The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 11, 2013

Groups will bring doo-wop to Pasquerilla arts center

BY TOM LAVIS
TLAVIS@TRIBDEM.COM

JOHNSTOWN — Kenny Vance is proud to say that he found his musical niche five decades ago, and he’s still going strong.

The fedora-wearing musician has enjoyed a wealth of success and is treating people of all ages to the best of doo-wop.

Vance and his group, the Planotones, along with The Fabulous Hubcaps, will perform at 6:30 p.m. April 28 at  Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road in Richland Township.

Before the Planotones, Vance’s band was Jay and the Americans, whose hits included “Only in America,” “Come a Little Bit Closer” and “Cara Mia.”

“As a kid growing up in New York, I would slip into a black nightclub to hear such legends as Sam Cook, Jackie Wilson, the Coasters and the Drifters,” Vance said.

“Our goal is to deliver an authentic portrayal of what that music was, as long as I can still do it.”

Vance said his voice remains strong and he is amazed at its range. Time has not taken a toll on his ability to sing the falsetto style that has made him famous.

“I sometimes startle myself,” quipped Vance. “I know the note I’m going for, and do it. I dread the day when I go for it and it won’t be there.”

The Planotones’ material is influenced by the music of the ’50s and ’60s.

Vance is touring in support of the group’s latest CD, “Acapella.” It features the group’s tight harmony and includes an array of classic doo-wop favorites.

His style is captured in the spirit of the music.

“I view this as an opportunity to use music as an educational document for younger generations,” Vance said.

Throughout his career as a singer, composer, actor, music supervisor and producer, Vance has promoted doo-wop with the dignity it deserves.

In “Eddie and the Cruisers,” Vance played a major role.

“In the film, when Sal Amato (Matthew Laurance) sang ‘Those Oldies but Goodies,’ I was the one doing the singing,” Vance said.

He also served as music supervisor of the film and soundtrack album, which resulted in a triple platinum seller.

Vance started wearing his signature fedora when he appeared in the 1991 movie “Billy Bathgate,” starring Dustin Hoffman.

The film was the story of gangster Dutch Schultz, portrayed by Hoffman.

“I played one of the gangsters in the film, and I got to keep my suit,” Vance said with a laugh. “I loved the suit, but little did I know the hat would become my trademark.”

Vance formed Kenny Vance and the Planotones in 1992.

Also appearing will be The Fabulous Hubcaps, which have released 17 recordings, including its most recent, “Did Somebody Say … Keep on Rockin’.”

Performing together since 1974, this seven-piece band continues to captivate audiences with its high-energy tributes to original artists such as Little Richard, Elvis, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, The Shirelles, Beach Boys and Mamas and Pappas.

Tickets cost $38 and $45 and are available by calling the box office at 269-7200 or 800-846-2787 or online at www.upjarts.org.

Noteworthy

What: Kenny Vance & The Planotones with The Fabulous Hubcaps.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

When: 6:30 p.m. April 28.

Tickets: Available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the box office or by calling 269-7200, 800-846-2787 or visit www.upjarts.org.

Cost: $38 and $45.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.