Freetown Man Reuniting with Legendary Doo Wop Group
It's heart-wrenching and agonizing when the musical groups that we grew up with decide to break up.
My kids lamented NSYNC's split, and the day The Beatles parted ways was like putting a "Dead End" sign along the long and winding road! Who can forget the dissolve of other legendary groups like The Supremes, Led Zeppelin and Cream?
Such is also the case when one of America's great early rock vocal groups, the Del Vikings, dispersed. Enter Todd Baptista, local pioneer of preserving the legacy of the Doo-Wop era artists and their iconic music.
For the last 20 years, Todd has been producing shows with legendary stars, and on April 14, he is bringing together for the first time in over 45 years, the Del Vikings!
Wait, it gets better. Not only has he arranged for a historic reunion of the Del Vikings, who recorded hits such as "Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells" to take place on the stage of the Zeiterion Theater, but one of the original members is a local resident!
Joe Lopes, original Del Vikings guitarist and vocalist, lives in East Freetown and is a retired employee of Polaroid. Lopes, now 83, last performed with the group in 1959.
In what he is calling “The Del Vikings Alumni Reunion,” Todd has arranged for 80-year-old Ritzy Lee (joined in 1959 and last performed in 1996, 76-year-old Doug White (joined 1960, last performed 1996), 65-year-old Terry Young (joined 1969, last performed 1973) and one younger gentleman, Jason Powell, to take the stage on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Z.
The last time these guys were on the stage together was 45 years ago in Boston! Now, they’re coming from all over the country to reunite right here on the SouthCoast.
The entire group, along with Todd, will be in studio on The Phil Paleologos Morning Show at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 13.
Not only will it air live on the radio and on the free WBSM app, but we will also be streaming live video of the reunion on WBSM TV on the WBSM YouTube channel.
So be sure to tune in for this exclusive interview!
Other iconic Doo Wop artists performing that night include La La Brooks, formerly lead singer of The Crystals (“Then He Kissed Me,” “Da Doo Ron Ron”), The New Mystics (“Hushabye”) with original members Phil Cracoli and George Galfo, and The Orlons (“Wah Watusi,” “South Street”) with original member Stephen Caldwell.
Great seats available at Zeiterion.org or by calling the box office at (508) 994-2900.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. His show can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.