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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Experience Legendary Doo Wop Artists for Free!

August 1, 2008

In the mid 1950s, the Doo Wop genre emerged from the streets of northeastern cities. Disadvantaged Philadelphia youth who could not afford instruments used their own instruments — their voices — to make music. Their playful yet passionate style of nonsense syllables evolved into an intricate class of group harmony that delivered some of the most popular hits of its time. On Saturday, August 9, 2008 from 1:00-7:00 p.m., Penn’s Landing Corporation proudly celebrates this historic, charming genre in its birthplace at the Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival. Visit the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, located on Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street, for a rare opportunity to hear some of the greatest names in Doo Wop for FREE during this fabulous event produced by the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Education Center.

While entrance into the Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival is free, donations will be accepted for the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Education Center. This non-profit organization aims to provide employment, training, and related educational services to all facets of the community, especially Veterans, regardless of their station in life. In addition, they offer social and human services counseling and referrals to less fortunate clients experiencing barriers in finding their way back into the mainstream of society.

The Philadelphia Doo Wop Festival featured talent:

 JIMMY BEAUMONT AND THE SKYLINERS THE CONTINENTALS BILLY CARLUCCI OF BILLY AND THE ESSENTIALS BILLY HARNER (THE HUMAN PERCULATOR) CORNERSTONE FEATURING GOLDEN VOICE HARRY REUNION STREET CORNER FIVE NOW AND THEN THE NORRISTONES KING AUTHOR AND HIS CROWN SOUNDS 

JIMMY BEAUMONT AND THE SKYLINERS

Headlining this exciting concert is one of the best harmony groups of all time, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners. Named for jazz orchestra leader Charlie Barnett’s theme song “Skyliner,” this band has been instrumental in establishing and preserving the Doo Wop genre. The group originated when legendary producer Joe Rock combined two harmony groups — The Crescents (Jimmy Beaumont, Wally Lester, and Jack Taylor) and The El Rios (Joe Versharen and Janet Vogel) to form a pop powerhouse. Over the course of their long, remarkable career, this group frequented “American Bandstand,” produced a stream of chart-topping singles, and contributed memorable movie soundtrack music to “Lethal Weapon,”"La Bamba,” and “American Grafitti,” to name a few. Tired of being on the road, Lester and Versharem retired in 1976 and in 1980, Vogel died tragically of carbon monoxide poisoning in her car. With its current lineup, bass Nick Pociask, baritone and second tenor, Dick Muse, first tenor and Donna Groom, and of course, Jimmy Beaumont, the group has continued to honor the integrity of the Doo Wop genre while exploring new avenues. For their incredible talent, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners were inducted into the Vocal Hall of Fame in 2002.

THE CONTINENTALS

The Continentals “Dear Lord” record exploded upon release in October of 1956 after lead singer Danny Hicks landed a contract with Bobby Robinson. By the end of 1956 The Continentals had forty songs more in their repertoire than the ten they began with. Eventually the group dispersed, but two shining members went on to serve their country and BOTH became generals. Buddy Payne went on to become a Brigadier General in the reserves and Peanut Jones rose to Brigadier in the Army. Lead singer Danny Hicks has remained in show business, singing with the Keystones, the Paragons, and the Fantastics. Now they come together to perform at Penn’s Landing.

BILLY CARLUCCI (BILLY & THE ESSENTIALS)

Billy & The Essentials began when Peter Torres heard Billy Carlucci singing in front of their high school in Southwest Philly. Carlucci was invited by Torres to join a singing group including, Mike Lenihan and John Caulfield, thus birthing Billy & The Essentials. In 1962, the group recorded hit songs such as “Maybe You’ll Be There,”"Over The Weekend,” and “The Dance Is Over.” The group has performed among top artists including Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Dee Dee Sharp and Neil Diamond.

BILL HARNER (THE HUMAN PERCULATOR)

Legendary Bill Harner grew up in Pine Hill, New Jersey in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Harner was dubbed “The Human Perculator” when others discovered his strong voice and energy-packed stage performances. He landed his first pro gig at the age of six at the Avalon Yacht club on the Jersey shore. Harner has led a hit strewn career signing with various top labels including Kama Sutra of the MGM & Paramount Records and the famous Cameo Parkway Record Company. He was the first white artist signed by Atlantic Records and was one of only a few white entertainers to take part in the Martin Luther King Freedom March. Like a combination of the late great James Brown and Mick Jagger, his live performances are nothing short of electrifying.

CORNERSTONE (FEATURING GOLDEN VOICE HARRY)

Cornerstone is a group of five gentlemen with deep roots in the original Philly Doo Wop scene. Lead singer Harry Schmidt is a local Philadelphia legend nicknamed “The Golden Voice.” Some of their hits include “When I Woke Up This Morning,”"Gloria My Love,” and “Have You No Heart.”

STREET CORNER FIVE

Philadelphia-based Street Corner Five is an a cappella group specializing in singing music of the 1950s and early 1960s. They started in 1959 as five kids in Kensington harmonizing together. When they reunited in the early 80s a few members wanted to continue singing and thus began Street Corner Five in 1983.

NOW AND THEN

From New Rochelle, New York, Now and Then is a remarkable high school group. Brian Angarola, Ross Benoliel, Jefferson Exinor and Michael Piedmont have all performed in Switzerland, England, France, Austria, Germany, Italy and Holland. They have also made an appearance at the West Coast A Cappella Summit. Together they have produced a self titled album featuring songs including “Happy Days,”"The Longest Time,”"Donna,” and “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight.”

THE NORRISTONES

The Norristones were organized in 1999 and since have entertained locally throughout the tri-state area. This group of five are all natives of the Philadelphia region. Anthony Clementi is a Norristown High School Graduate. Musical Director Mark Pastor is a graduate of Northeast High School and Temple University. John Jones has been on the A Cappella scene for over 35 years. He is an original member of “The Omega 5 Maestros.” Ron Selix who currently resides in West Conshohocken has performed with David Bay and Tom Bell. From 1972 through 1975 Andy Petruzelli, along with his wife Cheryl sang leads for a top 40 band known as Interlude. He and his family formed a very successful disc jockey and live entertainment business known as Starburst Entertainment. Petruzelli is the newest member of the group, joining in 2006.

The Music Preservation Award will be presented to Lou Costello of Cruisin’ 92.1, WVLT and King Arthur of WCAM in Camden, NJ. Costello has been entertaining people throughout the Delaware Valley for three decades on Cruisin’ 92.1, WVLT. He has worked with artist such as Frankie Avalon and The Duprees. King Arthur has been working in radio since the late 1960s. He has gone on to TV hosting “The South Philadelphia Talent Workshop” and appeared as the “Fan Man” on KYW-TV3 with Ron Luck in Philadelphia. Now these two veterans of radio and torch carriers of Doo Wop will be honored in grateful recognition of outstanding service and dedication to this alternative form of music.

Special guest appearances include radio personality Harvey Holiday from WOGL 98.1 FM. Honoree of the evening, Lou Costello will attend and likely join the legions of dancers on the dance floor as he is known to do. Philadelphia’s very own Frank Lafaro who began his career on 49th Street in West Philadelphia joins the festival. “Philadelphia’s favorite son” Timmy Kelly will also perform. Kelly, who faces challenges from mild cerebral palsy and retinopathy of prematurity, sang the National Anthem at the start of the Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles. In addition to these special guests, Ed Marra will perform a tribute to Buddy Holly and Jack Enea will perform “Red White and Blue.”

Public Programming at Penn’s Landing would not be possible without our presenting sponsor Independence Blue Cross and the continued support of PECO, Bank of America, Pennsylvania Lottery, Live Nation and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, all of whom are committed to serving the Greater Philadelphia community.

Penn’s Landing Corporation is the non-profit organization responsible for funding and producing public programming on the Great Plaza, Philadelphia’s Delaware Waterfront Park. Independence Blue Cross is the presenting sponsor of the 2008 Summer Season at Penn’s Landing. All events produced by Penn’s Landing Corporation are FREE to the public and on the Great Plaza, the heart of Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia’s premier riverfront entertainment destination.

For more information and event details, please call (215) 922-2FUN or visit www.pennslandingcorp.com. The Penn’s Landing Corporation website is a virtual resource for the waterfront which can help visitors plan to easily park, play and stay all day at Penn’s Landing.

SOURCE: Penn’s Landing Corporation