Home / Dance Divas & Powerhouses/Chosen Few Picnic Announces 1st Guests March 05, 2019

Legendary DJ/producer David Morales, divas Thelma Houston & Taana Gardner + viral songstress Lady Alma to perform at the 29th annual Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival

CHICAGO (March 5, 2019) – Chicago House Music collective the Chosen Few DJs today announced the first wave of performers for their 29th annual Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival returning to Jackson Park on Saturday, July 6, 2019. Making their Picnic debut are the GRAMMY-winning Def Mix Productions co-founder, David Morales, GRAMMY-winning diva Thelma Houston (“Don’t Leave Me This Way”, “I’m Here Again”), disco maven Taana Gardner (“Heartbeat”, “When You Touch Me”, “Work That Body”), and House Music vocalist – and viral sensation – Lady Alma (“Let It Fall”, “It’s House Music”).

The group also announced that Advance Sale VIP and tent packages, along with General Admission tickets and hotel deals, are now available on the Chosen Few DJs website.

“For the 29th year in a row, we’re excited to host the preeminent celebration of House Music in its birthplace,” says Wayne Williams, founder and president, Chosen Few DJs. “We’re especially honored this year to feature David Morales, Thelma Houston, Taana Gardner, and Lady Alma – all true dance music innovators and veterans – and we’re looking forward to seeing them work their magic on the Chosen Few Picnic crowd.”

Started in 1990 as a small gathering of friends behind the Museum of Science & Industry, the Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival is the world’s longest-running event dedicated to House Music, attracting more than 40,000 fans each year. Nicknamed the “Woodstock of House Music” for its family-reunion vibe, the Picnic features 12 hours of music from the Chosen Few DJs – Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn, plus guest DJs and vocalists.

Other festival events include a Daley Plaza dance party on Wednesday, June 26, Chosen Few DJs night at the Chicago White Sox game on Friday, June 28, and a series of festival receptions and parties starting Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7. Details will be announced in the spring.

About the Guest Artists

David Morales: After honing his DJ skills in New York City’s most popular clubs in the early 80s, New York native David Morales emerged as a sought-after remixer after partnering with Chicago House Music legend Frankie Knuckles and NYC DJ pool founder/nightlife impresario Judy Weinstein to create Def Mix Productions. He has remixed and produced more than 500 releases for artists including Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Eric Clapton, Pet Shop Boys, U2, Whitney Houston, and Jamiroquai. His work was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 1996 and 1997, and in 1998, he won “Remixer of the Year”. While continuing production work under his new label, DIRIDIM, he performs at dance festivals and events across the globe both as a solo artist and as part of the “Kings of House” with fellow NY DJ/producer legends Louie Vega and Tony Humphries.

Thelma Houston: Born in the musically fertile Mississippi Delta, Thelma Houston grew up singing in church and at school in southern California, attracted first to gospel, then popular music. She signed with Capitol Records in 1967 where she recorded her first hit, “Baby Mine,” while her first solo album, “Sunshower”, led to an offer from Motown Records. There, Houston rose to the top of Pop, R&B and Dance charts with her rendition of “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” for which she won the GRAMMY Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1977 – the first Motown solo female artist to do so – and kept the party going with dance hits “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning”, and “I’m Here Again”. Houston continues to perform globally, from singing for the Pope and U.S. President Barack Obama to wowing new audiences on “American Idol,” “The View,” and “America’s Got Talent”. Known for her dedication to humanitarian causes, January 29, 2003 was named “Thelma Houston Day” by the City of West Hollywood in recognition of her charitable activities.

Taana Gardner: Under the tutelage of her opera singer grandmother, Newark, New Jersey native Taana Gardner began her arts career early, first as a child playwright whose work was featured at New York’s Lincoln Center and the Apollo, then as a central voice at West End Records, the New York label responsible some of dance music’s most influential records in the 1970s and 80s. Her debut record was the Kenton Nix-written 1978 disco hit “Work That Body”, remixed by the legendary Larry Levan of the Paradise Garage. Nix and Gardner went on to make a succession of dance hits, including “When You Touch Me”, and the massive international smash, “Heartbeat“. After taking time away from the business, Gardner reappeared on recordings throughout the 80s and 90s, and lending her talents to several musical acts, including Kool & the Gang, Peabo Bryson, Edwin Starr, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.

Lady Alma: Steeped in the Philly Soul tradition, singer/songwriter Lady Alma had stacked up dance music hits for more than 20 years, including “Let It Fall”, “Keep It Movin’”, “Believe”, “Hold Your Head Up” and “It’s House Music”. In 2018, Lady Alma’s music experienced a resurgence when a video of an enthusiastic South African fan dancing and lip-syncing to 2009’s “Let It Fall” racked up more than 17 million views, along with a second video featuring legendary choreographer and performer Toni Basil dancing to 2014’s “It’s House Music” that garnered more than 5 million views and prompted international media coverage. Harnessing that energy, Lady Alma is back in the studio working on a solo EP slated for release in 2019 and embarking on an international tour.

About the Chosen Few DJs
Founded in 1977 by Wayne Williams, the Chosen Few DJs is a music collective among the first wave of DJs and producers in Chicago who created the sound that became known as House Music. The original group – Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, Alan King, and Andre Hatchett – played their unique brand of soulful dance music to huge crowds throughout the city, helping spark a global movement. The group added Terry Hunter to its roster in 2006 and Mike Dunn in 2012. Since 1990, the Chosen Few DJs, along with childhood friend Kim Parham, has organized the Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival, which draws more than 40,000 fans each year to Chicago each year. The collective hosts events in cities across the United States and perform at festivals around the globe, including Amsterdam Dance Event, Winter Music Conference, and Suncébeat. They also produce hit music, from Terry Hunter and Wayne Williams’ 2015 GRAMMY-nominated “It’s Your World” by Jennifer Hudson and NAACP Image Award-winning production on “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” to Mike Dunn’s critically acclaimed 2018 album, “My House from All Angles”  and the smash “In The Beginning (There Was Jack)”, a 2018 update of the classic House track featuring Chuck Roberts and Monique Bingham. Chosen Few DJs Williams, King, and Hunter also run Chosen Few Artist Management, Inc. Learn more: chosenfewdjs.comFacebookTwitter; and Instagram.

Contact: Lehia Franklin Acox, lfa@chosenfewdjs.com