The Singer Family in Portland, Oregon, summer of 1962: (Left to right) Jacques, Gregory, Lori, Leslie, Marc, and Claude (standing). Photo: The Oregonian
On November 6, 1957, older brothers Claude and Marc Singer welcomed two new members to their extraordinary family – twins Lori Jacqueline and Gregory. Their parents, Poland-born violinist and symphony conductor Jacques Singer and pianist and tall Texas beauty Leslie Wright Singer, were soon to oversee a household of budding prodigies. Their talented offspring eventually found success in movies, music, dance, television, and modeling.
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Lori Singer at the PGA Awards, January 22, 2011
Lori’s professional talent and accomplishments have been impressive; as a cellist, she made her symphonic debut at age 13, was accepted at the Julliard Performing Arts School in New York City, and won the 1980 Bergen Philharmonic Competition following her graduation. In addition to school and music studies, she earned spending money as a model, represented by the Elite Modeling Agency in New York. In her spare seconds, she began studying acting and made her debut on the television series Fame in 1982. (Older brother Marc paved the way with star turns in the movie Beastmaster and its sequels, the television mini-series V, and many other silver- and small-screen performances, including American Conservatory Theater Shakespearean productions.) Lori is perhaps best known for her role as pastor’s daughter Ariel Moore in Footloose with Kevin Bacon. She also appeared with Tom Hanks in The Man With One Red Shoe, and received awards for her performances in Trouble in Mind and Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. She has appeared in several other movies, continued to perform in classical music venues, and in 2013 co-produced the award-winning documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.
Greg Singer. Photo: Manhattan Symphonie
Lori has been a tough act to follow for her brother Greg, even though she only got a 3 minute head start. A very talented violinist and conductor in his own right, Greg’s progress as an artist always required more work and determination than the almost effortless success Lori enjoyed. He also studied at Julliard as a teen, played with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and American Symphony Orchestras, and in Broadway shows, ballets, and operas. He has managed the Naumberg Orchestra and New York City Symphony. He currently lives across town from Lori playing his violin, conducting the Manhattan Symphonie, and running his own W. 80th Street shop, Gregory Singer Fine Violins.
I have a remote personal connection to Lori and Greg, from their years spent in Portland, Oregon while their father conducted the Portland Symphony Orchestra from 1962 to 1972. The twins attended Ainsworth Elementary School, where they became good friends with my trumpet-playing, wonderful future husband. My future husband greatly missed Greg and Lori after they left for New York and Julliard. In 2010, after almost forty years, he reconnected with the twins, spending a music-filled afternoon with Greg in his violin shop and speaking with Lori by phone. We continue to wish them much success and happiness.