‘Out of this world’ energy expected from legendary Motown musician Diana Ross

Illustration by George Koloski/Design Editor

Julia Weber
Staff writer

Legendary Motown singer Diana Ross made an impact on the Chautauqua audience so great that Deborah Sunya Moore easily recalls the icon’s debut performance at the Amphitheater in 2019.

“She was just so generous with her time and the emotion that she was able to convey was beyond what we were hoping,” said Moore, senior vice president and chief program officer. “She just had a real connection with the Chautauqua audience.”

Ross is set to perform at 8:15 p.m. Sunday in the Amp as part of the ongoing Diana Ross: the Music Legacy Tour.

Her energy four years ago was “out of this world,” Moore said. 

Concert-goers can expect to hear a dynamic, engaging selection of her classics like “I’m Coming Out,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Upside Down” among other hits.

Originally rising to fame as lead vocalist in the 1960s girl-group The Supremes, Ross is also well-known for her successful solo career.
Ross undeniably impactful music and legacy within the industry will make for a not-to-be-missed show Sunday.

“I just love this business,” Ross said in a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone.
“I don’t know if I could have chosen anything better to give my life to. I’m doing something I probably didn’t have to be paid to do.”

The Supremes, originally comprised of Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Betty McGlown, were integral in establishing the Motown sound. The Detroit-based musical movement was named as an ode to the Midwest “motor town.” It spread throughout the nation and world, then paved the way for other artists following in their footsteps. 

Including the 1962 debut Meet the Supremes, 1964’s Where Did Our Love Go and 1966’s The Supremes A’ Go-Go, the group released a number of albums and underwent numerous lineup changes in its 18 years of existence.

Ross departed from The Supremes in order to pursue a career as a solo artist, which proved to be wildly successful with releases like her 1970 self-titled album, 1979’s The Boss and 1980’s Diana. Most recently, Ross released her newest album Thank You in 2021.

“I sing all the time. Music is a part of my being,” Ross said in the Rolling Stone interview. “Like when I’m walking, I walk with a rhythm. I carry myself as if there’s music inside.”

As an actress, Ross starred in The Wiz, Lady Sings the Blues and Mahogany. She was recognized as a Kennedy Center honoree in 2007, with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, among other high-profile honors.

Her infectiously fun music is reason enough to attend tonight’s show, but her long-standing cultural relevance and significant musical contributions make an even stronger case for attending, Sunya Moore said.

“There is no one like her,” Moore said.


The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.