Sinatra Idol Contest 2016
Thurs., June 9, 2016
Begins at 6:30pm
featuring hosts: Gary Simpson & Geri Fallo
Prizes awarded to the best Sinatra Style Singers
Admission is free
With our panel of esteemed judges:
Bill LaRosa, Director, Hudson County Cultural Affairs & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development
Diana London, Artistic Director/Producer of the Hudson Theatre Ensemble
Barbara Simon, Owner of the BJ Simon Singing Studio Finalist for HCC Business Awards – Education Provider Author of “Singing – Body and Soul”
Dale Monoco – Sinatra’s 2nd cousin. Born & raised in Hoboken
Bob Foster – Director of the Hoboken Historical Museum
Below is the list of contestants for 2015.
- Rory “Hawkeye” Aylward, Astoria, NY; Filmmaker and Retired Army Reserve Officer and two tour combat veteran. A fan since high school, Rory had never sung a Sinatra tune in public until they had karaoke at the Officer’s Club one night while he was on temporary duty in North Dakota in the summer of 1995. Even then, he didn’t sing very often until he walked into a little bar on the Central Coast of California that had restored an old Big Band style Shure microphone. Since then he is always on the lookout for a good venue and a crowd that prefers style over volume. On the few occasions he had to sing for his German, Dutch and Belgian colleagues during his last deployment, he was gratified to see how just how easily My Way and New York, New York cut across all boundaries. The highlight of his singing career so far was the opportunity to perform at the Count Basie Theater with the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra when he returned from his last deployment in 2008.
- Pete Cannella, Barrington, NJ 08007; Singer and college Grad with a BA in Psychology. I grew up with Sinatra my whole life. He is my all time favorite singer. I am 26 years old and represent him well. I started singing in Okinawa, Japan while in the Marine Corps. I still sing today in casinos and restaurants his music and other artists such as Darin and Bennett.
- George N. Chartofillis, Newark, NJ; Intake Investigator with the State Of New Jersey, Office Of Attorney General, Division On Civil Rights. For the past 3 years, I am a Choir Director at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Union, New Jersey. I perform shows at Restaurants and Bars, as well as Nursing Homes. On December 14, 2014, I won 1st prize in the first ever “Sinatra Sing-Off” Contest. The first prize was a paid gig from the G.W. Grill doing a special tribute celebration of Frank Sinatra’s “100th Anniversary” this year. I started singing Sinatra tunes when I was 7 years old listening to them on my grandfather’s juke box in his luncheonette in Pittsburgh, Pa.’s South Side. To me listening and singing with Frank and his music was like reading a story together with him in song whether it be happy song, sad song, romantic song, or whatever kind of song Frank would sing. It was his voice, music, and style that influenced me to become a famous singer and continued my education in music in college and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Voice/Music Education. I also studied with a New York City Opera Singer for 5 and half years and sang anywhere I could to be heard.
- Chris Corbin, North Plainfield, NJ; Retired NYC Transit Authority Yard Dispatcher of Subway Trains. I was told about a karaoke meetup group so I joined to meet new people. I was too scared to sing the first 3 meetings, but when I started I saw a chance to remind listeners of the great classic r&b songs. I eventually switched over to the Jazz then I also realized that Sinatra was the best example of a saloon singer and that his phrasing was what helped make his voice so unique. He was singing the songs of the great Broadway song writers I grew up playing in high school when I belonged to the band and orchestra w/my trombone. Now at karaoke dj’s like to introduce me as Chris Sinatra or Christopher Albert Sinatra. I never knew I was any good at singing until I won a contest at the VA and got into the Freehold idol finals by singing his songs. Proud of what I sing and who they say I sound like.
- Tony Corrao, Marlboro, NJ; Works as a Technical Analyst in Somerset NJ and Sings Professionally. I grew up in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn where I spent the first 18 years of my life before moving with my family to East Flatbush. From when I was a very young boy, I listened to my mother play and sing all the songs Sinatra ever recorded from the 40’s on. She had all the original 78s under the Columbia label from 1943 – 1952 in pristine condition. There was something about this music that just touched my soul. By the time I was 12, I think I knew the majority of Sinatra’s songs. I found myself singing them in the shower and listening intently to the lyrics. The songs were beautiful and Frank always told a story with his music. I tried to sing along with him as I listened and was always amazed how effortlessly he produced that wonderful sound. His song choices, his style and his voice are embedded in my soul and have become a part of my life to this very day.
- Joe DeSarle, Staten Island, NY; I developed my love for Frank Sinatra and his music from my mother who was a bobby-soxer at the Paramount theatre. After listening to her “Swing Easy” album I was hooked. I learned all the words as well as all the vocal inflections he used. Since then, Mr. Sinatra and his music has been special part of my everyday life. I was privileged to compete in the 2013 Sinatra Idol Contest and finish in 2nd place as well as perform in the Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre in 2012.
- Alan Gordon, Florida; I am originally from Brooklyn New York I have resided in sunrise Florida for the past 36 years. I have been a Sinatra fan since I was 15 years old. I have been an entertainer off and on all my life. Let me make this short. There are 10000 people in this country who think they can sing like Sinatra, the truth is there are only a hand full of people that can sing that way and two of them are in Las Vegas. I am probably in the top three. There are a few people locally who know who I am. I recently recorded come fly with me, the indiscriminate ear cant tell whether it is me or Sinatra.
- Doug Lubushkin, Genoa, Nevada; Executive Vice President of Sales for Arctic Express. I grew up on Sinatra; my father’s passion was singing and playing the piano and my mother was a vocalist for a WWII USO Troupe in Oakland, CA, so there was always music being played or sung in our home. We listened to Sinatra nightly on our HiFi Stereo and eagerly anticipated each new album Frank would release! When I’m not on the road traveling for my job I often gig around town at various public and private venues.
- Louis Porecca (Lou the shoe), Philadelphia, PA; Retired Casino Executive, Singer, Part Time Actor, Inside Sales. As a young boy growing up in South Philadelphia, Frank Sinatra was the choice of music played in our home. I became a fan of Sinatra at an early age. As a teenager, and into my adulthood, Sinatra would still be my choice of music. I learned the words to all his songs, and I attempted to learn his phrasing, and his delivery of a song, as only Sinatra could do. I started to sing for friends and get-togethers. I moved to Las Vegas in 1961 and became a black jack dealer at Ceasar’s Place. Sinatra and his entourage would play on my table. I returned to Atlantic City to open the casinos in 1978. I have performed at clubs, on radio shows and fund raisers, weddings and social functions in and around the area. He’s singing to me, not at me… I’m sure there are many other individuals who feel the same. I hope to continue singing the music, and sounds of Sinatra. Remembering Sinatra, our hero.
- Andrew Poretz, New York, NY 10032; Life Coach, including my Coaches Corner podcast & Word Processor for a Law Firm. I am also an entertainer – a singer and guitar player, singing mainly jazz standards, and have performed “standup” musical comedy. I was the singing voice of Michael Rispoli in the movie “Two Family House,” which won the Audience Award at Sundance. I could be heard singing “There’s No Tomorrow,” “Papa Loves Mambo,” and “Lonely For You.” The other singer in this movie was John Pizzarelli, Jr. We shared the same track for the song “Lonely For You.” I owe my musical education to Frank Sinatra, and consider him my de facto voice teacher! I first started singing Sinatra tunes when I taught myself to sing, mainly by attempting to copy Frank’s every note, breath and nuance by singing along with his songs. In 1975, with an illness I feared was terminal, I spent my “life savings” of $200 to buy five tickets for the Sinatra/Basie/Fitzgerald engagement at the Uris Theater. I brought my brother, Jonathan Poretz, then an up-and-coming rock star, to the opening night and my parents to the penultimate show. He became a fan that night, and today, incredibly, he’s played Frank Sinatra in Sandy Hackett’s “The Rat Pack Is Back,” his nightclub act in San Francisco is comprised to a great extent of original Sinatra charts.
- Marcqiese Rainey, Event Vocalist, teach and Street Performer. I guarantee I’d be one of a kind you and company have ever seen giving the opportunity. Til this day I street perform and sing Sinatra daily and have the entire NYC and tourism in love with me. Nathaniel Marcqiese Rainey d/b/a “Marqiese Marc”is a multi-talented performer. Training from the native grounds of NY, and graduated from the famous Professional Performing Arts High School (many celebrities have attended this school such as Alicia Keys). He received vocal training From the Great Albert Rose- a world renowned classical singer. He was featured and sang at the Apollo theater for Amateur night, and also sang at many different venues in New York City. He specializes in singing classic songs such as those of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole…among many other artists and genres. He started singing tons of jazz standards and sinatra because he often enjoyed dancing to it.
- Joe Settineri (Danny Satin), Staten Island NY; Finance and Accounting Profession. About ten years ago an idea came to me about writing a novel about a down on his luck singer who almost made it to the top in the Sinatra Era. I acted on the idea and completed and self published a novel and a CD; the details of which are on the website below. In the course of writing the novel, I realized in order to truly express the main character I had to experience what it felt like to sing in front of an audience. I loved it and since that time, I have performed shows in small cabarets or cultural centers whenever time permits.
- Charles Stayduhar Jr., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Contractor. Charles has been listening to Frank Sinatra since he was a young teen, a true lover of the big band sound. Thanks to his years as a bartender, people realized he sounded like Sinatra. At 52 Charles has been doing his Sinatra Tribute Show in and around the Pittsburgh area since he was 35 and is known as Mr. S. In addition to the many shows Charles did last year at local Bars, Restaurants, Clubs, Fairs and Private partys, the two most memorable highlights were the opportunity to perform with world renowned trombonist Harold Betters and his quartet, and the opportunity to travel to Hoboken to compete in the 8th Sinatra Idol Contest and to take home the 2nd place title.
- Rick Valiant, Burnaby, BC, Canada; Sales Consultant. Frank Sinatra and his Music saved my life. After being a chronic Alcoholic for over 30 years. In January of 2007, I quit drinking and turned my focus onto singing as my new Addiction. Frank Sinatra’s music become my passion and to this day after being sober now for 8yrs it still is. My goal was to perform with a big band and do shows in theatre like Sinatra did, in less than 4 yrs my dream became a reality.
- Joseph Vozzella, Bayonne, NJ; Major Appliance Tech, HVAC service/install/all phases. Joe is pro-vocal for many years, singing songs from great groups such as Jay and the Americans,(This Magic Moment), Duprees,(You Belong To Me), but most favorite “Sinatra”. Joe is proud to say Frank performed in his home town, Bayonne, at the Opera House on 26th street which is the same place his dad performed. Frank’s style of music was ultimately the most meaningful and sincere in his choice of words and music, there is no other to compare. I admired Frank immensely all my life, mostly because he gave so much honor to his enormous talent. He nurtured it, perfected it, and embraced it. His famous phrase was……………
” Live every moment as if it we’re your last………..you only live once and the way I live once is enough”.
He did it his way. Happy 100th birthday in heaven Frank, “I’m sure your the brightest star up there.
Thanks to our sponsors:
Astrahealth Centers & Muller Insurance for their generous support.
Thanks to all of the local businesses who donated prizes including:
Arthur’s Tavern • Body Balance Hoboken • Carp Diem Pub & Restaurant Dino & Harry’s Steakhouse • Empire Coffee & Tea Co. • Hudson Tavern Hoboken Premium Cigars • Jimmy John’s Lepore’s Chocolates Madison Bar & Grill • Maxwell’s Tavern • Mr. L’s Hair Creations Onieals • Starbuck’s •Sedona Hand Gallery • Stan’s Sports Center Sparrow Wine & Liquor Co. • V’s Barbershop • Tunes Teak on Hudson • W. Kodak Jewelers
Below is the list of contestants for 2014.
- Arthur Apicella, Wantagh, NY; Social Insurance Specialist at the Social Security Administration. Arthur is a Navy Veteran having served during The Cold War. I have been singing the songs of Frank Sinatra since I was a child. His music always filled the house I lived in. My parents were great dancers in their day and were always playing his music. Sinatra’s music is a reflection of our lives, the joys and sorrows, ups and downs. When I sing his music it’s just my way of celebrating life.
- Mark DiMattia, Newark, Delaware; IT Consultant. I’ve been singing since I was a kid. I started in rock, then blues, then jazz. I was singing in NYC once and the guys said I sounded like Sinatra. So I started doing Sinatra’s music with the band. Then I fell in love with his music and the rest is history. It’s been the soundtrack of my life ever since. It’s my desert island music. The last voice I wanna hear is Frank’s, as he always wished.
- Nick Fiasco, Monroeville, Pennslyvania; Advertising Professional. I’ve had a career in advertising for over 30 years, but have been publicly singing the songs made famous by Frank Sinatra for the last decade. Since I was a child, I have always loved Frank’s music. His timing, phrasing, vocal tone and range are, to this day, unequaled by any other vocalist. During my advertising career, I spent much time on the road and would occupy myself by listening to Sinatra’s music. I’d sing along and learn the lyrics and timing and eventually made a recording of myself. I let my wife take a listen, and she thought it was Frank himself! So I made a website, www.nickfiasco.com, and things progressed from there. I now perform at many public venues, festivals, private parties and corporate functions. To perform in Hoboken, the birthplace of my idol, is a dream come true for me.
- Bill Gagliardi, Lakewood, NJ; Retired From the Jewelry Industry I have been doing a Sinatra Tribute Act since I retired in 2006. Needless to say, Mr. Sinatra’s music has been part of my life since I was 15 and I am now 73. I have always sung his songs, even when I was a teenager, at parties or family events and weddings. At my own wedding almost 50 years ago I sang “I Got A Crush On You” to my wife. Frank Sinatra’s music means so much to me and I feel blessed that I have lived in the era when he sang.
- Jim Germanakos, Elmont, NY; Retired Police Officer. I’m from Long Island, where I currently working as a musician, singing at restaurants, clubs, parties, and for cocktail hours and weddings. My real love for swing music and the standards began in high school when I played the clarinet. I was the #1 seated clarinet player for Long Island high schools, and I used to love listening to Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. This led me to AM radio and WNEW-1130. I fell in love with the music of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Dean Martin, while my friends listened to KISS and Bruce Springsteen. I got a college scholarship in college to play the alto and tenor saxophones. My mom used to teach voice at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and helped me with my phrasing. But the style and swagger in my voice came naturally
- Stephen Green, Rosedale, NY; Paralegal. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra as a little kid in the car along with many other standard singers, but he’s the one that stood out to me as the best. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever heard before and I have been trying to replicate his style of singing for years. I am young (24), but have the oldest soul you’ll ever meet when it comes to music. I listen to Sinatra almost every day. Life would truly not be the same without him.
- Frank Hartman, Bridgeton, NJ; Roofer. When I was 18 I had 22 albums of Sinatra and listened to them every spare minute that I had. What I liked about Sinatra was his phrasing and his ability to tell a story. He also had a knack for picking out good songs. Classy, dynamic and smooth are the words to describe the singer who has taken it upon himself to continue the work that Frank Sinatra started so many years ago.
- Ray Livosi, Bonita Springs, Florida; Paralegal and Sinatra Impersonator. Ray Livosi was born in the Bronx and has been entertaining audiences since the 1970s. As a musician and back-up singer, he has performed in clubs and lounges with original members of the Belmonts (“Teenager In Love”), the Earls (“I Believe”), the Duprees (“You Belong To Me”) and the Regents (“Barbara Ann”). He also has acted in community theaters. After discovering he could imitate the voice, mannerisms and vocal style of original musical artists, Ray started his own group and continued perfecting his craft. While performing in New York clubs, Ray would sing Frank’s songs in the unique Sinatra style.
- Alexa Marino, Morganville, NJ; Yellen Studio of Red Hook, New York. I am currently working at the Yellin Studio of Red Hook NY for the world famous artist and sculpture Dustin Yellin. Growing up in an Italian family, Sinatra music was a huge part of my childhood. His music always brings me back to the days of singing in the backyard for my family and learning to love the music of the Great American Songbook sung so beautifully by Mr. Sinatra. In December 2011 I was chosen to sing at the Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ with 2011 Hoboken Idol Greg Myers. My love for Sinatra’s style intensifies every year. His music is timeless and I take great care in staying true to the style he created.
- Ralph Muro, Endicott, NY; Retired School Teacher. I am a retired school teacher having taught for 36 years in Binghamton NY. I started singing Sinatra tunes back in high school. Presently, I have been a vocalist for ten years with a 15 piece swing orchestra. In addition, on my own, I sing with vocal tracks at private parties, local establishments, and wedding cocktail hours. For me Frank Sinatra was the best. With every song he became the song and the song became him. I try to put the same passion and feeling into what I’m singing.
- Eric Richardson, Bel Air, Maryland; Dean Martin Impersonator. Eric is a Baltimore-based actor/vocalist, and entertainer in the style of Frank Sinatra’s best “pallie”. He has performed with numerous Rat Packs over the past 5+ years (including two with a “Jerry Lewis”) Frank Sinatra has been almost as influential to my performances as Dean Martin. So singing Sinatra’s tunes was a natural progression for me. In fact I created my “Pallies Set” to include several of Frank’s songs in each of my shows. I also perform a new show, “Just Being Frank With You, Dino’s Tribute to his best pallie, Sinatra.”
- Gabriel Russo, Dahlonega, Georgia; Artist. I’m an Artist and operate Mystic Mountain Studio where we paint Murals, Portraits and Landscapes. I spent two weeks every summer with my grandparents on Park St., Hoboken, until I was 15 years old. My family ate, drank and slept Sinatra. His was practically the only voice I heard from a Victrola for the first years of my life. In 1960 I started singing with my Father in night clubs at eight years old. He always joked that babysitters were too expensive. I began voice lessons at St. John’s Cathedral in Wilmington, Delaware under British choir master ‘Stoddard Smith’. I sang with my Dad and Paul Richardson, the Stadium Organist for the Philadelphia Philly’s, as well as with the ‘Manny Klein Orchestra into the early eighties. From the 1970’s through the late ’90’s, I performed a lot of theater, Jazz and Rock and Roll. In 1999, I began to revisit my vocal past singing songs written during the time of professional song writers. My goal is to keep this performance genre alive introducing it to new audiences. I wear my father’s tuxedos to perform in now that he’s gone.
- Charles Stayduhar Jr., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Contractor. Charles has been enjoying listening and singing along to Frank Sinatra since he was a teenager. My first 8-track tape was Sinatra. Thanks to his years as a bartender that people realized he really did sound like Frank. The opportunity to perform arose years later at the age of 35. Now 50, and known in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area as Mr. S, Charles performed over 40 shows last year.
- Humphrey O. Uddoh, Jersey City, NJ; Attorney Working in the Public Sector. Humphrey’s passion for Sinatra’s music stems from his enthusiasm for singing in the “crooner style”. During his junior high school years at the United Nations International School in New York, he was introduced to different styles of music from around the world, which experience he treasures to this day. Humphrey was also fortunate to have a mother who was friends with Sammy Davis Jr.’s wife, Maibritt, and had occasion to watch Mr. Davis rehearse and perform on various occasions; those performances served to inspire Humphrey to sing himself during his college years at Vassar College. During College, however, Humphrey lost his ability to sing when he picked up a cigarette smoking habit, which lasted into his adulthood. Smoke free now for the past five years, Humphrey has re-acquired his ability to sing, and is looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to sing at the Frank Sinatra competition.
- Joseph Vozzella, Bayonne, NJ; Major Appliance Tech, HVAC service/install/all phases. Joe was a professional vocalist for many years,singing songs from great groups such as Jay Black, Dupree’s, Stylistics and his most favorite, “Sinatra”. Frank’s style of singing was ultimately the most meaningful and sincere in his choice of words and music. There is no other to compare. Bayonne had a band outing every week. In the summer of 2013, Joe was honored to sing with Larry Chance and the Earls. It was an awesome show.
Last years winner, Mario Cruz, will be on hand to sing a few songs & pass the trophy to the 2014 winner. Mario lives in Guttenberg, NJ and is a Teacher of English as a second language. After a student asked Mario for the lyrics to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” he played the song many times. The more he listened to it, the more he liked it. He started buying Sinatra music and eventually started to perform Sinatra songs at restaurants, outdoor festivals and weddings. Thanks to our sponsors: Muller Insurance, Carlos Bakery & Stan’s Sports Center for their generous support. Thanks to all of the local businesses who donated prizes including: Ali Baba Restaurant • Arthur’s Tavern • Biggie’s Clam Bar • Body Balance • Cafe Michelina Carp Diem Pub & Restaurant • Dino & Harry’s Steakhouse • Empire Coffee & Tea Co. Hoboken Cigars • Hoboken Golf •Hudson Tavern • Leo’s Grandevous • Lepore’s Chocolates Madison Bar & Grill • Massage Envy Spa • Mr. L’s Barber • Onieals • Sedona • Sparrows Stan’s Sports Center • Starbuck’s • Teak on Hudson • Tunes • W. Kodak Jewelers Here is some press from previous years CBSNEWS – Sinatra Style Singers Fly To The Moon In Hoboken http://email@example.com See this News Video JERSEY JOURNAL NEWSPAPER – See the Pictures Attached and Article below – http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2008/06/hobokens_own_wins_best_sinatra.html COMPETING If you are interested in competing in 2015, please forward the following information to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Email your slow mail address, phone number, what you do for a living, a short statement about how you got started singing Sinatra tunes and what his music means to you, as well as, a web page link, You Tube or sonic bid of yourself singing. Include, in order of preference, your top 5 favorite Sinatra tunes that you like to sing. Submissions will be accepted from Dec. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Applying, does not guarantee admission into the competition. If you are selected, you will receive an email notification by April 1st, 2015 with instructions.