Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wilder Will Present a Mom for Moms Jazz Concert

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wilder Will Present a Mom for Moms Jazz Concert

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran

Jazz singer Dot Wilder understands first-hand the joys and sacrifices of motherhood. The singer and mother of three put her career and passion for singing on hold while her children were young. She has no regrets.

"It was very important to me to be home with them and have time with them when they were young," Wilder said. "Their first steps, their first words, I wanted to experience all of that with them."

Wilder will honor and celebrate mothers Sunday as the opening act for the 10th Annual Mother's Day Pops at the Beach concert, which will feature the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabio Mechetti. Although it will be the symphony's fifth performance on Jacksonville Beach's SeaWalk Pavilion stage, it marks the first time for music director and principal conductor Mechetti.

This is Wilder's second year, however, as the opening act for the Mother's Day celebration at the SeaWalk Pavilion. As a musician she is accustomed to working on holidays and hopes her family will be in the audience.

"I was shocked at the number of people that showed up on Mother's Day last year," Wilder said. "It's a fun event and neat that so many people come out with their moms."

Wilder and her husband of 34 years, Doug, have three adult children, Emily, Ben and Oliver, who range in age from 26 to 30. Her sons live in Jacksonville, Emily lives in Boston. Wilder has fond memories of the children's early years when they lived in old Ortega.

"We had so much fun together going to the park or to the zoo," Wilder said. "I was a room mother and in the PTA."

As they grew older, Wilder made time for her music as long as it didn't interfere with her kids. A Jacksonville native and graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, her youth had been filled with music and dancing until she married and started a family. It wasn't until 1993, when Wilder was in her 40s, that someone heard her sing and encouraged her to apply for a scholarship at the University of North Florida. She graduated summa cum laude from UNF's jazz studies program in 1998.

Wilder performs weekly, primarily in the Jacksonville area, although she hasn't appeared at a Beaches restaurant or nightclub since July. …

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