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Life's Sweet Song

December 17, 2011

EAST GREENWICH – Phoebe McBride Madden, a Cowesett resident who trained with Broadway's top coaches and enjoyed a long career performing in national tours and at such renowned locations at Sardi's in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., has just released her second CD.

Titled “Phoebe In Love,” it follows her popular earlier work, “Phoebe Sings Broadway,” issued in Spring 2008. While the earlier CD “represented a lot of shows I'd been in,” Madden says the new collection “shows even more growth.”

She describes the music on the new compilation as “songs I feel deeply about. I wanted to give joy and love in hard [economic] times” when people's spirits are low. She also feels that, after years of effort, her voice “is at its peak.”

The daughter of an actress, Madden began studying theater and music at a young age and was playing professional engagements as a teenager. Besides her New York experience, she also received instruction at the National Theatre of Great Britain's Shakespeare Workshop.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College where she was a President's Fellow in the Theater and Dance Department. As an undergraduate, Madden met Gerald Moshell, a professor and pianist, who became her mentor and accompanies her on the new recording.

She regards him as “an accompanist like no other. He's a Sondheim expert and we've had a long friendship.”

The two interpret three Sondheim songs on this CD: “Losing My Mind,” “Send in the Clowns,” and “Somewhere.” Madden is joined by Michael DiMucci – she calls him “the best tenor in the state” – on a pair of Enrico Garzilli compositions, “Once Upon a Time and Always” and “By My Side.”

“Enrico loves to have Michael and me sing his music,” notes Madden, adding “Michael and I will be working together more and more.” She and DiMucci also share a love of sacred music. He is the cantor at St. Mary's in Bristol; she is the cantor at St. Gregory the Great in Cowesett.

Additionally, Madden has been the featured soloist for the past two years at the “Summer's End” concert in East Greenwich, singing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.

Besides an avid fan base that follows her stage appearances, she is equally well-known locally as a voice teacher, currently working with 23 students. Many of her protégées have gone on to perform in elite college choirs and professional roles.

“I trained with the best coaches and I always remember all they taught me. I'm giving to others what I was given by them. [The teaching] has grown; I feel very thankful. I knew nobody when we moved here 10 years ago.” (Her husband, Thomas, is a lawyer; they have three children.)

One of Madden's graduates, George Washington University student Lindsay Martin, joins her former teacher for a duet on the CD.

“She represents that part of my life,” Madden says. “I love to teach and I learn from my students. I carry each of them with me; they're a wonderful group.”

The latest batch of voice students will present a recital “Songs of Christmas” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 118 Division St. in East Greenwich. Madden's three kids also will play roles.

“Our children share me with a lot of other people's children,” she notes.

Among the American songbook tunes on the recording is one by Phoebe Madden. It is called “Time Love.”

“I was inspired by my husband and by my parents who were married for 50 years. It's a wish for a loving relationship to go on and on.”

“Phoebe in Love” can be purchased at the Dec. 20 concert, at St. Gregory the Great Church, at Sprigs Flowers, 446 Main St., East Greenwich, and directly from the artist, 237 Highland Ave., Warwick, RI 02886. Cost is $20.

Martha Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. Retired, she is an independent contractor for SRIN and can be reached at

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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