2007-06-15 / Community

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

by Sharon Gabriel

It's hard to believe that next Sunday, June 24 will begin another Sunset Picnic Concert Series at Ft. Tilden.

As you know, each concert begins at 6 p.m. and this year we are beginning with something new. "A Night at the Copa" will somewhat recreate the type of show that you would see at the old Copacabana Night Club in Manhattan for so many years. The only thing missing will be the "Copa Girls." I thought maybe I could get some of our RMAC ladies to kick up their heels on the stage, but I was roundly turned down. I wonder why?

The show will feature The Summer Wind Orchestra and our old friend, Frank Sinatra, in the persons of Jerry Cardone and Jack Fontana.

Cardone has appeared at our concerts several times and is a great favorite. His interpretation of Sinatra's music is uncanny. You almost feel that "old blue eyes" is really with us. Cardone has appeared at The Waldorf-Astoria and The Plaza Hotel and at thousands of concerts throughout the country. From his hairstyle (Sinatra's) to his tuxedo, he is the epitome of style and class.

Fontana is a multi-talented performer. He is a comedian, impressionist, musician, singer and actor. He has appeared at many of the hotels in the "Borscht Belt" from The Concord, to Brown's, to The Raleigh and Grossinger's, and from the Trump Hotels, to Showboat and Claridge's in Atlantic City. In addition to all of these, he is well-known for having performed at many charity events, including the American Heart Association, the American Kidney Fund and the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Fontana began as a musician and singer. He decided, after several years of traveling with a 10-piece orchestra in three buses and doing one-nighters, that it was more than he wanted to do. As a musician, he was a drummer. His most cherished moment was when he opened for his idol, drummer, Buddy Rich.

He began his comedy career while behind the drums where he would tell stories and jokes when he realized the audience loved it. He decided to give up traveling with an orchestra and become a comedian. He was an instant hit and the rest is history.

However, if his arm is twisted, he may just get behind the drums at our concert. As I mentioned above, he appeared in many of the hotels in the mountains and got there by driving buses of seniors to the hotels. Once there, he changed into his tux and appeared on stage. The people from the bus never caught on. One thing I like about Fontana is that he does a "clean" show, which is a rarity. This show is something you can take the kids to see.

Fontana was born in Brooklyn and now lives on Long Island with his wife. As he says, he's a real homebody and loves the free days when he can be home and visit with his children and grandchildren, fix and repair things around the house and just relax.

This is the first time we have done this type of show and we're sure you will like it, so please join us for another season of concerts.

Your membership contributions help fund these concerts, as well as our other events. I hope you will stop by our table at the concert, to say hello and become a member.

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