Phyllis Chapell

by Joe Tressa

The jazz contemporary band Phyllis Chapell and SIORA will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, as it continues the 65th annual Pastorius Park Concert Series.

The Philadelphia-area band, widely-known as “SIORA,” may be the most unique group performing at this year’s series of concerts. Led by the multilingual singer Chapell, the band’s wide range of music includes songs from the United States, Brazil, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Chapell can sing in more than 10 different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Yiddish, Arabic, Turkish, French, Hebrew and Russian. She can also play more than one instrument, moving from the guitar and bass to keyboard, percussion and various wind instruments.

Chapell began her career as a solo artist more than 20 years ago. She eventually met singer Dan Kleiman and the two created SIORA in 1994. Kleiman died suddenly in 2010, but Chapell has continued to perform with SIORA ever since.

The band has grown from two members to nine since it was first created almost 20 years ago. Dave Posmontier takes over on keyboard, while Rob Swanson, Chico Huff, Steve Beskrone and Kevin MacConnell all play bass. Jimmy Coleman and Paul Jost play drums and Ken Ulansey plays saxophone.

SIORA has released four CD’s during its time together, while Chapell has released two solo albums of her own. The band’s most recent album, “The Other Side of the River,” was released in 2011.

Chapell and SIORA have received a great deal of praise over the years. The band was named to the Top 25 of 2011 by Chapell was honored when American jazz critic Scott Yanow named her one of the top 500 jazz singers of all time in his 2009 book “The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide.”

The rain location for each concert will be at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Lower School Auditorium, Cherokee Campus, 8000 Cherokee St. Rain statuses will be posted on by 6 p.m. on the day of the show.

The concert series is organized and produced by the Chestnut Hill Community Association and made possible by donations from the Chestnut Hill Community Fund and Chestnut Hill Hospital. Further sponsorship is provided by WXPN and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department. Be sure to check back with the Local for previews of each band act the week before each concert.

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