Bronx, NY—The 2015 concert season at the Lehman Center Concert Hall will begin on Saturday night, January 24 with a Doo Wop spectacular. The 2,300 seat theater on the campus of Lehman College on Bedford Park Boulevard has been the site of an eclectic series of performances of world-class entertainers for the past 35 years.
Sixty years ago, groups of teenagers harmonized on Bronx street corners. On January 24, two of these vocal groups of that era will be performing on the stage of the elegant concert hall in the West Bronx.
As the decades have passed, the original members of the vocal groups that popularized Doo Wop harmony in the 1950’s and 1960’s have shrunk in number due to the natural attrition of mortality. Thus, the Bronx audience will have the opportunity to see a founding member of their hometown, legendary vocal groups.
Angelo D’Aleo was one of the original trio named the Belmonts, after one of the streets in their Bronx neighborhood, Belmont Avenue. The teenagers, who attended Theodore Roosevelt High School, made their first recording, “Teenage Clementine” in 1957. In the following year, the trio became a quartet with the addition of a neighborhood youngster, Dion DeMucci.
The group with their new leader singer recorded several hits including “I Wonder Why” and “A Teenager in Love”. In 1960, they broke with Dion over artistic differences. The trio had several hits like “Where or When” and “Come on Little Angel” during the next few years. The current group includes two long-time members, Warren Gradus (1963) and Dan Elliott (1974).
The lead voice of the other local vocal group, Larry Chance, was born in Philadelphia, but moved with his family to the Bronx when he was a teenager. He soon formed a Bronx vocal group called the Hi-Hatters, later changed to the Earls. “Remember Then” in 1962 was the first and the biggest seller of the group. Their emotional rendition of “I Believe” is a very much requested favorite. More than 50 years after he moved to the Bronx, Chance received the Bronx’s biggest honor, having his name inscribed on the Bronx Walk of Fame.
Barbara Harris is still the lead singer of her group, the Toys. Like Chance, Harris was born elsewhere, North Carolina, but moved to Queens as child with her family. The biggest seller of the talented and versatile singer, “A Lover’s Concerto” was based on a classical minuet.
The other three acts on the bill do not include any original members but the vocal quality and arrangements are reminiscent of the original hit recordings so often heard. The Platters were formed in 1952 in Los Angeles, and sold more than 50 million records. The group was the biggest selling vocal group in the 1950’s. The group has dozens of songs on the charts including four that reached #1, “The Great Pretender”, “My Prayer”, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Twilight Time”. It is likely most of the four will be sung during the show in January.
A decade after the founding of the Platters, a vocal group, the Duprees, formed in nearby Jersey City. Their style of singing and arrangements were a continuation of that heard in pop music in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. The group’s biggest hits included “My Own True Love:, “Have You Heard” and “You Belong to Me”.
The familiar and very popular tunes of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be
performed by Ragdoll, a Four Seasons tribute band.
Tickets priced at $55, $50 and $45 cab be purchased by calling the box office at 718-960-8833 or at the website www.LehmanCenter.org