Singer booked in for US concerts

Hartlepool jazz singer Gina Pontoni, photographed at Navigation Point on Hartlepool Marina for etc magazine.
Hartlepool jazz singer Gina Pontoni, photographed at Navigation Point on Hartlepool Marina for etc magazine.

A SINGER who is days away from her big comeback has clinched a deal to perform in America.

Gina Pontoni, 45, will perform to a probable sell-out audience of 480 people on Friday at the Borough Hall, Hartlepool.

But even bigger shows await her when she heads for Florida early next year.

It marks a remarkable turnaround for Gina, of Hartlepool, who was told she may never sing again after a car accident in 2004 in which she broke nine ribs, shattered her right leg in 30 places, punctured a lung and smashed her skull.

She fought back by painfully re-building her vocal cords with the help of a coach.

Her bravery and hard work will be rewarded on Friday when she will perform at the Borough Hall to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

There was more good news for Gina who received an email from a woman in America asking if she would like to perform over there.

Gina said: “I am going to do three concerts in St Augustine, Florida, in February.

“The woman was a contact I had kept in touch with and I told her about my show at the Borough Hall. She owns a theatre and asked me to come and perform. It’s fantastic.”

The popular performer was singing to audiences in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New York before her life was shattered in 2004.

Gina had been out with her friend when her car was involved in an accident on the M61 in Lancashire. Witnesses said her vehicle spun around in the air three times before landing on its roof.

Gina spent two weeks in the intensive care unit of a Bolton hospital and pulled through. But her injuries included a lump on her throat which was too deep to operate and doctors gave her a 10 per cent chance of singing again.

She did, but three years later doctors diagnosed a serious erosion of her vocal cords and told her she might have to quit the profession she loved.

Gina then turned to a vocal coach and eventually recovered.

Her amazing recovery culminates in Friday’s show. Doors open at 7.30pm and all proceeds will go to the BHF research programme, Mending Broken Hearts.

Only a handful of tickets remain for the evening which will be a Las Vegas-style supper club with candlelit tables.

Tickets costing £15 for the stalls and £12.50 for the circle are available by contacting (01429) 279886 or (01429) 269695.