Dolores ‘Del Rae’ Moskowitz
One of the first events the Musicians Guild of Columbia put together some years back was an evening with Del Rae hosted at the original Nickelodeon Theatre behind the State House. My wife and I attended and took our seats in a packed house. As with most of the attendees there with us that night we did not know what to expect as Del took center stage with her piano and microphone. The evening became a warm and personal journey with one incredibly talented woman as she shared stories, made us laugh, made us think, it was unlike anything I had ever really experienced in being entertained. My wife and I took time to speak with Del before leaving and she made us feel like the only three people in the building. She impressed and touched us both and although she is no longer with us I have this opportunity to showcase her life and music and to share with you what a talent this woman was and the music and inspiration she leaves to our state and her fellow artists.
Dolores “Del Rae” Talley Moskowitz
June 29, 1930 To April 13, 2012
Dolores ‘Del Rae’ Moskowitz began life in Montgomery, Alabama on June 29, 1930. She was the daughter of Henry Clinton Talley, II and Missie Del Trammell Talley. She was known as ‘Sister’ to her siblings Henry Clinton, II, Jacqueline Juliette and Favonia Faye. At an early age it was known that Dolores was not just an ordinary person destined for ordinary things. She began to sing almost as soon as she began to speak. Her mother said, “When Dolores went away with the church and we listened on the radio, I could hear her voice booming over the others. I knew that it was ‘Sister’ singing.” At 15, she was singing with the Willie Green Orchestra, performing throughout Alabama at USO shows.
There is no way to completely tell of all the lives Dolores touched. She was a school teacher, mentor and friend. She was the first African American female school patrol officer in Montgomery, Alabama. In the city of New York, she was a supervisor for the Department of Human Services in the Child Abuse and Neglect Department. When the heartache of seeing children in these sometimes excruciatingly misfortunate situations got to be too much for her, she resigned her position and followed her passion to serve others in the world of music. Del Rae sang all over the world from Belgium, France, Mexico, Canada to home in the United States. She has received many honors and tributes throughout the years, making her mark in the recording industry in 1974 when she was nominated for Grammy awards in five categories: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performer of the Year and Best Instrumental Composition.
Del and her husband, Cy Moskowitz, moved to Orangeburg in 1993, where she immediately became a staunch supporter of the community and its arts. She supported Orangeburg and surrounding communities with her musical talents, taking part in every festival, concert or production of any kind. For many years she did an annual benefit concert for the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, drawing full-house crowds from among her many local fans. She was listed among the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Artists-in-Residence, taking her experience and talent to students in schools throughout the state.
Del Rae, remained faithful to her family. She was a lifelong companion to Seymour L. Moskowitz and mother to Ronald, Robert, Valerie and Bruce. She was dedicated to her family. Even during her final battle, you could hear her saying more than once, “I’ve got to stay strong for my children. I don’t want them to see me weak. She was a fighter to the end. A great woman and a great talent she will always have my respect and admiration.