I recently found a surprising Gem of the Bay. The voice resonates happiness and joy, security and fulfillment. It fills one up with a warm taste of satisfaction and leaves me wanting another plate full. That voice belongs to Robbie Nothstine, aka Sister Rosemary Chicken, whom I’m thrilled to introduce to you.
On December 16, 1966, Robbie was born to parents Rev. Larry Nothstine and Willie Rose in Booneville, Missouri. Robbie has one older sibling, a sister. Soon after birth, the family moved to Hacienda Heights and then to Covina, in southern California. That’s where Robbie began his musical journey, but he has an even earlier memory.
“My first musical memory was sitting on the organ bench at church with my mother watching her play 2 keyboards, flip a bunch of switches and play a piano with her feet. I believe I was 3 or 4 at the time and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow! My mom is amazing.”
Robbie worked hard and continued to sing through school and church and eventually made it to a week-long audition where 400 individuals were auditioning for a music program with a traveling choral group. Only 16 spots were available. Robbie recalls, “It was very nerve racking. So, of course when I saw my name on the list, I was very rude and inconsiderate by hugging people who hadn’t made it. I was jumping and running around being happily silly and full of joy and zeal. Ah, the tides of youth.” Robbie has sung classical all over the world since that time, includinga with the London Symphony and at the High Mass at Florence, Italy’s Duomo
Robbie moved to San Francisco on September 1, 2012. Robbies says, “San Francisco has always been where I’ve wanted to live. I was just intimidated by how wonderful a place it is. And with being in my 40s, I finally said to myself, ‘How long am I going to wait to get my butt there?’ So I saved $5,000, quit my job, packed a truck and crossed my fingers. It was the best decision I ever made.”
Robbie’s musical influences are Al Jarreau, Laurie Anderson, the 5th Dimension, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, The Manhattan Transfer, Queen, and current artists such as Regina Spektor, Florence and the Machine, Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles. Robbie also currently sings with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and from time to time sings as Sister Rosemary Chicken at special events around the city. You can also hear Robbie sing on a couple of soundtrack recordings, radio jingles, spots in theme parks and even at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.
Robbie will be a featured performer on December 29 at Martuni’s for a fundraiser for the Ministry of Presence. Robbie will also be a headliner at the Kima Exclusive Entertainment Local Artist Concert Series, which debuts next year. For more information on Robbie Nothstine, aka Sister Rosemary Chicken, please visit www.facebook.com/SrRoseMarychicken.
Violinist Kippy Marks entertains audiences worldwide with his inspirational compositions and lively performances that
draw from classical, jazz, blues and dance. kippymarks.us