Dances, concert will lead Mon Valley oldies buffs down Memory Lane
Three icons of the national entertainment scene will highlight a busy schedule for oldies aficionados in the mid-Monongahela Valley in the coming weeks.
The lineup includes concert promoter, author and Pittsburgh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rich Engler; Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners, one of the enduring groups in recording history, and legendary disc jockey Porky Chedwick.
The journeys to yesteryear include an All Oldies, Only Oldies dance from 8 p.m. to midnight April 5 at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department's community social center.
Engler will be a special guest at that event and will present a pre-dance program at 7:30. He also will be available for autographs and photos. Copies of his autobiography, “Behind The Stage Door: A Promoter's Life Behind The Scenes,” will be on sale, with portions of the proceeds going to the Cancer Caring Center.
Memorabilia from Engler's 40-plus years as a major concert promoter in Pittsburgh will be on display and will include classic guitars from such artists as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Bon Jovi, James Brown and Smokey Robinson.
Engler was honored as the first inductee into the Pittsburgh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ceremonies Jan. 21 at the Hard Rock Cafe at Station Square.
Disc jockey Ralph Trilli, co-host of Cruisin' Sunday on WJPA, will provide music from the 1950s and early 1960s.
Admission to the BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything, food and beverages) is $10 and tables of eight or more are available. Previous dances over the past six years have drawn more than 500 people.
“It appears that we will have another sellout, but a limited number of tickets is available,” said Al Marcy, first assistant fire chief and entertainment chairman at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department.
Reservations and additional information are available at 724-330-5002.
Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners will headline “A Blast From the Past” show April 11 at the Charleroi Area High School auditorium.
The benefit is sponsored by the Charleroi Area School District Education Foundation, which provides student scholarships, teacher grants and other programs.
“We are very delighted to present The Skyliners for this special journey down memory lane,” said Carol Claybaugh, vice president of the Education Foundation. “They are synonymous with quality and their repertoire of songs incudes some of the biggest hits of the 1950s and '60s.”
The Skyliners are perhaps best known for their national hit “Since I Don't Have You” in 1959. Among their other signature songs are “This I Swear” and “Pennies From Heaven.” Lead singer Jimmy Beaumont is a founder of the group and is joined by current members Donna Groom, Nick Pociask and Frank Czuri.
Tickets for the show, which begins at 7 p.m., are $50 for VIP seating, $35 for reserved seats and $25 for general admission. They may be purchased by calling Claybaugh at 724-483-7075 or Tom Nutting at 724-984-5510 or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope with checks made payable to CASDEF to CASDEF, Box 382, Charleroi, PA 15022.
Complementing the performance by The Skyliners will be appearances by “Elvis” (Jamie Harris), Billy Hartung and the Hooligan Brothers Band and Joey Papadakos. Disc jockey Frankie Day of WKFB will be the master of ceremonies.
Porky in New Eagle
The Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce will present a “Community Oldies” dance from 7 to11 p.m. April 26 at the New Eagle Volunteer Fire Department's social center.
Porky Chedwick is scheduled as a special guest at the event.
“Porky is truly an icon of the music and entertainment businesses in Pittsburgh and beyond,” said Dorothea Pemberton, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “We are thrilled that he will be returning to the area and joining us for the dance.”
Chedwick's career in radio, dances and concerts spans nearly 70 years. His record hops of the 1950s and 1960s were among the largest ever in western Pennsylvania and beyond. He is the only Pittsburgh broadcaster to be honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Longtime disc jockey Bill Lemon of Disc Inferno will provide music from the '50s and '60s at the April 26 affair.
“And we always take requests,” said Lemon, who has been performing at dances, class reunions, wedding receptions and special events for over 35 years in the area and elsewhere around the country. “I'm certainly looking forward to working with Porky Chedwick at New Eagle. He has been such an integral part of our lives for so many years.”
Pemberton said Lemon is a “perfect fit” for the dance.
“Bill has an extensive of music from all eras and genres,” she said. “He has extensive experience in this profession that is complemented by his knowledge of the music and an outgoing personality that makes the crowds feel at home.”
Tickets for the dance at New Eagle are $15 per person and a cash bar will be offered. Additional information is available at 724-258-5919 or www.monongahelaareachamber.org.
Proceeds will benefit the myriad community events sponsored by the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce.
The most recent Oldies event at the New Eagle site was a Valentine's dance on Feb. 15 featuring Pure Gold. It drew more than 400 people. “There's no question that the oldies span the ages and remain so popular today,” Pemberton said.
A St. Patrick's Dinner-Dance will be held March 15 at the Charleroi Elks with DJ Ralph Trilli providing the music. Doors will open at 6 p.m., a buffet dinner will be served at 6:30 and dancing will begin at 7:30. Admission is $15 and reservations are required.
Trilli will return to the Charleroi Elks on April 12 for a pre-Easter dinner-dance with the same time format as the March 8 affair. Tickets are $15 each and reservations are required.
Additional information about the dances at the Elks is available at 724-483-4727 after 4 p.m. or 412-881-7223.
Dances featuring Trilli also are scheduled March 29 and April 19 — both from 7 to 11 p.m. — at the Sons of Italy social hall in Perryopolis. Admission is $10.
The events at the Elks and the Sons of Italy will feature oldies, pop music and line dancing.
Ron Paglia is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.