ABOVE: Jackie Post photo
Sinatra’s music, Sinatra Park, Sinatra’s town, Sinatra’s world…
The annual Sinatra Idol Contest is going down TONIGHT—Thursday, June 15, 2017, beginning at 6:30pm.
This annual event celebrates the life and music of Hoboken’s Frank Sinatra, and the lasting impact he’s had on our Mile Square. With contestants from all over the world, paying tribute to “The Voice,” prizes are awarded to the singers who best emulate Sinatra’s style.
Held at Sinatra Park on the scenic Hoboken waterfront, admission is free.
Here’s the tale of the tape for tonight’s title bout…
Bob Foster: Director of the Hoboken Historical Museum
Dave Post: Bandleader for the Swingadelic Big Band
Will Friedwald: writes about music and popular culture for The Wall Street Journal & Vanity Fair. He is also the author of eight books—including the award-winning A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers and Sinatra: The Song is You. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He serves as a consultant and curator for Apple Music.
Joe DellAquila: Born & raised in Hoboken, trumpet player and singer, lifelong fan of Sinatra
Joyce Flinn: Long-time Hoboken restaurateur, Joyce was born in Jersey City and is a devotee of Sinatra and Big Band music. Owner of The Elysian Cafe & Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette
-George Chartofillis, West Caldwell, New Jersey. “My musical backround and education is as follows. In my high school days I was selected to be a member in the NJ All-State Chorus in Atlantic City, NJ and am a graduate with a music degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. All my life I have wanted to follow the same musical path as Frank Sinatra as he did starting from the age of 7 when my parents who admired and played Frank Sinatra recordings at home that I heard which influenced me to be like him someday.”
-Chris Corbin, North Plainfield, NJ. Retired NYC Transit Authority. “People often don’t expect my Sinatra-like voice, so I love surprising them with it. A late bloomer to singing, I started karaoke 8 years ago. I later moved into contests and then professional singing. About 6 years ago I began singing Sinatra classics and realized I love being a saloon-type singer. After surviving a stroke and doing some traveling, I’m returning to doing shows and enjoying the ride.”
-Rick Davis, Sugarland, Texas. “About 7 years ago I bought a Sinatra CD and fell instantly in love with the music. I was struck by the way he sings—natural, engaging, and authentic, plus his talent for taking words and giving them heart. Some time later at a party I sang ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and received a standing ovation. It was then that I discovered my voice and decided to sing the songs of Sinatra. I aim to be a positive influence to other male singers with lower ranges, just like Frank.”
-Neil De Angelis, Woonsocket, RI. Coordination/Engineering/Operations at Huntington Home Systems. “One night at a karaoke bar about eight years ago, I sang Summer Wind. It was the first time I had ever sung a song. Afterwards, people commented on how much I sounded like Sinatra. Not only did I discover that I could sing, but that I could somehow emulate one of the greatest, most recognizable singers of all time. It was one of the coolest things I’ve discovered about myself. I’ve since learned lots of Sinatra songs and sing them at karaoke several days a week.”
-Tommy Delcorio, Williamstown, NJ. Mortgage Banking Business. “I’m originally from South Philly, where I sang for the Philadelphia Boys Choir. When I was a child, my mom introduced me to the music of all the greats. We were even regulars at Palumbo’s, Steel Pier in Atlantic City, and the Latin Casino, where we rubbed elbows with Sinatra, Martin, Prima, and Durante. For my 50th birthday, my wife threw me a surprise party where my friends and I sang all night! The response was amazing and my friends now think that Old Blue Eyes is back.”
-Larry Dubin, East Meadow, NY. Special Services Dept., Home Depot.
Has been singing since the age of five, but it was in his 20’s he knew he was destined for the chords. Born in Brooklyn, he was the oldest of three siblings. Larry was a substance abuse counselor for 39 years, using music as part of his therapy. He will be competing for the 3rd time. He has auditioned for the Voice, as well as, Americas Got Talent 5X each. He was also was featured LIVE singing to the MC Bill Bellamy on Let’s Ask America singing a Sinatra song, of course. Mr Dubin came in 3rd place in a nationwide karaoke contest.
-Serhat Kaner (a.k.a. Jax Gabriel), Sunnyside, NY. Singer and Actor. “My uncle was a big fan of jazz, always encouraging me to listen to and understand the music of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and Gene Kelly. At age 7, I started to sing Sinatra songs at home. Along with Elvis Presley, Sinatra inspired me to attend the music conservatory to become a classically trained professional singer.”
-Dylan Kaplan, Hoboken, NJ. “I grew up listening to the American Songbook on car rides with my pop. Sinatra and his music always bring back memories of my father, which is why I enjoy singing Sinatra tunes.”
-Barry Oliver Lawton, Dorchester, MA; Retired School Teacher and Community Activist. Barry has been inspired by Frank Sinatra not only as a superb vocalist, but as a brave humanitarian who was not afraid to go against the status quo in support of the civil rights movement, opening doors for African American artists. Barry, as did Frank, appreciates that music is color-blind and that it’s beauty can be used as a tool to unify the world.
-Greg Martiello, Philadelphia, PA; Entertainer. “I am a Singing Impressionist and I always loved and respected the talent of Frank Sinatra. It’s a privilege to impersonate him and sing his wonderful songs.”
-Tom Moffatt, Lynbrook, NY; Audiovisual Design Consultant. “I started developing a new musical skill on weekends as part of the rebuilding of a life style in the wake of a divorce. It developed from a hobby, into a passion, as I aimed to learn what ole blue eyes was doing internally to create that branded croon. The character of his voice, and the complexity of his phrasings provide a limitless study of how to deliver great music. Frank Sinatra intrinsically knew how to get the best from the best and stay at the top of his game as musician and innovator. I’ve been singing a number gigs with various organizations on Long Island, but singing in a Sinatra-centric environment like the Idol contest is certainly one if the highlights of the year for me. Frank Sinatra’s music exemplifies the power and breadth of the American ideal at America’s finest hour.”
-Jerry Pearce is a singer and amateur historian obsessed with all things relating to Sinatra. His first stage appearances took place with the Jazz Arts Project of Red Bank, NJ in 2016 and 2017, respectively. In addition, Jerry is the author of a weekly column for Sinatra beginners, “The Sinatra File,” published on the web at NewzBreaker.com.”
-Jack Randle, Rochdale, United Kingdom, Technical Support Helpdesk Worker. “I got to love the music of Frank Sinatra because my father was a big fan and one of the only two LPs we had in the house when I was growing up in Rochdale, England in the 1960s was ‘Sinatra & The Count Basie Orchestra’. When my father died four years ago I sang My Way at his wake, as I had done at each of his previous birthdays. I feel every time I sing now, as I do semi-professionally these days, there is a direct connection to my dad. I love that, and it makes singing the songs he loved very special to me.”
-Humphrey O. Uddoh, Attorney. “I have always loved singing, and I have Always loved Frank! The King! People have always encouraged me to sing more, whenever I do sing, which is what helped me to realize that I do have a gift of some sort when it comes to singing. Sinatra’s songs have always intrigued me more that other artists because his and my range are very similar. The last Frank Sinatra competition that I participated in two years ago was my first public singing ever! What a memorable time! Since then, I have been taking voice lessons. My singing has therefore really come along way since two years ago, when I had never even had a voice lesson. I think that I am now ready to show my true talent, with a lot more confidence, which quite frankly is what the Judges told me at the last competition – to get more training. I did receive decent scores two years ago. I think my scores will be certainly even better this time – hopefully win the competition. I think I can do it too, if given the chance.”
-Stephen Verrone, Boonton, NJ. CPA Big Four Accounting Firm NYC. Began singing for his grandmother and others at a local NJ nursing home in April 2000. Since then, although his grandmother had passed away, he continues to volunteer his time to perform a monthly 1-hour show (in full tuxedo) singing Frank Sinatra songs and American popular standards. He’s performed over 160 times at his grandmother’s former nursing home facility and several other venues in Northern NJ. Iconic Sinatra songs always seem to connect people with fond memories and bring smiles to people’s faces. Stephen enjoys collecting Frank Sinatra memorabilia, sharing the background of the songs he sings with his audience, and singing for his family and three young daughters. He was lucky enough to see Frank Sinatra perform live 3 times in the early 1990’s.
June 15, 6:30PM – Sinatra Idol Contest