November 18, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Throughout 40 years of performing, Sharon Donovan has held a full-time day job and performed during evenings.
    Throughout 40 years of performing, Sharon Donovan has held a full-time day job and performed during evenings.

Sharon Donovan Is An Entertainment Queen

Aaron Rosa
Aaron Rosa's picture
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November 10, 2017

Sharon Donovan first took the stage at the age of 11.

In a long-gone dock bar in Green Haven, her grandmother used a jar of pickles to bribe her to sing an acoustic duet. “I cried, I was so scared to get up there and sing,” said Donovan.

After the performance, a tip jar was passed around and Donovan made $27. She considered it her first paying gig and was hooked.

“As a kid, I was always very shy and withdrawn,” she said. “When I got onstage, it was my couple minutes where people would see me.”

Far from shy now, Donovan talked about the impressive breadth of her career, from playing an endless circuit of American Legion halls to opening for Johnny Paycheck, best known for his song “Take This Job and Shove It,” and becoming the only female to front the Baltimore band Appaloosa.

Donovan’s ability to remain active in the entertainment business stems from her versatility. She has played in a band called Country Strangers and a wedding band called The New Romanos, dance music with Messenger, standards with a 25-piece orchestra, and now, with her husband, has started her own cover band called Sharon and the Edge.

Though established as a Maryland performer, Donovan maintains a grueling work ethic and a reputation for professionalism.

Throughout 40 years of performing, she has held a full-time day job and performed during evenings.

“I would get off work, drive to Ocean City, perform, drive home, take a nap, then go back to work,” she said.

Married for 14 years, her husband, John, joked that the secret to marital bliss is having opposite schedules.

The couple met while John was starting a karaoke business 25 years ago.

“John has supported me all these years no matter what band I was in, or what I was doing,” she said. “Even when I would travel, he was always there for me.”

And travel she did. Donovan has become an icon of Maryland music, playing thousands of venues over her 40-year singing career.

Last year, she was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame, a process that requires 30 years of performing in Maryland as a prerequisite for nomination.

The Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame has been recognized by the General Assembly for its work honoring entertainers who have had a significant impact on the evolution of culture in the state of Maryland.

Each year of performing has come as an unexpected gift to the Pasadena musician. “I never knew when singing would stop,” said Donovan.

With great candor, Donovan said she has no illusions that she will become a singing superstar, noting that the music industry is more concerned with younger entertainers.

“I’ve just been happy being the girl in the band,” she said with a smile.

Years of singing experience haven’t dampened the thrill of that first night performing in front of her family.

“I look forward to the singing, I look forward to the bands and seeing my family come out,” she said. “In fact, the only time I get nervous is when I have family in the audience.”


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