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Kenny Vance and the Planotones to play Casino in Vandergrift

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Kenny Vance and the Planotones

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Kenny Vance and the Planotones Up Close and Personal

What: Oldies concert presented by Rich DePaulis and Sam Farrella

When: 7:30 p.m. April 27

Admission: $32-$48

Where: Casino Theatre, Vandergrift

Details: 724-567-5000,,; ticket hot line: 724-567-5049, tickets also available online and at Pomfrets Paint and Variety, 149 Farragut Ave., Vandergrift

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Julie Martin
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A one-of-a-kind venue meets a one-of-a-kind act April 27 when the Casino Theatre plays host to Kenny Vance and the Planotones.

The oldies band aims its sights on fans of all ages when its members take to the stage at the Vandergrift venue.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are reportedly moving fast, and with its '50s- and '60s-inspired repertoire, virtuoso vocals and sophisticated stylings, the show is not one to miss, says Sam Ferrella.

Ferrella has teamed with Rich DePaulis of General Talent and Associates to bring the band to the Alle-Kiski Valley.

“They're a very unique group. There's no other group out there like them,” Ferrella says. “It's probably the top show in the country, as far as oldies right now.”

Besides being a top act today, Vance and his band have strong rock 'n' roll roots. Lead singer Vance, a New York native, is founder of the popular Jay and the Americans, which opened for the first U.S. shows of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

In addition, his professional background includes stints as musical director for “Saturday Night Live” and musical supervisor for films like “Animal House,” “Eddie and the Cruisers” and “Looking for an Echo.”

He has appeared in movies such as “Billy Bathgate” and numerous Woody Allen films.

The Planotones include Grammy-nominated musicians and those who have performed with everyone from Ray Charles to Tony Bennett to Little Richard.

“It's probably got the best harmonies going, and (Vance) gives a good, solid two-hour show,” Ferrella says. “The one at the Casino is going to be a good, up-close and personal show.”

It's a performance that will include two jam-packed sets and a question-and-answer session and the opportunity to get to know Vance as he shares his story.

That might be why, as Ferrella says, Vance and the Planotones have such a strong following.

Those followers seem happy to head to the Vandergrift's historic theater from far and wide to an area that Farrella calls a “hotbed for oldies.” According to him, concertgoers are coming from places like New York, West Virginia and Ohio.

“The ticket sales took off immediately,” says Marilee Kessler, vice-president of the nonprofit Casino Theatre Restoration and Management.

“Bringing in someone as successful as Kenny Vance, it's a definite benefit to the Casino.”

“It will help the Casino to let people know we're here. So, that's all good. It's a win-win situation for us.”

Based on what Farrella says, if the band returns to the Casino in the future, those who see him this time are certain to come back.

“Once people see him once, they become his followers,” he says.

Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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