In The Spotlight

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Denise Jones was raised in Staten Island, but more relevant to her musical talents, was nearly born at the Apollo Theater while her mother waited in line for a concert. Denise survived an abusive childhood with troubled parents and entered foster care as a teenager. From a group home Denise went to college at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, where she had a partial scholarship to participate in track and field.

Denise continues as a track and field athlete competing in the pentathlon (shot-put, long jump, high jump, 800 meter race and 55 meter hurdles) at the Colgate Women's' Games in the Master's (over-30) Division. A number of years ago, on a dare, she even completed a New York City Marathon,although she'll tell you she's a sprinter, not a long-distance runner

Denise is an alto and a soloist with the New York City Labor Chorus. She first came to the Chorus about 2 years after the Chorus was formed. Denise saw an ad in her union paper and decided to try out. At the audition she thought the people were unfriendly and not at all welcoming to newcomers. She was about to quit until she met Donna and Susan, two chorus members who were friendly and supportive and encouraged her to stay

Some time after she joined the chorus, the late Geoffrey Fairweather, director of the Chorus at the time, asked Denise to try a solo on the special Chorus version of Solidarity Forever called Rockin' Solidarity. While Denise had no idea what Mr. Fairweather saw in her, and at first believed that she was not doing so well, with determination and hard work, she improved to the point where this solo is now a highlight of chorus performances

In the early 90s, Denise was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. From that experience she realized that life can be short and decided to pursue her education. Denise obtained her MSW at Hunter College Graduate School and recently received her License.  She now works as a supervisor in the foster care unit of the New York City Administration for Children's Services. Denise is an active member of SSEU (Social Services Employees Union), Local 371.

Denise is happy with the direction of the Chorus. She thinks that director Peter Schlosser, accompanist Dennis Nelson, and the Chorus Board of Directors are doing a great job leading the Chorus. Denise expresses her dedication to the Chorus by saying, "I love the Chorus. We're learning new things, and it's a very good outlet. Every time I sing the Rockin' Solidarity solo I think of Mr. Fairweather. I hope we remain as a family and that we remain united.

Denise has a business card that says "D.J. Denise - A Touch of Magic Deejay Service." She sings backup with bands, sometimes sings at weddings, funerals, birthdays and retirement parties, as well as singing a lot of karaoke. "To get a clear picture of who I am, my past, present and future are intertwined and need to be reflected to clearly have insight because singing is one of my outlets."