The Georgia Frances Orchestra brings talent, artistry, experience and a remarkable scope of musical selections to a varied clientele. They've played for celebrations of every kind. Performances are based on classic music of many eras, combining crowd-pleasing musicianship with a remarkable range of experience and artistic achievement.
For this orchestra, versatility has a number of accents. Officially it bills itself as a great entertainment choice offering four centuries of music performed with ease, experience and style. Less formally the orchestra has made a universal practice of playing to audiences' tastes. In its several incarnations, from a classical ensemble, to a jazz group, to a sophisticated dance orchestra, or 20 piece party band, the GFO has provided minutes, hours, and whole days of musical formats for its diverse clientele.
Onstage, energy is always the guiding concept. The spectacular versatility, quality and creativity during performances are especially noteworthy. Adaptability is another trump. At all times the listening and dancing pleasure of the audience remains the goal.
Party-goers enjoy the diversity, on-stage energy and the range of music. From song to song the musical styles may change, but the performance quality is impressively distinctive - a major factor in the orchestra's continuing success.
Co-founders, Georgia Frances and John Bishop, independently built successful performing careers before combining their complimentary talents to form the orchestra.
A graduate of the American Conservatory, Georgia majored in piano and violin. Her time was equally divided between serious classical performances and ever increasingly, popular music groups. She learned orchestration first hand as violinist with the Empire Room Orchestra, which backed all the big stars that came to Chicago. The natural progression for her creativity was to develop her own orchestra. This group took on a new sound after collaborating with guitarist, John Bishop.
John Bishop's career began in the blues and pop fields but he soon embraced jazz as his focus after jamming with Wes Montgomery's organist, Mel Rhyne. John's formative jazz years were spent in San Francisco. After signing on as an artist with Ray Charles, Bishop's group began touring coast-to-coast performing at prestigious clubs such as the Copacabana in New York. A favorite of Joe Namath, Bishop was signed on to open Namath's Bachelors III nightclubs. Bishop first came to Chicago as opening act for Ray Charles at the Regal Theatre and subsequently headlined the London House and Mr. Kelly's. John has also performed as lead guitarist with Donny Hathaway and Ramsey Lewis.