For 25 years, the Steele family performed an annual concert in some of the area’s most famous theatres. Their annual shows at places like the Guthrie, Fitzgerald and Ordway Theatres had become a Minnesota holiday tradition by the time they decided to make their 25th annual concert their last in 2009.
Since then, though, the Steeles — which consist of siblings J.D., Fred, Jearlyn, Jevetta and Billy Steele — have taken their holiday show on the road. This year, they’ll be making a stop in Watertown when they play at the Watertown-Mayer Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. The concert is expected to include both standard and original holiday songs.
It will mark the second major concert in less than a month hosted by the Watertown Area Fine Arts Council, after the organization hosted cuban jazz musician Nachito Herrera at the PAC in October. Tickets for The Steeles concert are $25, and are on sale at Marketplace Foods in Watertown and online at the Watertown-Mayer School District’s Web site.
The Steeles actually grew up in Gary, Ind., but each eventually came to Minnesota for various reasons. Over the years, the Steele siblings have recorded and performed with the likes of Prince, Donald Fagen, Morgan Freeman, George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Johnny Lang, and others. They have performed around the world and the United States, and continue to do so, both collectively and individually.
J.D. is the oldest of the siblings, and is currently the director and founder of the MacPhail Community Youth Choir. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the Minnesota music scene, including Prince and Soul Asylum. As a choral director, he’s directed choirs for the Broadway production of “The Gospel at Colonus,” featuring Morgan Freeman.
Fred Steele has had numerous CDs released through the Lifescapes label featured at Target, and has been featured in radio and television commercials for companies like Levi’s. He’s toured the world with various artists and has appeared in musical productions around the Twin Cities, including the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.
Jearlyn Steele is known for her numerous appearances on Prairie Home Companion, and for her weekly radio show on WCCO, called “Steele Talkin.” Jevetta Steele is an accomplished singer and actress, and even earned an Academy Award nomination for her music in the film “Baghdad Cafe.”
Billy Steele is the youngest of the five siblings. He currently serves as the assistant director of the Grammy Award winning group Sounds of Blackness, and his voice has been featured on soundtracks with artists like Rod Stewart, Luther Vandross and others.