FORTE’s vocalists come in loud and clear


The word “forte” means strong, and also loud. The four singers involved in the musical ensemble FORTE - Liz Aiello, Beverly Todd, Katherine Sandoval Taylor and Carol Duermit - offer the strength of their collective years in musical theater (and plenty of vocal firepower) to White Horse Black Mountain on Saturday, Jan. 30.

The cabaret-style performance, accompanied by a three-piece band, benefits P.E.P., the Progressive Education Program through Buncombe County Schools.

The performers at the heart of FORTE bring diverse personalities and backgrounds to the wide range of music they sing. Aiello has had a long career in theater, including tours with major Broadway road companies. One of her signature roles is the title role in “Always … Patsy Cline.” She’s played leading roles in many regional and local productions as well a being an active voice-over artist.

Duermit, a Cincinnati native, first attracted attention in North Carolina fronting rock bands. But for the last 20 years she has indulged her love for musical theater in numerous productions. With writing partner Patton Cardwell, she has recorded an album of original music under the name Orhan Tree.

Described by the Boston Globe as “stunning,” Asheville native Katherine Sandoval Taylor holds advanced degrees in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory and Furman University. Her training and experience have gotten her musical roles ranging from orchestral and operatic to demanding Broadway productions.

Also an Asheville native, Todd started her performing career at age 15 when she won the title of Teen Miss North Carolina. Earning her bachelor of arts in musical theater at Mars Hill College, she moved to New York for additional study and experience, performing in off-Broadway cabarets and touring companies. Since moving back to WNC, she has performed at the Grove Park with the band Emporium and with leading local musical theater troupes.

Coordinating these four varied talents is award-winning musical director/composer/arranger Jan Powell, who has worked on musical productions large and small in major markets. He has years of experience in multiple genres, from the musical theater stage to movies and TV.

Buncombe County’s P.E.P program serves students with moderate to significant intellectual disabilities from elementary through high school. The program promotes collaboration between parents, teachers and the community to help every student realize their potential and greatest level of independence.

It’s their forte


When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $18 advance, $20 door