Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Buckinghams Return to The Belfry Theatre for 2 Nights in June

On Wednesday, June 22 and Thursday, June 23, The Buckinghams are pleased to return for their fourth year of performing for fans of the best generation in music at the Belfry Theatre.

As anyone who lives or vacations in the Lake Geneva area of Wisconsin knows, one of the best venues to enjoy the best days of summer, is the Belfry Theatre. It’s an historic and delightful theatre with perfect acoustics where every seat is “the best seat in the house.”

Located at 3601 State Road 67 in Williams Bay, WI, it’s only a bit over an hour’s drive from Chicago to get there. The theatre has great acoustics and sometimes you’ll even find people dancing in the aisles as they go back to the best days sunshine pop music.

Although Carl and Nick have been on the road for most of the month with The Happy Together Tour and going from town to town, these two dates include the full band, including the Buckinghorns, joining them. It promises to be two great nights of singalong fun.

Just in case you didn’t know, the Belfry Theatre has been awarded the Traveler’s Choice award for the past 5 consecutive years and last year was voted the #1 Best Place for Live Music in Walworth County.

Some tickets remain for both nights and range from $58 to $76 for premiere seats, Wed. June 22, and Thur. June 23.

Click https://www.belfrymusictheatre.com/events/2022/the-buckinghams/ for more information.

For a preview, click https://www.facebook.com/BelfryMusicTheatre/videos/388393129535427/

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Buckinghams Will Join Happy Together Tour 2022 for 40+ Concerts

Are you ready for the most fun in live music? The concert tour of your teenage years returns, and Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are delighted to announce they'll be performing on 44 of the more than 50 concerts that will take place nationwide this year! Beginning on June 1, The Buckinghams re-join the summer adventures of the rolling extravaganza better known as the Happy Together Tour 2022!

Performing their biggest hits of the 1960s and 1970s, The Turtles, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues and The Cowsills return for the Happy Together Tour 2022. Combined, these musicians are responsible for at least 61 Billboard Top 40 smashes.

The first Happy Together Tour, produced by Howard Silverman and David Fishof, took place in 1984, and The Buckinghams joined in 1985 for the second HTT, sponsored by Members Only.

In 1985 that year the tour was named in the Top 10 highest grossing tours in the United States. After a few years, the musicians took a collective break from touring because suddenly there was new demand for the bands to headline new, solo, concerts. The Baby Boomers loved traveling to hear their favorite 60s bands in concert everywhere, even 20 years after their songs first ruled the airwaves on your transistor radios.

Ask yourself whether or not, 25 years from now, you or your kids will want to get a ticket to the reunion of some of the individual artists or bands presently topping the charts today. It's all about the strength of the songwriting and the skill of the musicians who bring them to life.

After a long break, the Turtles (originals Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) decided to "get the old tour back together again" and in 2010, The Buckinghams were part of the first anniversary tour, and popularity was just as strong as it was 25 years' prior.

For summer 2022, The Buckinghams already had many concert appearances booked, but Chuck Negron decided to forego the very rigorous tour, so it wouldn't compromise his health. The Buckinghams were able to step in for their friend. The Buckinghams will also keep their individual concert dates already booked, so their summer just became very full! They're continuing to live up to their 1967 title they earned from Billboard: "The Most Listened to Band in America."

Together with Mark Volman and popular vocalist/record producer Ron Dante (repping The Turtles), Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) will join crowd-pleasers including The Cowsills (Susan, Bob, and Paul), Gary Puckett (sans the Union Gap), The Association and The Vogues. In addition, one consistent backing band will accompany all of the headliners to make the jam-packed entertainment show fit in a 2-hour concert period.

If you're ready to search for your seats to summer fun, see where the tour will be coming in the list below and click on the venue link where listed to get more information and tickets.

2022 Buckinghams Happy Together Tour Schedule

Date/City/Venue

Wed, Jun 1, Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 7pm

Thur, Jun 2, Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre, 8pm

Fri, Jun 3, Biloxi, MS, IP Casino Resort & Spa, 8pm

Sat, Jun 4, Hiawassee, GA, Anderson Music Hall, 7pm

Sun, Jun 5, Melbourne, FL, King Center for Performing Arts, 7:30pm

Mon, Jun 6, Daytona Beach, FL, Peabody Auditorium,8pm

Wed, Jun 8, Charleston, SC, Charleston Music Hall 8pm

Thur, Jun 9, Durham, NC, Carolina Theatre of Durham, 8pm

Fri, Jun 10, New York, NY, Palladium Times Square, 8pm

Sat, Jun 11, Westbury, NY, Theatre at Westbury, 8pm

Sun, Jun 12, Lowell, MA, Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 7pm

Wed, Jun 15, Quakertown, PA, Univest Performance Center, 7pm

Thu, Jun 16, Jim Thorpe, PA, Penn's Peak, 8pm

Fri, Jun 17, Staten Island, NY, St. George Theatre, 7pm

Sat, Jun 18, Northhampton, MA, Calvin Theatre, 8pm

Sun, Jun 19, Lynn, MA, Lynn Auditorium, 7:30pm

Fri, Jul 8, Lincoln City, OR, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, 8pm

Mon, Jul 11, Sacramento, CA, Crest Theatre

Tues, Jul 12, Jacksonville, OR, Britt Pavilion, 8:45pm

Thur, Jul 14, Tucson, AZ, Tucson Music Hall, 7:30pm

Fri, Jul 15, Las Vegas, NV, The Smith Center, 7:30pm

Sat, Jul 16, Scottsdale, AZ, Talking Stick Resort Ballroom, 8pm

Sun, Jul 17, Costa Mesa, CA, Pacific Amphitheatre

Sat, Jul 30, Wallingford, CT, Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre, 7:30pm

Sun, Jul 31, Wilkes-Barre, PA, F.M. Kirby Center for the Arts

Mon, Aug 1, Ocean City, NJ, Ocean City Music Pier, 7pm SOLD OUT

Tues, Aug 2, Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center,

Wed, Aug 3, Syracuse, NY, Landmark Theatre

Fri, Aug 5, Manistee, MI, Little River Casino Resort, 9pm

Sun, Aug 7, West Allis, WI, Wisconsin State Fair - Main Stage, 7:30pm

Tues, Aug 9, Rochester, NY, Kodak Center,

Wed, Aug 10, Kettering, OH, Fraze Pavilion, 8pm

Thur, Aug 11, Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium, 7:30pm

Fri, Aug 12, New Buffalo, MI, Four Winds Casino Resort, 9pm

Sun, Aug 14, Northfield, OH, MGM Northfield Park, 7:30pm

Thur, Aug 18, Shipshewana, IN, Blue Gate Performing Arts Center, 8pm

Fri, Aug 19, Aurora, IL, Paramount Theatre

Sat, Aug 20, St. Charles, MO, The Family Arena, 7:30pm

Sun, Aug 21, Kansas City, MO, Muriel Kauffman Center, 7pm

Tues, Aug 23, Louisville, KY, Kentucky State Fair, 8pm

Wed, Aug 24, Effingham, IL, Effingham Performance Center, 7:30pm

Thur, Aug 25, Des Moines, IA, Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30pm

Sun, Aug 28, Deadwood, SD, Deadwood Mountain Grand, 7:30pm

Mon, Aug 29, Grand Island, NE, Nebraska State Fair, 2pm

When you attend these concerts this summer, be sure and post pictures of yourself at the shows on The Buckinghams' Facebook page. We want to see YOU there.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Happy Birthday, Nick Fortuna!

May 1st is an easy date to remember for any fans of The Buckinghams—it’s Nick Fortuna’s Birthday! Last night on 77WABC Radio, during Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock ‘n’ Roll Party, he was interviewing Carl Giammarese and they were discussing how Carl and Nick had been friends for 60 years now, going all the way back to high school. So, Carl wished Nick a very Happy Birthday coast-to-coast and Cousin Brucie wished "Cousin Nick" a great birthday as well. So, this birthday celebration began a little early this year. A very thoughtful gesture from Cousin Brucie, who's long been an advocate for the music of The Buckinghams.

So, we thought it would be fun to look at Nick’s pictures over the years. He is just like fine Italian wine—just gets better with age!

Here’s a photo by photo professional Kerry Quinn of the RI Blogger from The Buckinghams’ most recent concert (with The Box Tops) in Woonsocket, Rhode Island at the Stadium Theatre:

and another action photo she took as he imitates the host of the "Really Big Shoe":

Here are a few more from recent concerts, courtesy of several different friends who’ve shared them. Thanks to Nancy for these next two picures.

And let’s go back to the Happy Together Tour in 1985. The very first Happy Together Tour took place in 1984. The next year, the tour was sponsored by Members Only (manufacturers of men's cologne and clothing)--this was the year The Buckinghams were on the tour for the first time, together withThe Turtles and Gary Lewis & The Playboys among others. That particular year was special as it made the list of Top 10 Grossing Tours in the United States per Pollstar. You may notice a few things different about Nick's look back then:

Whether or not Nick had a beard, he's always had his trademark mustache. You can still recognize Nick in any photograph, even going back to the earliest days he was in The Buckinghams. Remember he and Carl Giammarese, Jerry Elarde, and Curtis Bachman were in The Centuries, before there ever was a band called Buckinghams! Now, flash back to 1966 and 1967 and here's the Nick you first met on the scene at sock hops and All-Time Hits and the very best days of growing up in Chicago.

Then, our first band together, the adjective "The Fabulous" was gifted to us by our manager Carl Bonafede, but here we are as The Centuries! Carl's cousin, Jerry Elarde, was the founder of the band and the drummer plus the lead vocalist. The three guitarists are Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, and Curtis Bachman. Photo courtesy of "Keep Rockin'" Magazine from October, 2009. Thanks to Liz and Lou Holly for keeping our music alive and thriving with this story they ran.

And then here’s elementary school (You can’t miss Nick in the second row). Does this man look to you like a future rock and roll star? Yeah, we think so, too!

All of us in The Buckinghams extended family and friends wish Nick an outstanding and very happy birthday and your best year ever in the year ahead!

If you'd like to add your own photograph of Nick to this story, please share your picture in the comments on Facebook and this story will be updated to include it permanently. If you met him at a concert, please identify the venue, city/state and year you all met. Please feel free to wish Nick a Happy Birthday in the comments on this story or on Facebook, or both.

More new concert photos at: https://thebuckinghamsconcertblog.blogspot.com/2022/04/the-buckinghams-and-box-tops-visit.html

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Buckinghams and the Box Tops Visit Blackstone Valley, Rhode Island

One of the nicest parts of being a national band is the opportunity to tour the United States each year and see old friends and meet new ones.

On April 15th The Buckinghams and good friends The Box Tops performed at the beautiful Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

In case you were wondering, Woonsocket is home to the headquarters of CVS Pharmacy, plus the Museum of Work and Culture. Woonsocket is a native American name for “thunder-mist” but the weather was perfect for us. The Stadium Theatre was an exquisite venue to perform in.

The Buckinghams were joined by three excellent Rhode Island horn players for the evening. They included Shawn Baptista on trumpet, Greg Washburn on sax, and Josh Kane on trombone.

Feedback on the show was so positive and it was great to meet everyone and make so many new friends after the show. Carl and Nick received high praise from an entertainment business professional who attended the show together with his wife.

Here’s an excerpt of his letter:

Hello Carl and Nick,

My wife and I were at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI for your show with The Box Tops. The word that best describes your performance and The Box Tops is outstanding!!! I have been involved in music for over 60 years which includes working in the Providence, RI radio market from 1968-1980. I’ve always enjoyed playing Buckinghams songs during my radio shows. Also wrote a music review column 1974-1981 and owned a music entertainment company for 25 years. Some bands who have been touring after 25 years and certainly 50 years later tend to be mediocre to good at best. Unfortunately, sometimes their songs do not sound close to or close enough to their original recordings. The Buckinghams performance was just the opposite…the songs you performed were excellent all the way around. This was one of the best concerts I’ve attended.. The Buckinghams should be very proud of all their accomplishments throughout the years. Thank you, ~~ Ray B.

Gary and the team at RI Blogger was such a pleasure to work with and they noted special thanks to Susan Rakis for all the follow-up, “She is an absolute professional” they said.

It’s always great to hear such positive feedback wherever we go! Congratulations, Susan! Thanks to all the great show promotion from RI Blogger, they had a full house and a perfect evening.

Enjoy some more photos that Kerry Quinn took that evening of the concert.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Carl Giammarese and Lisa McClowry Team Up for New Song in Time for 2022

One of the best things about being a creative artist is that the New Year is a time to look back at the preceding 365 days and assess where you’ve grown and stretched the preceding year. Asking yourself frankly, “So what did you do last year?” “Did you change any lives? “Did you tackle any new challenges?” you must answer honestly.

For an established musician or band, almost anytime you take a step away from “home base,” or the thing that audiences and fans know you for, you take a chance. What if, someone decides it’s a little different, or far afield, from what you’ve done before? What if, it showcases you in a brand new light? What happens to the original thing you’ve come to be known for? The answer is: You just made “great” become “greater.”

Simply put, it’s like the Grammy-winning Jim Peterik model of music. One day, he cowrites a new song with Brian Wilson for The Beach Boys (“That’s Why God Made the Radio”), or he presents his World Stage Project, or he does a video for his song “Prom Night in Pontiac” and then he’s off to perform with his fellow band members of 50+ years, The Ides of March, for a Cornerstones of Rock concert, and a few months before, he’s teamed up with fellow singer-songwriter Carl Giammarese in one of the shows they staged in Chicagoland in 2021: “Stories Behind the Songs.”

Bottom line: innovative performers need room (i.e., audience permission) to stretch, to grow, and to improve and to continue doing what they love best every day, without being confined to a singular musical framework under which we know them best. All this leads to our New Year’s Eve story of fortuitous happenstance and a new collaboration that has been part of a dynamic year of creativity for Carl Giammarese. As most worldwide music tours were on hold as the nation learned to adjust a little longer to the safety issues brought about by safety against COVID-19 variants, there was more “at home in the studio” time that Carl invested in building music projects he’d had on his desk to “do someday.”

Thanks to his having built his own recording studio at home, Giammarese’s ability to create new music extended beyond his guitar and a legal pad. His most recent solo project, “Living in the Moment” contained ten new love songs he wrote, while reflecting on his career up to 2016. His gratitude for being able to spend the past five decades doing what he loved every day of his life, performing with The Buckinghams, was enhanced by his newfound acceptance as a songwriter who really had something to say.

Fellow musician, Jim Peterik, iconic for multitasking creating new music, continuing hit songs with The Ides of March, producing and showcasing new artists to Chicagoland, some on his World Stage projects, and writing contemporary chart hits with other established hitmakers (e.g., The Beach Boys) are all part of his daily workweek.

It was Peterik who was among the first to encourage Carl to break out and continue as a songwriter, after having heard “Living in the Moment.” In the year 2020 Giammarese had the opportunity to put on his producer’s hat for two albums of originals and covers in the country-western genre from former Chicago resident and good friend, Ron Materick. Jim and Carl also performed together in 2021 for three sold-out audiences with their show, “Stories Behind the Songs” for appreciative audiences.

Carl then invited his cousin Gerald Elarde (original founder of The Centuries band) to sing on some tracks that he produced. The collaboration was dynamic and they’re on Spotify if you want to check them out.

Next, filmmaker Greg Bizarro (Jaffe Productions) suggested to Giammarese that he hear the work of singer Lisa McClowry, who calls Chicago home currently, as he thought there was a special potential blend to their voices. Without meeting in person, in this day of technical wizardry, a collaboration began. Lisa suggested a new arrangement for “Don’t You Care,” a signature hit for The Buckinghams (written by James Holvay and Gary Beisbier), a song Carl had been singing fulltime for over 40 years.

Willing to try something new, though, Giammarese and McClowry worked back and forth by phone and e-mail and their first song, “Don’t You Care” resulted. Buckinghams’ fans were enthusiastic and appreciative for the new music. McClowry is a respected singer and collaborator on many music projects among Chicago’s musicians. Following the debut of the song, a virtual official video was constructed and both singers liked the feedback they got.

A second collaboration on the Melody Gardot-Sting hit, “Little Something” proved successful for Giammarese and McClowry. The new collaboration had already been doubly productive and the two singers had still not met in person due to Lisa’s busy travel schedule as part of the highly respected Legends showcase, a tribute to the icon herself, Cher. Coincidentally, in the 1960s, Sonny & Cher were on tour on the same package shows with The Buckinghams for a time.

In the meantime, Carl had also been working on a driving dynamic duet with Chicago-based singer Dave Mikulskis. Of course, this is what you do if you’re a musician during a world pandemic, right? More on that later.

Carl had been reviewing songs he’d written recently and sent Lisa a track for review. She loved the song and suggested they rewrite some of the words to turn it into a duet vs. a solo song. Carl agreed and on January 1, 2022, their newly coauthored song, “I Will Love You Forever” drops across all digital streaming services. The duo could not be more excited for audiences to hear their collaboration.

The multitalented McClowry also designed the cover art as she called on other of her gifts and talents as an artist who studied at Chicago’s prestigious Art Institute.

Noted producer John Blasucci, keyboardist for the Dennis DeYoung band and gifted creator of the brilliant ensemble Luminare (currently based in Utah) added his skills to the track, and the result is your New Year’s Day gift from Giammarese and McClowry.

You’ll get to preview the track if you tune into the Steve King and Johnnie Putman show on WGN Radio (720 AM) starting at 3:00 p.m. Friday, December 30th. Both Carl and Lisa will be guests of Steve and Johnnie’s show at approximately 6:15 p.m. A few giveaways are promised, too.

Check out the debut of their new single, and then you can go to Facebook/YouTube/Spotify/Pandora/Apple Music or wherever you hear your digital streaming, starting on New Year’s Day 2022 and save the song to your Likes and your Library.

So much creativity in the air from 2021 bodes well for exciting new outcomes for 2022. The Buckinghams will be on Concerts at Sea later in January, plus they will be special guests of America (on their 50th Anniversary Tour) on Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL. UPDATE! In case you missed hearing Steve and Johnnie's interview with Carl and Lisa on New Year's Eve, visit this link to hear the interview.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Cornerstones of Rock Concert Host Ron Onesti Inspires Record Donations for Dick Biondi Film Documentary

When you get a concert ticket to a show you're looking forward to, you’re not expecting anything out of the ordinary beyond a great performance.

For Chicago filmmaker Pamela Pulice, though, Saturday’s Cornerstones of Rock Concert was an unforgettable surprise, thanks to the generosity of Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti and the Cornerstones artists. [Photo by Jim Summaria.]

When Ron called Pam Pulice and Joseph Farina, Director of Marketing & Communications for the film, to the stage, they didn't realize that two music lovers were in the audience, both of whom were poised for maximum generosity, could change the film's future so quickly. Backstage, all the musicians of the Cornerstones bands had autographed a guitar for auction. Onesti went to work as auctioneer and funds for the Biondi documentary were secured. In fact, a second guitar was signed and auctioned to another winning bidder for the same amount.

This photo shows Ron Onesti, Pam Pulice, and Joe Farina, congratulating Greg Ellis and Lynn Steffen for the guitars they won, each with winning bids of $3,500. These funds, together with monies Onesti helped Pulice and Farina raise at the September Cornerstones concert were--at last--sufficient to pay for the remaining music licensing needed to take the documentary to the next level.

Yes, even more contributions are needed before fund-raising concludes, but this was a major hurdle that was achieved thanks to substantial generosity by all involved. They are “almost” to the finish line. Yes, you can ask how many more times can fans hear that and not be slightly frustrated, and you'd be right. Then, you just have to ask yourself how many people would be touched by the inexplicable desire to offer homage and respect to a man on the radio whose kindness to Chicagoland teens and up and coming bands would change their lives forever?

It's more than special that the two winners of the bidding on the guitars are Ellis and Steffan.

Saturday's Cornerstones event marked the 127th time in the past years that Greg Ellis has seen The Buckinghams perform in concert. That's in Chicagoland and regionally as well. Greg has traveled to support the music of the band he highly respects and he has the ticket stubs as well as some videos he posts on Facebook. That's a record number of concerts for any one fan to have attended.

Also, Lynn Steffen has been on board as a major sponsor of the Biondi film for at least two years. You can see a brief clip of Lynn with Joe Farina here:

Here’s a trailer of the film hopefully to appear commercially very soon:

If you listened to Dick Biondi during any of your teenage years, whether he was on air at WLS in Chicago, or in Los Angeles or on any other station where "the wild Itralian" was broadcasting, find out how to join this worthy endeavor here.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Reflection: Year-Long Planning Produces Spectacular Chicago Columbus Day Parade

To those in Chicago who look forward to attending the annual Columbus Day Parade, it is especially memorable for those of Italian heritage, thanks to Christopher Columbus, whom we celebrate for discovering America in 1492. Pride in family heritage runs strong, in Chicago and in every city across the country, but in the case of Chicago's Columbus Day annual celebration, one need only look to the JCCIA, which stands for the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.

When JCCIA current president Ron Onesti, CEO of Onesti Entertainment (The Arcada, Des Plaines Theatre, and several other venues), was planning for the 2021 Columbus Day Parade, he reached out to the Sanfilippo family (Jasper’s widow Marian and their five children who are involved in the success of the business still today—John, Jim, Jeffrey, Lisa, and Jasper). Jasper B. Sanfilippo was one of Chicago’s most respected philanthropists, who founded a company built on nut and snack foods called John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. Jasper instilled his personal pride and passion in working your hardest and best to help your community. His recent passing made it only right to honor the elder Sanfilippo at this year's parade.

Every parade needs a queen so, on August 1, 2021, this year’s festival parade held its contest for choosing their queen. Ron invited Carl Giammarese John Leanardi, Diva Montell, Ivana DiPiero, Miranda Fenzau, and Carole DiFrisco to be judges for Queen of the 2021 Columbus Day Parade.

John Leanardi captured this photo of the judges (Ron Onesti, JCCIA president in the back).

The Sanfilippo Estate was a lovely and historic site for the competition to take place. In some of the photos, you'll see where Jasper Sr. had a great love of music and a strong collection of music instruments at his home, called the “Place de la Musique” in Barrington, Illinois. He passed away in late January, 2020, and because the 2020 Columbus Day Parade was postponed due to COVID, it was most appropriate to celebrate Jasper’s legacy this year, in a way that matched all the philanthropy he and his family provided the city during his lifetime.

Attendee Lyn Scolaro took these photos of the judging round of very tough competition. Contestants’ names were: Nica A, Isabella F, Olimpia G, Olivia G, Mackenzie L, Francesca R, Abigail Rose T. Other photos from JCCIA members.

The winner was Isabella B.

The entire Sanfilippo family is very generous in permitting the use of their estate for special events for nonprofit organizations they support. What a beautiful place to judge a competition!

Here's Ron Onesti with the Columbus Day parade queen and her court:

The next story that follows will look behind the scenes of the actual Columbus Day Parade.

[Special thanks to Stephanie Johnson of Onesti Entertainment for contributing to this story.]