Doo Wop show continues long-standing tradition
Doo-wop music evokes the same warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feelings as a Norman Rockwell painting, and ties Americans to their customs and roots, says singer Kenny Vance.
“It connects us to our customs. In this country, a lot of people have abandoned customs,” Vance says. He and his Planotones will be playing at Consol Energy Center on Friday along with seven other classic acts for the annual Doo Wop Holiday Reunion Show XI.
“Doo-wop is really the music of America; it's Americana,” Vance says.
The standing December date for Pittsburgh's doo-wop show enhances the feeling of the music, because doo-wop and Christmas music go hand in hand, Vance says. Many decades-old Christmas carols, such as “I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas,” have well-known doo-wop versions. Vance recalls listening to Christmas music by Bing Crosby and the like as a kid.
“To me, they are interconnected, because they connect you to what's truly American,” Vance says. He and his band recently put out a Christmas album, “Mr. Santa,” with 14 songs, including three originals.
Doo-wop shows continue to attract a big following of senior citizens and members of the younger generation, Vance says.
“Fifty years later, I can attest to the fact that, wherever we go, the crowds are as big as ever,” he says. “Their passion and love for this music is unabated. It's as strong as it ever was.”
Doo-wop shows aren't evenly popular throughout the country, Vance says. Pittsburgh is one of the biggest markets for this type of music, because people here seem to appreciate nostalgia and history.
“I really wish more cities were like Pittsburgh,” he says. People are “connected to the things that are mostly important. You really do get that feeling from Pittsburgh. Other cities, they want to be hip. ... They have gotten away from the ‘Norman Rockwell' aspect of things.
“There's something about Pittsburgh that's connected to the old world,” Vance says. “That's why (doo-wop is) so popular in Pittsburgh and not so popular in Dallas and Phoenix. ... The other cities don't have that historical significance.”
Sadly, Vance is living in a hotel after losing his home on Rockaway Beach, N.Y., to Superstorm Sandy in October. He had lived in the house for 38 years, and his collection of vinyl records was destroyed, along with his house's other belongings. Vance was performing on a cruise when the storm hit.
“I don't even have a coat or shoes; I just had what was on my back,” he says. “There are no words to describe it. That's all I can tell you. I'm in shock from it.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- James Taylor coming to Consol on Nov. 29
- Pittsburgh Symphony performance gives new meaning to ‘comedy classic(al)’
- The Who bringing ‘final’ tour to Consol Energy Center
- Bluegrass jam sessions bring out all types of musicians, fans
- DVD reviews: ‘The Giver,’ ‘The Expendables 3’ and ‘What If’
- Symphony’s ‘Music for the Spirit’ uplifts and exhilarates
- North Hills native survives another week on ‘The Voice’
- Jane Monheit swings in tribute to Judy Garland