Donna Summer Has Died. R.I.P. To One Great Lady And Musical Icon


Another musical icon has died. The great singing talent, Donna Summer passed away today at the age of 63 years after a battle with lung cancer, a disease she reportedly contracted after inhaling fumes from the horrific 9/11 attack. Horrible to read and even worse to type. I wonder how many others have suffered or will suffer a similar fate?

According to a family statement:

“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith,” the singer’s family said in a statement issued Thursday.

“While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.”

Ms. Summer was known as the Queen Of Disco and rightfully so. Her dance music blazed through the Billboard charts garnering four number one singles within a 13-month period.

I always admired her refined technical skills. The voice always came first and she, interestingly enough, was not the smoothest dancer. However, the power and energy of her vocal gift motivated the listener to move and groove to her music.

And, to watch her was such a joy. She was a relaxed, in-control presence on the stage and knew how, in her own quiet way, to energize her listeners. She was absolutely one of the greatest voices of our time and left us far too soon.

The MCL Community wish to extend condolences to her family and friends. R.I.P. Ms. Summer. We shall miss you!

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

4 Responses to “Donna Summer Has Died. R.I.P. To One Great Lady And Musical Icon”

  1. People talk about the 3000 lives that were lost on 9/11/2001 but this just emphasizes the true impact of that tragic event. We are still experiencing casualties to this day and then you have to add all the brave heroes that were lost in the subsequent wars overseas. This is compelling evidence that it still isn’t over and it’s so sad that we lost such a great musical icon as a result.

    No life lost to the events of that day are unimportant but sometimes it takes a loss such as this to really bring back to the forefront of our minds the initial emotional jolt of that day and remind people of the true impact that it had on our country, the world and society as a whole. It takes something like this to really put things into perspective and make us realize how petty a lot of our worries in life are.

    R.I.P. Donna Summer, and may God be with your loved ones to comfort and keep them through this difficult time.


  2. She was an incredible talent and truly the voice of disco. I regret not seeing her in Santa Barbara a few years ago.


  3. Yes Cathi – I regret never her seeing her live as well.

    And Taymaro – no right you are. That despicable terrorist event is responsible for thousands upon thousands of tragedies, obviously, even to this day and beyond.

    I think – as testament to the great Ms. Summers – we should take off our boxing gloves re Idol and just enjoy the music. If our favorites are eliminated, so be it, but, at the very least, they are still young, vital and will, hopefully, continue to gift us with their music for a very long time.


  4. As a member of the RRHOF&M, it saddens me that Donna Summer was not inducted while alive. I had been writing and talking to the staff at the Rock Hall and they couldn’t figure out why she was excluded while smaller acts were inducted. Donna wanted this induction so badly. She said she would be so honored. Yes, I have had conversations with the President of the Rock Hall about Donna and Neil Diamond.

    Yes, Donna was the Queen of Disco but did so much other work in R&B and Gospel. She received a Grammy in the Rock category. I am just so sad about her death.
    I would say she popularized, along with Giorgio Moroder, the emerging electronic scene before any mainstream artist thought of such ideas.” Now she is gone and was not given this honor she so deserving earned. Look at the artists influenced by her work from Madonna to Lady Gaga. RIP Donna Summer.

    Thank you Rosanne, for the write-up!


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