black Hawk nightclub brought Johnny in for a Sunday jam session, he was heard by Helen Noga, co-owner of the club, who convinced George Avakian, then head of Jazz A&R at Columbia Records, to see him.
Avakian came to the club and sent the now-famous telegram to his record company: “Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.”
He has been nominated for GRAMMY Awards four times: in 1960 for “Misty” (Best Vocal Performance, Male); in 1992 for “In a Sentimental Mood / Mathis Sings Ellington” (Best Traditional Pop Performance); in 2005 for the album Isn’t It Romantic (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album); and in 2010 for his first foray into classic country music, “Let It Be Me – Mathis in Nashville” (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album).