Oldies Spectacular is back

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The bubbly melodies of doo-wop music that could once be heard drifting out of jukeboxes across the East End will be echoing out of speakers in a local auditorium on August 14, as three classic groups take the stage during the eighth annual Oldies Spectacular.

Fred Parris and The Five Satins, Larry Chance and The Earls and The Duprees—back by popular demand after their 2006 performance—will all perform during the August 14 concert presented by the Southampton Lions Club and WLNG Radio in the Westhampton Beach High School auditorium. Proceeds will go to benefit the Lions Club. The concert is usually held in Southampton High School, but that venue is closed for the summer due to a renovation project and the concert was moved to Westhampton Beach.

“I can promise everyone a great time,” said Mr. Chance in a recent telephone interview. “I always look forward to being on Long Island, the audience is always hot, always great.” The performance by the three bands is expected to last roughly three hours and include an intermission. “Only three acts gives us a lot more time to perform and really get into it with the audience,” he said. Larry Chance and the Earls are known for such hits as “Remember Then” and “Life Is But a Dream.” The group, formed in the late 1950s, was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2008, joining the likes of 
Bobby Darin and Luther Vandross.

“It’s the kind of music that no matter how old you are, it makes you feel good,” said Bob Backman, who goes by “Cool Bobby B” on his nationally syndicated “The DooWop Stop Oldies Show,” which can be heard on WLNG. “Everybody can sing along. It kind of transports you for two or three hours to a more simpler time.”

Audience members could hear the smooth melody of Mr. Parris’s “In the Still of the Night” during the evening.

“There’s no bigger song,” Mr. Backman said. “It always comes in number one in everybody’s ‘top 100.’”

According to Bob Grisnik, the organizer of the Oldies Spectacular and past president of the Southampton Lions Club, the event stands out from other oldies shows performed across the island each summer because it targets the local audience. “People from here don’t seem to go up the island, they usually stay here,” he said. He can trace his love for doo-wop music back to his teenage years growing up in Pittsburgh and playing chauffeur for his brother’s band “The Holidays.”

Before the concert, guests who own classic cars are welcome to park their vehicles outside the auditorium for a display that will be protected by security personnel during the show.

After the audience is seated, the Oldies Spectacular will present a special tribute to last 
year’s headliner, Johnny Maestro, who passed away in March of cancer.

According to The Duprees’ Tony Testa, the tribute is well deserved.

The group’s set list could include “You Belong to Me,” “My Own True Love” and “Have You Heard” but according to Mr. Testa, no set list is ever decided upon before a performance. The group prefers to get a feel for the audience before making final decisions on what to play.

“The Duprees carry on a tradition that started back in the early ’60s of basically bringing big band and standard music and converting it into pop music and rock and roll,” Mr. Backman said.

Mr. Testa, who started in the group first as a guitarist in the mid 1960s, said there is also a more personal reason why he enjoys playing the Hamptons: “My daughter lives in Manorville.”

The Oldies Spectacular sponsored by the Southampton Lions Club will be presented on Saturday, August 14, starting at 7 p.m. in the Westhampton Beach High School Auditorium on Lilac Road. A classic car show outside the auditorium will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets are $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 587-3565.

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