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WESTSIDER DELORES HALL
WESTSIDER DELORES HALL
Star of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God

5-21-77

It's just after 10 on a Wednesday evening when Delores Hall steps out of the Lyceum Theatre's stage door onto 46th Street. At least 20 fans are waiting; they give a cheer as she emerges and rush toward her. Delores Hall smiles broadly as she autographs their programs, for these fans are hers. She has worked hard to become a Broadway star, and now in Your Arms Too Short to Box with God she is precisely that.

"No, I'm not really tired," says Ms. Hall a few minutes later over a snack at the All-State Cafe. "I'm still at a peak of energy from the show. That was my second performance today, but I could do another one if I had to."

Asking Delores about her earlier days brings a flood of memories and laughter. She's a happy, bouncy woman and seems as pleased to talk as any friendly neighbor. "When I was 3 I discovered I had vibrato," she recalls. "My mother taught me everything I know about singing. I can remember her hitting me in the stomach, showing me how to breathe. But whatever she did, she did it right. I was 4 when I first sang in public; they stood me on a table. I can remember some people throwing 50-cent pieces."

Born in Kansas City slightly more than 30 years ago, Delores grew up with music in her ears. Her father played the bass for Count Basie, and her mother was — and still is — a missionary in the Church of God in Christ, which produces gospel singers the way southern universities raise football players. Young Delores began singing regularly at the church services — an activity she continued when her family moved to Los Angeles. When Delores entered college she formed her own gospel group, an act so popular that she soon left school to become a full-time musician. Later, Harry Belafonte invited the Delores Hall Singers to tour with him for six months.

"Harry is a beautiful man," Delores grins. "He came to the show a month or so ago, and afterwards he went backstage and somebody introduced us. He said, 'Miss Hall, I've heard so much about you,' and then he screamed, and we jumped into each other's arms.

Delores has lived in New York since 1969. Five years ago she moved to the West Side. &q............
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