AliceMilton La Placa
The Sue Sue Sisters
Nov 17, 2018
AliceMilton La Placa
Native born, sixth generation Floridian Alice Milton La Placa is a music teacher at Moton Elementary School, in the Hernando County School District. But she is also a member of the all-female group, The Sue Sue Sisters. The groups isAlice LaPlaca, Margie Spinoza, Katia Valdeos, and Cynthia Haring. Sometimes the group has an “honorary member for a season” or an occasional, special musical guest, and even “one cool dude.” During performances Marcos Trujillo is that “cool dude,” and on the “School of Fish” album, Lonnie Park claimed the title. In February 2019 the Sue Sue Sisters went to LA to attend the 61st GRAMMY® Awards. During Grammy Week, they performed two original songs – “My Little One” and “Dos Corazones” – at an Indie Artist Showcase at The Grafton in Hollywood.
The Sue Sue Sisters were born in 2015 when their friend & colleague Susan Spear Lake, nicknamed “Sue Sue” by her longtime pal Alice, was in rehab, battling brain cancer. Although Susan was a very positive, happy person by nature, they wanted to cheer her up in whatever ways they could. So, Cynthia wrote some funny, country cornball songs just for Susan to laugh, and she did! Now, they find another purpose for these super kid-friendly songs within their new children’s album, while they continue to bring awareness and support to those “fighting that good fight” and the loved ones supporting them through the cancer experience. It is with great joy and pleasure that they share some of these “Sue Sue Sisters” songs, now featured on their 2019 children’s album, “School of Fish.”
Healing and health, survival and support for others, have long been themes for the Sue Sue Sisters - in their personal life and in their community. Band member Cynthia Haring opened up for the first time about her own battle with cancer during an interview with Bruce Carter, a friend for over 30 years, during his 2014 interview with her during his “Art Talks” program at NPR radio station WVIK in Rock Island, Illinois. She talked about cancer and its impact on her life and her music with Bruce when she was in town for performance fundraisers for her mother’s Caryl Haring Memorial Scholarship Fund. Her mother, a much-loved teacher for nearly 40 years in Davenport, Iowa, passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2012. “Few people realize that cancer insurance was actually the ‘backer’ for three of my last four albums,” says Cynthia. “It is a strange twist of fate that - had I not had cancer - I would not have had the funds to release any of these albums.”
One song on the “School of Fish” children’s album, entitled “Song for Ezra,” was written in memory of Ezra, who passed away at age 2 ½ from neuroblastoma, a common cancer in children. In memory of Ezra, all proceeds from the sale of this song will go to support Beat Nb! (neuroblastoma), an organization co-founded by Ezra’s parents, Kyle and Robyn Matthews.
Cynthia Haring and co-producer Katia Valdeos, also a cancer survivor, and the Sue Sue Sisters frequently perform at Relay for Life cancer fundraisers and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Of her own cancer experience, Katia says: “It changes you, your perspective of life. You realize that life is short, and that every day is a gift.”
The “Sue Sue Sisters” are: Alice Milton La Placa, Margie Spinoza, Katia Valdeos, and Cynthia Haring. Sometimes the group has an “honorary member for a season” or an occasional, special musical guest, and even “one cool dude.” During performances Marcos Trujillo is that “cool dude,” and on the “School of Fish” album, Lonnie Park claimed the title. In February 2019 the Sue Sue Sisters went to LA to attend the 61st Grammy Awards. During Grammy Week, they performed two original songs – “My Little One” and “Dos Corazones” – at an Indie Artist Showcase at The Grafton in Hollywood.
Upon their return to Florida, producers Katia Valdeos & Cynthia Haring began moving toward completion of their newchildren’s album, “School of Fish,” with the Sue Sue Sisters, featuring the “School of Fish Children’s Choir,” in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and engineer Lonnie Park. Their engineering team also included Tom Morris of Morrisound Studio in Tampa, who has engineered albums for Cynthia & Katia for eight years now; mixing engineer Oscar Autie of El Cerrito Studio in San Francisco; and mastering engineers Emily Lazar & Chris Allgood at The Lodge, NY. Additional engineering was provided by Raniero Palm & Ruben Salas and team at the Caña Loca Studios in San Cristóbal, Venezuela.
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