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Engler extends memorabilia for oldies dance at Stockdale

Rich Engler enjoyed a successful appearance at the annual Home and Garden Show in Pittsburgh with the guitar and memorabilia display he will be presenting April 5, 2014, at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department’s social center.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

There's still time to get tickets for the April 5 “All Oldies, Only Oldies” dance at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department's social center.

But not much.

“It appears we're going to have another sellout,” said Al Marcy, first assistant chief and entertainment chairman at the SVFD. “There is a limited number of tickets remaining and it would be a good idea to call as soon as possible to make reservations.”

The dance will run from 8 p.m. to midnight and will feature disc jockey Ralph Trilli, co-host of Cruisin' Sunday on WJPA in Washington, providing music from the 1950s and early '60s.

Tickets for the BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything – food and beverages) affair are $10 per person and tables of eight or more are available. Seating will be limited to 600 and reservations can be made by calling 724-330-5002.

The fire department will provide free refreshments (not pop).

“Several large groups of regular patrons including one with 50 and another with 30 have made reservations again,” Marcy said. “And the calls have been coming in from such places as Virginia, Sewickley, Green Tree, McKeesport, Greensburg, Washington and the South Hills as well as throughout the Mon Valley.”

Rich Engler, longtime concert promoter, author and the first inductee in the Pittsburgh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will be a special guest at the April 5 dance.

Engler will present a pre-dance program at 7:30 and will then be available for autographs and photos. Copies of his autobiography, “Behind The Stage Door: A Promoter's Life Behind The Scenes” (Music Works, $25.95) will be on sale (cash or credit card), with portions of the proceeds going to the Cancer Caring Center, which provides free services to cancer patients.

Memorabilia from Engler's 40-plus years in the entertainment profession will be on display at the Stockdale social center and will include an expanded exhibit of autographed guitars from the Everly Brothers, Temptations, Four Tops and Beach Boys and Little Richard.

These will be in addition to previously announced guitars signed by The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Bon Jovi, James Brown and Smokey Robinson.

Also featured in the display will be pictures, posters and newspaper stories.

“We have received very favorable response to these displays,” said Engler, whose most recent exhibits have been part of the Home and Garden show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh and a community event in Johnstown. “People simply love the idea of holding a guitar that was played by someone like Bo Diddley or Bob Dylan. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this concept to Stockdale. I have heard such great things about the original record hops there in the 1950s and 1960s and the All Oldies, Only Oldies dances of the past six years.”

Engler will be making his April 5 appearance at Stockdale fresh from an exhibit at the University of Pittsburgh that runs through April 2.

Engler, a native of Creighton and a graduate of East Deer Frazier High School, began booking concerts at theaters and colleges in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York in the late 1960s. In a move to graduate to larger venues he joined forces in 1973 with another Pittsburgh promoter, Pat DiCesare, for form DiCesare-Engler Productions, which became one of the most respected and successful concert promotion teams in the United States.

DiCesare-Engler presented some of the best and most popular acts in the world at Pittsburgh venues including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, Madonna, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, AC/DC and Genesis.

DiCesare-Engler Productions was sold in 1998 but Engler, a resident of Sewickley Heights in Allegheny County, remains busy, on a limited basis, as a promoter and music producer.

His autobiography offers a personal and poignant reminiscence of his career.

Engler's success and influence on the entertainment industry was recognized on Jan. 23 when he became the first inductee in the Pittsburgh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, created by the Hard Rock Café and the Cancer Caring Center. The award was presented at a gala at the Hard Rock Café in Pittsburgh by Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

The Stockdale dance will be a reunion of sorts for Engler and Marcy, who were neighbors in Creighton and classmates at East Deer Frazier High School.

“Rich was a couple of years ahead of me in school but he was always very friendly and outgoing,” Marcy recalled. “Like everyone who grew up in our area in that era, we enjoyed going to (disc jockey) Bob Livorio's record hops in New Kensington and Tarentum and listening to his radio show. Anyone who knew Rich sensed that he was a go-getter and would succeeed in the (entertainment) business. It will be great to see him again; just like old times.”

Which is what the “All Oldies, Only Oldies” dances at Stockdale are all about.

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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