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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Legendary Diamonds bring high-energy and sounds of days past to Paisans Club

It takes some youthful luster to make old Diamonds shine again.

That was the lesson Sunday night during a highly energetic and entertaining concert by The Diamonds for the Paisans Club at SeaBreeze Recreation Center.

The Diamonds on stage entertaining the Paisans Club. From left Gary Owens Michael Lawrence and Adam Marino
The Diamonds on stage entertaining the Paisans Club. From left, Gary Owens, Michael Lawrence and Adam Marino.

The show was called “Let’s Rock Broadway” and was a long way from the original 1950s Diamonds. That Canadian quartet left an indelible musical mark during the dawn of rock and roll with such hits as “Little Darlin’” and “The Stroll.”
Time passed but the music of original members Dave Somerville, Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt and Bill Reed never went away.

The Diamonds in 1957
The Diamonds in 1957

The tradition carries on with the current lineup of Diamond veterans Gary Owens and Jeff Dolan, along with youthful newcomers Michael Lawrence and Adam Marino.
“We’ve added some young voices; sometimes young voices can help old ones,” said Owens, who has been a Diamond for 47 years.

Youth was served as Lawrence and Marino juiced up tributes to Elvis, the Beach Boys, Elton John, ABBA, the Four Seasons, Bobby Darin, Motown and a singer from Jersey who was not one of the Jersey Boys – Frank Sinatra. The concert concept was to reflect the popularity of Broadway shows that feature rock music.
“We wanted to get a balance between the classic music and more contemporary music,” Lawrence said.

The Diamonds showcased a timeless musical buffet that featured “Roll Over Beethoven,” “All Shook Up,” “Mamma Mia,” “Grease,” “Motown: The Musical” and Jersey Boys medleys.

“We’re working our way up to the Backstreet Boys,” Marino joked after the show.
But the Rochester native and one-time theater arts student at Nazareth College is serious about being a Diamond and the group’s history.

“I felt pressure joining The Diamonds because of their legacy,” Marino said. “But I also feel honored.”

The Diamonds sported Fedora hats during a Frank Sinatra tribute in a picture from their Web site
The Diamonds sport Fedora hats when they play a tribute to Frank Sinatra.

Marino and the group were in vintage acapella form on a gorgeous version of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.” Marino rocked  on Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.”
Lawrence, Marino, Owens and Dolan hit the high notes on an ABBA tribute, which included “Dancing Queen.” The guys rocked out on “Footloose” and flashed vocal range on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Each member sported a different Fedora hat during a Sinatra tribute called “Come Fly With Me.” The highlight, though, was the Jersey Boys’ medley, with Lawrence and Marino soaring on such numbers as “Let’s Hang On “and “Sherry.”

The Diamonds finished with a couple of their own hits : “Little Darlin’” and “Silhouettes.” It was an emotional night and one of The Diamonds first shows since the Coronavirus hit more than a year ago.

“It’s great to be in The Villages and to be back on stage in front of people like you after all we’ve gone through the past year,” Owens said.

Despite restrictions due to the Coronavirus Jerry Vicenti and his wife Annette keep the Paisans Club entertainment going.
Despite restrictions due to the Coronavirus, Jerry Vicenti and his wife, Annette, have kept the Paisans Club entertainment going.

Jerry Vicenti, president of the Paisans, also talked about the challenges of the past year.
“It has been rough and we’ve lost a lot of money on shows, but we’re going to keep going,” he said.

Vicenti noted that despite 50 percent capacity, mask mandates and temperature checks, the club’s entertainment endured and more concerts are on tap. Those include a June 20 Father’s Day show featuring opera singer Franco Corso and comic Carmen Vallone.
Vicenti, who with his wife, Annette, keeps the Paisans Club running smoothly, added he was hopeful that virus restrictions would be lifted “and we’ll all be back together again.”

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