wilkie_web.jpgMIAMI — Patricia Harper-Garrett wants a second chance at a singing career. She started performing at age 10 but got sidetracked by life. Reluctant parents, college, marriage and a 35-year career with Miami-Dade Public School Systems put what Harper-Garrett calls a “bump in my singing career.”

Now nearly 70 and 11 years retired, she has starting singing again. Harper-Garrett is a part of the lineup of the variety show, Film Side, put on by the Dade County Chapter of The Links Inc.

“The desires of your heart can come in your latter days in life,” said Harper-Garrett. “Since I retired I have been singing on shows and I am so excited about shows like Flip Side. I am able to become that person I was at 17 and I love it. I have also won a few talent shows since I retired. This gives me a chance to hit the stage again and become another person.”

In Flip Side, some of South Florida’s most recognizable and well-known professionals and civic leaders, will show off their talents, showing a “flip side” of themselves.

It’s the show to hear Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, the Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson and Miami to Go owner Carole Ann Taylor sing; the place to laugh at jokes told by Lina Michelle Davis, a retired Miami-Dade County employee; and the forum to see consumer electronics specialist Julia Figuerola perform ballet and others. Harper-Garrett is the co-author of Images of America: Miami’s Richmond

Heights and she is the Florida Democratic Committeewoman for precinct 802. The Links got the idea for Flip Side from a similar variety show presentation started by Indiana medical professionals back in 1985.

The local links made the show their own by including various professions and what it calls a unique attraction of special guest stars.

“We are so excited about the Flip Side,” said chapter president Cynthia Clarke. “Not only will we get the opportunity to see a side of friends and colleagues that we rarely see, but we’ll have fun doing it while raising money to help students pursue the dream of a college education and continue our programming initiatives in the community. You really can’t ask for much more.”

The Links has even tapped the talents of nationally-recognized artists, who are related to local professionals. Wilkie D. Ferguson III and Afra Hines will be the special guest artists at the “Flip Side.”

Ferguson has starred on Broadway in smash hit productions such as Wonderland, Porgy and Bess and most recently, Motown the Musical. He is the son of former Miami-Dade County Commissioner and member of the Dade County Chapter of The Links Inc. Betty Ferguson and the late Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr.

Hines is an actress and dancer who has appeared on stage and in movies. Her movie credits include Smash, Mozart in the Jungle, and the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire, where she plays an Onyx Club dancer. She is the granddaughter of Miami Herald columnist Bea L. Hines.

Proceeds from the event will help support the Dade County Chapter of The Links Inc. scholarship fund and community programming such as its successful Lean Forward with Mentoring initiative and partnership with Florida Memorial University. 

“It promises to be a great night of entertainment, and we hope to raise a lot of money to help high school students as well as Florida Memorial University students pursue their dream of a college education. Hopefully, we can make this an event that the community will look forward to for years to come.”