Billboard Bits: SARS/Toronto, USO, Peggy Lee

News on SARS affecting Toronto concerts, USO, Peggy Lee

Kelly Clarkson"American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson and Billy Joel & Elton John have canceled visits Monday (April 28) to Toronto due to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak. At the city's Air Canada Centre, Joel and John were due to perform a concert that sold out in 20 minutes. Clarkson, meanwhile, was scheduled to appear on "Canada AM," "The Mike Bullard Show," and MuchMusic's Much "On Demand."

The latter cancellation comes as auditions are being held for "Canadian Idol," a spin-off of the top-rated TV show. Auditions across Canada started in Vancouver April 22, but there is concern SARS might affect 4,500 Toronto auditions set for May 25.

As reported yesterday, the outbreak has forced Styx, the Notwist, and Lisa Marie Presley to cancel Toronto appearances. SARS has thus far resulted in 16 deaths in the Toronto area.

-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto; Ray Waddell, Nashville

SimpsonNancy Sinatra, Jessica Simpson, and Nick Lachey will perform during a May 10 USO show in Hollywood for members of the military and their families. The "Salute to the Troops" concert will be held at the Hollywood & Highland Entertainment Complex beginning at 3 p.m. PT, with limited seating available on a first come, first served basis for attendees with Department of Defense identification.

This is turning out to be an active time for the non-profit USO (United Service Organizations), which works to bring "a touch of home to America's military personnel."
As previously reported, 1980s hard rock band Twisted Sister will head to South Korea next week for a USO tour of Army and Air Force bases. The USO is also sending actor/comedian Tom Green to entertain troops in Kosovo and the U.K. April 28-May 5, and veteran singer Wayne Newton to Korea and Japan June 30-July 6. For more information, visit

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

PeggySinger/songwriter/event producer Richard Barone is putting together "There'll Be Another Spring: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee" as the flagship show for this year's JVC Jazz Festival. The concert is slated for June 23 at New York's Carnegie Hall. Signed up so far, Barone says, are Deborah Harry, Ronnie Milsap, Jane Monheit, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Shirley Horn, Peter Cincotti, Eartha Kitt, Petula Clark, Bea Arthur, Maria Muldaur, Cy Coleman, Mike Stoller, Freddy Cole, Rita Moreno, and Nancy Sinatra.

Song choices will favor the late Lee's own compositions (with collaborators like Coleman, Duke Ellington, and Johnny Mandel and including such classics as "Manana" and "He's a Tramp") and those written especially for her by the likes of Leiber & Stoller and Paul McCartney. Original arrangements by Gordon Jenkins, Nelson Riddle, and Quincy Jones, among others, will also be featured.

Lee died in January 2002 at the age of 81.

-- Jim Bessman, N.Y.