2006-07-14 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

The 50's return to Rockaway as we present our "second" concert of the season (our first one being rained out) this Sunday, July 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Ft. Tilden. This year our Leon S. Locke Memorial Concert, "A Tribute To Musical Legends," will feature the group Tangerine, and their tribute to the music of Louie Prima & Keely Smith. Also appearing is Bobby Darin in the person of Carl Thomas and the group Playground as Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

Anyone who is old enough remembers Louie Prima & Keely Smith from their many television appearances. There was Louie jumping all over the stage and Keely, with her long jet-black hair and bangs, looking at him with her blank stare as though he was crazy. They were a unique duo and great fun to watch and they made great music together. Well, Louie and Keely are going to be here in Rockaway in the persons of Stan Zizka and Edie Van Buren as part of Tangerine and you are in for a fun evening with them.

Stan Zizka was the original lead singer of The Del Satins and to quote their press material, "had a career that most people only dream about." The Del Satins were noticed by Dion Dimucci of Dion & The Belmonts, and while they made many of their own records, they also worked with The Belmonts. When Dion went out on his own, The Del Satins were chosen to be his background singers. Thirteen hits with Dion has put Stan in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Today Stan, along with Edie, Charlie Aiello and Bobby Venice, make up Tangerine.

Edie Van Buren has been singing professionally for over twenty years. She has been with Tangerine and The Del Satins for fifteen years and because of her versatility in performing, Edie can bring her interpretation of Keely Smith to life.

As you will see tonight, Edie is an all-around performer. She has worked in community theatre and will also sing at your wedding if needed.

Charlie Aiello is one of the founding members of Tangerine and he and Stan Zizka have been together for over 30 years both with Tangerine and The Del Satins. His versatility on bass guitar and electronic synthesizers creates a "live" sound which is like no other.

If you remember, when Louie & Keely performed, there was also a third person who stood out in their group and that was Sam Butera of Sam Butera & The Witnesses. Well, Sam will come to life in the person of Bobby Venice. Bobby's interpretation of Sam Butera is not to be missed.

Bobby Darin was one of my favorites and his rendition of "Mack The Knife" is still very popular today. Can you just see Bobby standing there snapping his fingers to the music? Bobby will come to life in the person of Carl Thomas. Carl has been singing most of his life but the last few years have found him in Atlantic City and Las Vegas as well as The Westbury Music Fair and Foxwoods Casino as an opening act for Jackie Mason, Pat Cooper and Joan Rivers. Carl's popularity has risen with his impersonation of Bobby Darin and he has headlined at The Copa Room at The Sands in Atlantic City as "Strictly Darin." Carl is a graduate of The Juilliard School in Manhattan and in addition to his Bobby Darin performances he has appeared in many concert halls. Starting as a drummer in junior high school, Carl Thomas has earned a fine reputation in the music business.

Broadway's "Jersey Boys," is the story of Franki Valli & The Four Seasons. If you watched The Tony Awards on television a few weeks ago, you know that the show and the music won many Tonys that evening. Well, we don't have the Jersey Boys with us today but we do have Franki Valli & The Four Seasons in the person of Playground, a name synonymous with good music.

The versatility of Playground is incredible. They play rock, top 40, disco and music of the 50's and 60's. They have appeared on television, in concert halls, clubs and resorts and have made albums as well as CD's. The group members are Vic DeFilippi, Dave Rosado, Hector Rosado, Richard Rosado, Steve Ippolito and Frank Cirigliano. Their "Four Seasons In Review" has been hailed by concert promoters, DJs and audiences as the best impersonation of Franki Valli & The Four Seasons in the entire country. Playground is no "new kid on the block," as this October they will be celebrating their 43rd anniversary together.

As I mentioned above, our 50's concert every year is in memory of Leon Locke, who was the publisher of The Wave and a member of the RMAC Board. If it had been up to Leon we would have had five rock concerts each season; he just loved the music and he could probably tell you something about every group of that era and sing some of the songs as well.

I can remember on many occasions going to The Wave office and finding Leon sitting on his stool in the front window and all you had to do was mention any 50's group and Leon was off and singing. Leon was a great guy with a font of information and I personally miss him. For many years a group of us would get together on New Year's Eve for dinner and then end up back at Susan and Leon's home to ring in the New Year. It was good fun and Susan and Leon were great hosts.

As I started this column by saying this should be our second concert because the first one was washed out by the rain, please keep your fingers crossed that Sunday the sun will be shining brightly. It was very unfortunate that we could not hold the first concert even though a rain location is shown on our flyers. Due to overcrowding of groups in Ft. Tilden, our locations were given away and there was nothing we could do. We do apologize to everyone who called and came to the park. We hope we can make it up to you today.

Your membership in the RMAC helps with the funding of these concerts and we hope, if you are not already a member, you will see me at the park and pick up a membership application. A full year's membership is less than one concert anywhere in the city.

See you at the concert.

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