Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Radio Icon Jerry Blavat Hosts Star-Studded Street Corner Harmony Show at the Kimmel Center, May 3

APRIL 10, 2009

Featuring Special Guests The Duprees, The Cadillacs, Baby Washington, The Chantels, The Demensions, Lewis Lymon with a Salute to Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, The Paragons and The Jesters

Philly's own radio icon Jerry Blavat transports audiences back to the good ol' days with Street Corner Harmony on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 7:30pm in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall. A star-studded line-up of special guests reprise feel-good hits from the 50s and 60s, featuring The Duprees, renowned for mixing doo-wop vocals with big band arrangements in hits like "You Belong to Me"; The Cadillacs, of "Speedo" fame; sultry soul vocalist Baby Washington; female R&B quintet The Chantels; and The Demensions, best known for their doo-wop version of "Over the Rainbow."

Also on the bill, Lewis Lymon pays tribute to his late brother Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, featuring "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"; Jamaican rock-steady band The Paragons perform "The Tide Is High" and The Jesters deliver classic New York-style doo-wop harmonies.

Party with DJ Mark the Spark as he spins tunes in the Commonwealth Plaza prior to and following the ticketed Jerry Blavat's Street Corner Harmony event in Verizon Hall. The 6pm party will be broadcast live on WLVT-FM 92.1.

This concert is part of the World & Pop Series scheduled for the Kimmel Center Presents 2008-09 season. The next concert in the series will be Peter, Paul & Mary on Sunday, June 14, 2009.

Tickets for Jerry Blavat's Street Corner Harmony are $41, $46, $56, $71 and $81 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, or at the Kimmel Center box office open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply.) For group sales call 215-790-5883.

A limited number of $10 tickets are available for every Kimmel Center Presents performance at the Kimmel Center. Tickets go on sale the day of the event and can be purchased at the Kimmel Center box office beginning at 5:30pm prior to curtain time and 11:30am for matinees. Limit one ticket per person.

With more than 45 years of radio experience, South Philadelphia bred "Boss with the Hot Sauce" and "Geator with the Heater" Jerry Blavat was the first DJ to play hits such as "Sherry" by the Four Seasons and "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers on air in the Philadelphia region. Beginning in March 1965, Blavat produced and hosted the "Discophonic Scene" on WCAU-TV 10, featuring only live performances, including the Supremes' only Philadelphia television appearance. In 1967, WIFL-TV 6 offered Blavat a daily show called "Jerry's Place," which was eventually syndicated coast-to-coast in 42 markets. Blavat began hosting "On the Air with the Geator" in 1992 and "Backstage with Jerry Blavat" in 1997. In 1998, he was one of the radio greats inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since then, Blavat has appeared on the PBS fundraising events "Doo Wop 50" and "Doo Wop 51."

The Duprees, renown for their romantic interpretations of some of the most beautiful love songs ever written, have made a career out of giving new life to old hits. Formed by Michael J. Arnone in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the early 1960's, The Duprees originally consisted of Arnone, John Salvato, Tommy Bialoglow, Joey Canzano and Joey Santollo. The band was discovered by George Paxton, former big band leader, who signed them to his Coed Records, recording the nationwide hit "You Belong To Me" with big band arrangements. The group's other top 40 hits include "My Own True Love," a vocal adaptation of "Tara's Theme" from the soundtrack of Gone with the Wind; "Have You Heard"; and "Why Don't You Believe Me." In 2006, The Duprees were officially inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The Cadillacs originally came together in Harlem in the early 1950's as The Carnations with Earl Carroll, LaVerne Drake, Gus Willingham and Robert Phillips. As the group moved into the recording studios, they were renamed The Cadillacs by manager Esther Navarro. The group released its first recording in 1954, featuring the romantic "Gloria" and the up-tempo "I Wonder Why." The band's biggest hit, "Speedo," was released in October 1955. That same year, the band was booked by Cleveland-based disc jockey Alan Freed for his Christmas show at the Academy of Music, which itself was a major turning point in the history of rock 'n' roll as it drew in an unprecedented contingent of white teenagers. The band has since continued to tour and record in various incarnations, and released a comeback record in the early 1990s. In 2004, The Cadillacs were officially inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Born in South Carolina but raised in Harlem, Justine "Baby" Washington's earthy yet sophisticated voice epitomized uptown soul in hits like the classic "That's How Heartaches Are Made." Washington got her start with vocal group The Hearts in 1956, becoming a solo artist the following year. She established herself as a major soul singer, recording chart-toppers "The Time," "The Bells" and "Nobody Cares." Washington hit the U.S. national Top 40 with "That's How Heartaches Are Made" (1963) and the U.S. R&B Top 10 with "Only Those In Love" (1965). She revived her career in the early 70s, recording in Philadelphia a duet with Don Gardner, a revival of the Marvelettes' "Forever" and a solo release I've Got To Break Away. Washington was among the 2008 honorees in Community Works' Ladies Singing the Blues music series. She was awarded the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1995.

One of the first female R&B vocal groups to have nationwide success, The Chantels brought a new dimension to rock 'n' roll and R&B songs with their choir-like sound and close-knit harmonies. The Chantels launched their careers in 1956 on New York City's Broadway, where they were discovered by Richard Barrett, lead singer of The Valentines. The group's single "Maybe" became a major national hit and made The Chantels stars overnight in 1958. Other hits include "Every Night," "Whoever You Are," "I Love You So," "How Could You Call It Off," "Look In My Eyes" and "Goodbye To Love," among many others. The group received rave reviews nationwide in 1999 for their live performance on PBS's "Doo Wop 50," which featured the best vocal group stars of the 1950's and 60's. The Chantels had the privilege of appearing in concert at the World Trade Center in July 2001 and also appearing in front of an audience of over 125,000 people in June 2002 at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The Chantels were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

Formed on the street corners of Brooklyn, The Demensions were one of the most visible vocal groups of the early '60s, renowned for their ultra-warm vocal harmonies. In addition to performing regularly at Palisades Park in New Jersey, the quartet appeared on the nationally broadcast American Bandstand and the New York-aired Clay Cole Show. The group's talents were heralded by influential disc jockey Cousin Brucie of New York radio station WINS, who was the first to air "Over the Rainbow" in 1960. The group also charted with 1962's "My Foolish Heart," which peaked at number 95 early in 1963. In 1992, The Demensions recorded again for the first time since 1963, releasing Beyond the Rainbow, which included new renditions of "Over the Rainbow" and "My Foolish Heart," featuring original lead vocalist Lenny Dell.

True trendsetters in the early days of rock 'n' roll, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, all between the ages of 13 and 16, got their start in the Washington Heights section of New York City in 1954. Their first single, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," rose to number six on the Billboard pop singles chart and reached number one in England, the first R&B/ rock 'n' roll record by an American vocal group to do so. Other hits include "I Want You to Be My Girl," "I Promise to Remember," "Who Can Explain" and "ABCs of Love." The group appeared in Alan Freed's classic teen film Rock, Rock, Rock, and performed at the world-famous London Palladium and in the Queen's chambers for Princess Margaret in 1956. In 1983, a reincarnated version of the group did a PBS documentary as a tribute to their music and to Frankie, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 26. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. Frankie's brother Lewis Lymon got his start as a member the Harlem quintet the Teenchords in 1956, with hits such as "I'm So Happy," "Honey Honey" and "Lydia." He continues to perform seven nights a week in Las Vegas.

Formed in Kingston, Jamaica, The Paragons were originally made up of Garth "Tyrone" Evans, Bob Andy, Junior Menz and Leroy Stamp. The early Paragons sound was heavily influenced by American soul music with the tight, interlocking harmony style of Jamaican vocal trios and quartets of the early '60s. In 1964, the group caught the attention of legendary producer Coxsone Dodd who immediately brought the group to Jamaica's famous Studio One and cut a succession of popular singles such as "Love At Last" and "Good Luck and Goodbye" for producer Duke Reid's label Treasure Isle. The group eventually softened their soulful sound for a more root-heavy rock-steady approach, becoming the most popular rock-steady vocal act in Jamaica and in Britain.

New York-based The Jesters came together in 1955, and were signed by Paul Winley for his Winley label in 1957. Their first release, "So Strange"/"Love No One But You" was a double-sided hit in the New York area in the summer of 1957, followed by "Please Let Me Love You." "The Plea," a remake of The Chantels' hit, made it to number 74 of the Billboard pop chart in 1958. "I Laughed"/"Now That You're Gone" from the summer of 1958 was the last record to feature the original group. In 1960 a new line-up recorded The Jesters' most successful song, "The Wind," a remake of the 1954 Diablos hit. The Paragons Meet The Jesters (1959), a compilation album with the band The Paragons featuring vocal duels inspired by doo-wop's street corner singing battles and live show group competitions, was one of the most commercially successful doo-wop compilations ever released.

Kimmel Center Presents' 2008/2009 Season is sponsored by Citi. The Great Orchestras Series is supported by 10 Rittenhouse Square. Additional support is provided by the University of Pennsylvania Health System, American Express, and Interpark. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Kimmel Center Presents. NBC-10 is a media partner for Kimmel Center Presents.

Free in the Plaza programming and subsidized tickets offered to the community and social service groups for $10 are made possible through the Wachovia Gateway to the Arts Community Access Program, supported by a generous grant from the Wachovia Foundation.

The Kimmel Center is the recipient of partnership funding through the nationally recognized PNC Grow Up Great initiative, a ten-year, $100 million investment in preparing children for success in school and life. Funding gives support to the Kimmel Center's early childhood program Bop and Swing, an arts program for children 1-5 years old, designed to promote an appreciation for American culture.


Sunday, May 3, 2009 | 7:30pm
Verizon Hall
World & Pop Series

Jerry Blavat's Street Corner Harmony

The Duprees
The Cadillacs
Baby Washington
The Chantels
The Demensions
Lewis Lymon
The Paragons
The Jesters


Sunday, May 3, 2009 | 6pm and 11pm
Commonwealth Plaza | Free at the Kimmel
Geator Dance Party with DJ Mark the Spark

Party with the Geator and DJ Mark the Spark as they spin tunes in the Commonwealth Plaza prior to and following the ticketed Jerry Blavat's Street Corner Harmony event in Verizon Hall. The 6pm party will be broadcast live on WLVT-FM 92.1.

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