Local clinical psychologist Ronnie Ginsberg Ventura certainly has the singing chops, as they say in the trade.
Now an Andover resident, Ginsberg Ventura was a teen singer back in the 1960s with a three-girl group known as The Dimples. While they may not be widely known now, they were good enough back then to have their songs played on the radio and to even open for musical great Chubby Checker once.
Today, the singer, who grew up in Pennsylvania, is reliving those heady days, as she is one of six actress-singers performing in "Beehive — The 60's Musical" with the Colonial Chorus Players of Reading from Feb. 8 to 17.
Featuring such timeless classics as “It’s My Party,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “My Boyfriend’s Back,” Beehive nostalgically recalls the 1960s. Miniskirts, transistor radios, and flower power rock this show.
Told from the perspective of six women who came of age in this enigmatic decade, these ladies also look back on a host of issues ranging from their first Beehive dance to the national challenges of the 60's that included a war and a president's assassination.
"It is definitely an amazing opportunity to relive my high school glory days," she said. "Both the show's director/choreographer, Amelia Boyd Munson, and the music director, Jordan Potash, are quite wonderful and so talented, and are actually even interested in hearing from me about the way things really were back then, both the music and the history from that era. The other women in the cast are multi-talented too, and such fun to perform with."
The group had a contract with Cameo-Parkway, also the recording home to superstar singers Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell, among others. The Dimples opened for Chubby Checker once. They recorded three songs, two of which are on YouTube.
"There was something undeniably cool about having our own choreographer, manager, and chaperone who traveled around with us and being on an expense account," said Ginsberg Ventura, who lives in Ballardvale and works at Family Services of Merrimack Valley in Lawrence, as she remembered her wildly successful teen singing years. "It was even cooler to have people requesting our autographs, watching our songs moving up the charts every week, and, even more amazing, driving to school senior year and hearing my voice come out over the radio."
Her group ended when the girls' parents insisted they go off to college. But a few years later, when Ginsberg Ventura got married, her mom asked The Dimples to reunite to sing at her wedding. And, they did.
"I don't regret giving up The Dimples for college," she said. "I'm not sure how far we would have gone in such a cut-throat industry. And, I still get to sing. Philadelphia was the center of popular music back in the '60's, and I just feel lucky to have been discovered in a high school talent show, to have spent so much time singing with my two best friends, and to have had the indescribable experience of recording three songs professionally and actually hearing our voices come through on the radio as I was driving to school senior year."
She went to Haverford High School in Havertown, Pennsylvania, got her undergraduate degree in psychology and political science from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, a Master's degree in school psychology and counseling from Boston College, and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, now named William James College.
She lives with her husband and cat. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.
When not working, babysitting, or performing, she is a Zumba enthusiast.
And, smiling no doubt when she remembers her Dimple days.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Beehive - The 60's Musical," with six women, including Ronnie Ginsberg Ventura of Andover, performing as they nostalgically recall the 1960s.
WHO: Colonial Chorus Players of Reading
WHEN: Feb. 8 to 17
WHERE: The Old Hose House, 1249 Main St., Reading