The Masqueraders Reunite In Somerset, New Jersey
Dear Friends of Classic Urban Harmony,
On Saturday October 23, 2010, we (Pamela & Charlie) celebrated our 5th Anniversary with a gala event at The Palace in Somerset, NJ. We wish we could have invited everyone we know, but due to space and financial limitations, we had to limit our guests to those friends with whom we have closest contact. We hope to open our next event to all.
Headlining the entertainment at our special event was the 1960’s soul vocal group, the Masqueraders, known for chart hits like “I Ain’t Got To Love Nobody Else” and “I’m Just An Average Guy”.
We reunited five original members of the group just for this occasion.
Three flew in from Memphis where they had been performing as a trio, while two former members, including the original lead, Lee Hatim, were brought in from Dallas.
This was the first time all five original members had performed together in thirty years. The Masqueraders performed their hit songs and many more, drawing a standing ovation on nearly every song.
The fine acappella group, the Sheps opened the entertainment with a thirty minute set of great collectors’ standards including “Lights Are Low” (El Dorados) and “These Foolish Things” (5 Keys).
Since Sheps’ member Tommy Lockhart once led the Masters Four, the group backed him on “It’s Not The End” as a special request from us.
The Sheps ended their set with an original song they wrote and arranged just for us – “Another Anniversary”.
The evening was filled with special surprises. Bobby Thomas of the Vibranaires took the stage to sing his 1954 song, “Doll Face,” backed by the Sheps. Then, two original members of the Del Larks, lead Sammy Campbell and tenor Ron Taylor sang “I Never Will Forget (Ea-Jay label) with help from the Sheps. “Golden Voice Harry” Schmitt of Cornerstone performed a great acappella version of “When We Get Married” also backed by the Sheps.
Next, Vic Donna and his new group sang acappella renditions of Vic’s 1950’s tunes “Teenage Rose” and “Love Was A Stranger To Me”. The group also performed “Hurt”. Their harmony was superb! The Vic Donna Group also backed original Vito & the Salutations’ Shelly Buchansky on a great acappella version of “Zoom.”
Bill Keith (formerly of A Moment’s Pleasure) sang “Talking With My Heart” with acappella backing from John Jones (the Norristones),Jim Bakay (Street Corner Five) and Smitty(Quiet Storm). Before the Masqueraders closed the celebration, we also got to hear Farnk Lafaro (of Frankie & the Fashions) sing “What Do I Have To Do” and everyone’s favorite, Little Isidore perform “Oceans Apart”.
In attendance were numerous other celebrities including: Terry Stewart (President of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), Sandy Italiano, Val Shively, Andrea Siegal (“It’s About the Music editor), Lois Powell (the Chantels), Barbara Jean English (the Clickettes), Doc Robinson (the Master-Tones), Norman Burnett and Lafayette Gamble (the Tymes), Carl Anderson (the Plurals), E-Z (Choice), Joe Grimaldi, Darrall Campbell and Buzzy Garland (The Ecstasies), Dick Plotkin (The Precisions & The Magics), Wayne Smith (The Capris & Inquisitors), Harold Leiter (The Balladeers), Bill Diamond (Cornerstone), Bill Hyde (Frankie & The Fashions) and Dom D’Elia (the Sparrows Quartet), to name a few. Numerous radio personalities were also present including Cool Bobby B (XM Radio), Christine Vitale (WFDU), Gordon Skadberg(WRHU), Lou Rallo (WRSU), George Frunzi (Gold Radio) and Jimmy DePre.(Cruisin’ 92.1 FM). The evening was MC’s by radio personality King Arthur.
Response to our event was phenomenal. Some attendees told us this was the vocal harmony event of the decade. To that, we thanked them and replied, “The decade is only ten months old and we’re just getting started.” If there is enough interest, we’ll consider producing a similar concert, open to the public. We may even bring the Masqueraders back. Let us know what you think.
In the meantime, we’ve begun posting photos and a write up of the celebration on www.classicurbanharmony.net.
Since we have over 700 photos, this will be done in several parts and will take some time. We’ve just posted the story of our chance encounter with the Masqueraders on Beale Street in Memphis and the events leading up to the anniversary celebration.
Now posted are photos of the Masqueraders on Beale Street, our preparations for the celebration and photos of the Sheps, Bobby Thomas and Vic Donna in rehearsal. In the next couple weeks we’ll post photos and even short video clips of the concert (as we obtain permission from the performers). We also conducted a four hour interview with all five original members of the Masqueraders and we’ll be doing and an extensive bio and discography on them.
You can follow our postings by going to the “What’s New” page of http://www.classicurbanharmony.net and following the appropriate links.