Plans advance for New Eagle VFD-hosted tribute to 'Porky' Chedwick
Preparations continue to move into high gear for a memorial tribute to the late legendary disc jockey George “Porky” Chedwick on Saturday, April 26, at the New Eagle Volunteer Fire Department's social center.
“Everything is falling into place, the plans are advancing well,” said Bill Lemon, Disco Inferno DJ, who is coordinating the commemorative program with Dorothea Pemberton, executive director of the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce. “It promises to be a very special night as we honor the memory and legacy of a true icon of the broadcasting and entertainment professions.”
The tribute to Chedwick, who died March 2 at age 96, will highlight the April 26 Community Oldies Dance sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Chedwick, whose career spanned nearly 70 years, was scheduled to be a special guest at the event. Interest in the memorial tribute and the dance has grown considerably, Lemon said.
“Dorothea said we are getting requests for tickets from people throughout the Mon Valley, western Pennsylvania and even out of state,” he said.
Lemon also confirmed that Chedwick's wife, Jeanie, will attend as “a very special guest.”
“We are extremely pleased that Jeanie will be with us,” Lemon said. “Porky and Jeanie were here (at the New Eagle venue) in the past, and Porky said they always had a great time.”
A half-the-take drawing will be held at the April 26 affair, and half the proceeds will be donated to the Porky Chedwick Memorial Trust Fund, Lemon said. All contributions to that endeavor must be sent directly to the Porky Chedwick Memorial Trust Fund, c/o Dollar Bank, 700 Towne Square Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15227.
Lemon also said an “open invitation” is being extended to all area disc jockeys and oldies groups to take part and “share their memories of Porky and what he meant to them over the years.”
Others who have been invited are Eugene Pitt, founder and lead singer of The Jive Five, one of the top groups of the 1950s and '60s; Pure Gold, one of the nation's most popular oldies groups; and Jimmy Ross, founder and lead singer of The Jaggerz and also a member of Pure Gold.
Pure Gold headlined a Valentine's dance in February that drew a capacity crowd at the New Eagle Firemen's social center. They also shared the spotlight with Pitt at the final Roots of Rock and Roll show at the Benedum in Pittsburgh in February, and Chedwick was a special guest at that event.
“All of the music will be what has become known as Porky's music, the songs he brought to our attention with his unique style,” Lemon said. “We are dedicating the night to Porky.”
Proceeds will benefit the myriad community events sponsored by the Monongahela area Chamber of Commerce.
Chedwick's career in radio at WHOD, WAMO and other stations in Pittsburgh, dances and concerts spanned nearly 70 years. His record hops of the 1950s and '60s 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.
One of Chedwick's last personal appearances was as a special meet-and-greet guest at the All Oldies, Only Oldies dance Nov. 9, 2013, at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department's social center. The firemen presented a commemorative plaque to Chedwick in recognition of his long and distinguished career.
“He was truly an icon for so many years,” Lemon said. “He influenced the lives of thousands upon thousands of people.”
Ron Paglia is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.