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September 2, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 2,2011 Page 13 ir r, Nanna 00Babb'00onno It was at this point in time in 1960, I had graduated college that June and Bab- bononno, who didn't under- stand higher education and what it could do for some- one's future, was proud of the accomplishments of his first born grandson. His nostalgic comments included, "I justa wisha Nanna coulda live to see you fineesha schoola. She be so prouda whata you do." I smiled and acknowledged that Nanna would have been proud. She had passed away in 1958 due to terminal breast cancer. Gus Sullivan, the coach at Boston State College, had gotten me a tryout with a Cincinnati Reds farm team, and I was ready to head to the Midwest. Dad asked me what I was going to do for a job if I didn't surMve double A base- ball. I didn't have the answer until a friend from college, Paul Ciccarelli, called and told me that Tewksbury High School was looking for two shop teachers. We both applied for the jobs and after the interviews, were offered contracts: Paul to teach wood- working and I to teach draft- ing and design. I never mentioned anything about baseball to the people in Tewksbury but signed the contract anyway. Baseball in the Midwest was fun and I did rather well as a middle infielder. I did have three problems in front of me: Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion and Joe Gordon. I was good, but they were great, and I didn't stand a chance. That September, I reported to Tewksbury High School for my first real job as an adult. I, like my father before me who played with the Reds as a utility catcher for one season, decided that I would make more money playing bass than baseball and began to teach that fall and play music on the side. The problem with my job in Tewksbury was that I lived in East Boston. Paul Ciccarelli called me to say that there were two teachers from Winthrop who were on the faculty at Tewksbury High School and we could car pool with them. Joe Crotty and Jim Dimento outlined their routine and Paul and I joined in right after Labor Day. As I said, my problem was the distance. With hav- ing to get up at 5:30 am, I couldn't play music during the week and get enough sleep to make things work, by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance ill so music would have to be a weekend activity. I did receive a call from a bartender friend of mine ask- ing if I and my group would like to audition for a week- end job at the Charterhouse Hotel where he worked, For those of you not old enough to remember the place, it was just over the line from Point of Pines as you enter Lynn. There was China Sails on the right, followed by the Charterhouse, just about where the deserted Building 19 is today. When I called the manager, I was told that they only wanted a piano and a bass in the lounge. I called Tony Poto, a fellow East Bostonian who had been with me playing college func- tions for four years, and we headed to Lynn to audition. The manager was a man named Marvin Newmark and, for whatever reason, took an immediate dislike to Tony and me. We played some of the tunes in our rep- ertoire but the man wasn't impressed and made nega- tive comments after each selection. There was another couple who joined him to lis- ten after the first song was played. They were fortyish and looked Italian. The woman asked if we knew a tune named Joey-Joey. Tony asked if they would like him to sing the lyrics and they smiled and nodded with approval. We played the song and Tony sang the words, with Mr. Newmark making a negative comment once we finished. The couple that requested the song ap- plauded, with the man giving New-mark a dirty look. The woman whispered in her companion's ear and he nod- ded back in the affirmative. He then turned to us and said, "My name is Dante Masseri and I am the CEO of this hotel. You are hired." With that, Newmark walked out of the audition. The Masseris commented that they had a young son named Joey and that little- known song that we played was his favorite. A bit later, I signed a contract to play at the hotel with Mr. Masseri adding that I would answer to him only. The school year and the weekend gig both got under way and baseball was put on a back burner never to crop up again. Monday through Friday at about 5:15 am, I would meet the members of the "East Boston Express," the name given to our carpool, and we would drive -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE View past issues of the Post-Gazette online at WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 ..... H - r .... ii iii to Tewksbury. Paul and I had bus duty in both the morning and afternoon and seven classes in a row with only twenty minutes for lunch. We were the new kids on the block and stuck with the worst schedules imaginable. Needless to say, I wasn't able to play during the week seeing that most musical engagements ended at 12:00 midnight or later and I had to be up at 5:30 in the morning. The job at the Charterhouse Hotel was from 8 to 12 on Friday and Saturday nights and didn't interfere with teaching. One problem did occur, though. Around Christmas time that year, Mr. Masseri asked if I could add a female singer to the group, and I called someone I had worked with in another group. Her name was Arlene Bailey, and she fit in beautifully. Her voice and our style of playing blended perfectly. The only problem was that this was in the early 1960s, and racially mixed groups were some- thing that was considered a "no-no." Mr. Newmark was ready to fire us that first night that Arlene sang with us but knew that we answered directly to Dante Masseri. Once that first evening's per- formance ended, Masseri called me to the office to discuss the situation. My answer to him reflected my views. "Mr. Masseri, Arlene is the best local singer I know of. I think with her added to my duo, your cock- tail lounge audience will look past the color line and accept us as three qualified performers, not an interra- cial group trying to make a statement. Fortunately, he responded with a positive attitude, and I now had a trio. Within a month, we had a packed house every Friday and Saturday, and the subject of color never came up again. Both jobs lasted about a year. The Masseris sold out of the hotel business, and the new owners decided to eliminate the lounge. The group broke up following the engagement. Tony didn't want to play weekends any more, Arlene had other job offers and I began knocking on doors in New York for weekend work. I bargained with the administration at the high school for free time during the day without bus duty but didn't get it in writ- ing. The second year started out the same as the first with my superiors denying the promises they had made about a new schedule. Dur- ing that first month of my second year, I received a call from the Boston schools. They had a job for me. I gave two weeks notice and then began a 20 year stay at Hyde Park High School. Babbononno and my father both made comments on how my personality took an upswing after that change. ' GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) from February 2 through May 27, 2012. "The McMullen is pleased to share the distinguished and unparalleled collections of the Society of Antiquaries with a North American au- dience and to have the op- portunity to celebrate the Society's contribution to more than three hundred years of writing history," says McMullen Museum Director and Professor of Art History Nancy Netzer, who is a Fellow of the Society. This exhibition has been organized by the Society of Antiquaries of London in association with the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College and the Yale Center for British Art. It has been curated by Nancy Net- zer, Director of the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston Col- lege and Elisabeth Fairman, Senior Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Yale Center for British Art, in association with Heather Rowland, Head of Library and Collections, and Julia Dudkiewicz, Collections Man- ager, Society of Antiquaries of London. "We are delighted to be working in partnership with two such prestigious univer- sity museums and to have such a wonderful opportunity to introduce the Society to an American audience," said Maurice Howard, Presi- dent of the Society of Anti- quaries of London, who will attend a private event at Bos- ton College to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. Among exhibition high- lights are detailed records of lost buildings and objects, an outstdnding collection of panel paintings including royal portraits from Henry VI to Mary I and works from the Arts and Crafts movement by fellow William Morris, who left his house, Kelmscott Manor, to the Society. These works are displayed along- side loans from the cel- ebrated collection of the Yale Center for British Art includ- ing rare books and paintings and drawings by Samuel Palmer, Edward Burne-Jones and Augustus Welby Pugin. A related exhibition on the inspiration of the Society of Antiquaries on the found- ing of the Massachusetts Historical Society will be mounted at the Massachu- setts Historical Society. The McMullen Museum is renowned for organizing interdisciplinary exhibitions that ask new questions in the display and scholarship of the works on view. It "Queen Mary of England," an oil on oak panels painted by Hans Eworth in 1554, is among the royal portraits in the exhibi- tion "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain" on view at the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College from September 4 through December 11. (Photo courtesy of Mary Curran) serves as a dynamic educa- tional resource for all of New England as well as the national and international community. The Museum mounts exhibitions of inter- national scholarly impor- tance from all periods and cultures of the history of art. In keeping with the University's central teach- ing mission, the Museum's exhibitions are accompa- nied by scholarly catalogues and related public programs. The McMullen Museum of Art was named in 1996 by the late BC benefactor, trustee and art collector, John J. McMullen and his wife, Jacqueline McMullen. Located in Devlin Hall on BC's Chestnut Hill campus at 140 Commonwealth Avenue, the McMullen Museum is handicapped accessible and open to the public. Museum admission is free. Hours during this exhibi- tion are: Monday through Fri- day, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. Group tours may be arranged upon request by calling 617-552-8587. For directions, parking and information on public pr, log on to artmuseum. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening website, In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) K 3 M00echan.i ca. I Fully InsuredLic #017936 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs @