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November 30, 2012     Post-Gazette
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November 30, 2012

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'>7 .( POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 30, 2012 Page 13 Babb onno A Nostalgic Remembrance . Socially Scene (Continued from Page 9) Back in the day, the week after Thanksgiving brought the musicians in my family into the Christmas season and that was our busiest time of the year. Up until the 1970s, most music was live. DJs were just coming into vogue and there was a reason why. Many of the older musicians refused or couldn't play the music the younger people liked to listen and dance to. They came up with every reason in the book as to the nega- tives attached, especially to rock and roll, but whether they couldn't feel it or understand it, they didn't want to play it. Most of the rock groups couldn't play the traditional dance music and the compromise was to hire a DJ. Dad and Uncles Nick and Paul played mainly society music, working with the dance bands of Boston. If I was not playing steady somewhere, I would let it be known that I was available and the work rolled in. Back then there were Christmas parties day and night up un- til December 24th. For many years Dad played at Santa's Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh. New York had Macy's and Gimbel's but Boston had Filches and Jordan Marsh. Jordan's, as most Boston- ians called the long gone department store, each Christmas season would have Santa Claus stationed in their Enchanted Village and during the afternoons of the Christmas season had a trio dressed in Tyrolean cos- tumes playing for the kids and their parents. Dad was the bass player with the trio. Danny Cavicchio played ac- cordion and Charlie Opper was on violin. They were quite a site dressed with lederhosen (Swiss leather short pants with suspend- ers), knee length stockings (and cheaper) than hunting for a parking space. I was teaching school in Boston beginning in the early '60s, but was able to book late afternoon Christ- mas parties in downtown. I really never worked with Dad as we played the same instrument, bass violin, but many times I worked with Uncle Nick who played tenor sax and often led the small groups that played through- out the city. The nights were just as busy during the Christmas season. There were many parties held in the function rooms of Boston hotels and private clubs. Organizations like the K of C, the VFW, Sons of Italy and dozens more all held parties in their buildings, usually in the suburbs which made it easier on the parking situ- ation as most had their own parking lots. If all of us were playing and finished early we would head to our house where Mom and Babbononno would be waiting with a pot of coffee and something to eat in case we hadn't eaten on the job. Babbononno was long retired from the music business but lived again through the sto- ries the men in his family told about playing with the different bands we had worked with. He knew that we played what might be called the American song- book. All of the musicians who played these single en- gagements never used any written music. Whatever tune it was we memorized. Most of the top men in Bos- ton had at least 1,000 or more songs they could play from memory. If we played a set of, let's say, 6 songs, all we had to know was the key for each and as the leader would segue from one to the other he would hold up a series of fingers to indicate what the new key was. One finger for the key of F, two knew their fathers or uncles especially if they were Italian. Italians, Jews and African Americans domi- nated the music business back in the day. There were, of course, people from every other ethnic group, but the main body of commercial musicians were from those three backgrounds. During some of those years, I was working the night club scene, which meant that I couldn't play the parties that my Dad and uncle~.played. More oftg, n than not, parties were held at the night clubs by social or business groups which kind of put things on an equal level. As we headed into the 1970s, I met Dean Saluti and we became fast friends. He was in graduate school at the time and to earn tuition and living expenses was working as a bar tender at Lucifer's, one of three nightclubs located in the same building called the Kenmore Club in Kenmore Square. Uncle Nick knew the owner and I often would meet my uncle at Lucifer's for a last call drink. Chances were that we finished at either mid- night or 1:00 am and the club closed at 2:00 am. Once the club closed, Dean, Uncle Nick and I would head to Chinatown for a bite to eat before going home. Dean would tell stories about what happened in the club that night and who some of the people were that frequented the place and Uncle Nick and I would talk about the jobs we had played and how the people were into the spirit of the season. Dad wasn't interested in "hanging out" after a late job and would head home, so he wasn't part of the late night scene. Aunt Dorothy (Uncle Nick's wife) had retired and was living in Florida. As soon as the holidays were over, Frolic to Harvard Square to see the production of "The Christmas Revels." (Photo courtesy of the Sanders Theatre) conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, leads the BSO on Saturday December Ist in a trio of works by composers from his native country. Berlioz's dy- namic overture to the unfin- ished early opera Les Francs- juges, Albert Roussel's Suite No. 2 from his 1930 ballet Bacchus et Ariane and Saint- Saens s P/ano Concerto No. 5, Egyptian, with fellow French- man Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist. Also on the program are the Three Interludes from The Sacrifice, Scottish con- temporary composer James MacMillan's 2006 opera. So if you are off to grand- ma's or just to do some shop- ping in the New York area, you can catch this legendary concert on tour. For more info on this historic road trip, visit or call 617-266-1492 which can also be used if you are looking for a nice Saturday night at home in the Hub. The Christmas Revels .... In 1907, immigration from Europe to the new world of the United States was at a peak. The Irish formed a sig- nificant part of this reloca- tion, bringing with them their unique culture of po- etry, dance and music plus a powerful instinct for sur- vival. This year's Christmas Revels puts us on the deck of R.M.S. Carpathia as the hopeful ~migr~s create a wild and memorable Christ- mas at sea. An Irish Celebra- tion of the Winter Solstice is directed by Patrick Swanson and George Emlen is the Music Director. This is the show to start off the holidays; the original medieval Christmas Revels from which all their years of merry, musical mischief humblest villager, to join the fun. All the Revels standards are here including Susan Cooper's poem The Shortest Day and, of course, Lord of the Dance, marvelously sung by Revels founder John Langstaff as he does on the CD version that is available to buy as a stocking stuffer. With a powerful chorus, blazing jigs and reels, bold and lively children, fantas- tic stories, the best of Irish dancers and all the magical Revels touchstones like the joyous and participatory Lord of the Dance, this promises to be a very special Christ- mas at Sanders Theatre. There will be sixteen perfor- mances between December 14th and the 27% The Sand- ers Theatre is located at Harvard University in Cam- bridge. For more informa- tion, visit the Harvard box office ticket kiosk at 1350 Mass Ave. in Cambridge from 12:00 pm-- 6:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday, or call 617-496-2222. LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Middlesex Probate and Family Court 208 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02141 Docket No. 08D-1685DV1 SUMMONS BY PUBLICATION PRISClLA SILVA, Plaintiff V. RODRIGO GOMES FERNANDES, Defendant To the above named Defendant: A Complaint has been presented to this Court by the Plaintiff, seeking a Modification. You are required to serve upon Priscila Silva - plaintiff - whose address is: 154 Grant Street, Framingham, MA 01702 your answer on or before December 27, 2012. If you fail to do so, the court will pro- ceed to the hearing and adjudication of this action. You are also required to file a copy of your answer in the office of the Register of this Court at Cambridge. WITNESS, HON. PETER C. DiGANGI, and Tyrolean Alpine hats. for B fiat, three for E fiat, an Uncle Nick would head first began. A jovial king pre- Esquire, First Justice of said Court at Most businesses had arched thumb and index fin- south for a couple of weeks pares his castle to make CAMBRIDGE, this 15th day of November, Christmas parties for their ger for the key of C and an and then maybe a weekend merry through dark midwin- 2012. employees and they all had index finger pointing down a month until he retired, ter, inviting his entire king- Tara E. DeCristofar0, Register of Probate live entertainment. The -for the key of G._These wee When he did retire, he dom, from highest lord to Run date:11/30/12 bands that serviced the par-vt~!e most commo~ keys and headed to Florida and Aunt t.--e--~--ngt~e--o...cetu--. ~ermanent.y IJ~O~H''~D~I day for a two or three hour Fox Trots, waltzes, polkas, Today it's a toss-up as to ! time interval and there etc. were written in these whether a Christmas party might be two or three to play keys. has live entertainment or a on any given day. Dadand Quite often, Dad and UncleDJ. When l speak to fun-timc i PRINTI l( Uncle Nick would hire Nick would talk about musicians (and there are ~ ~ _ chauffer-driven cars to take the men in the bands they only a few of them), they tell j them from one job to another,were working with that day me how difficult it is to Parking in downtown Boston or/and night. Babbononno make a living at their craft. I 5 PRINCE STREET* NORTH END. BOSTON, MA 02113 I has never been easy and could often identify with Most of the luckier ones Owned and operated by Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher, Post-Gazette with jobs being spaced close together being let off in front of a building was a lot easier the names. If it was a multi-generational family in music, he most likely -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 learned another trade and work days and have made music an avocation. I guess I was one of these luckier ones. I taught public school during the day and played music at night. Now in my old age I attend the type of functions I used to play. Most of them are quite fun but those days gone by -- they were quite an adven- ture and I was on top of my game. Oh yeah, another thing, I was young and that made part of the difference. GOD BLESS AMERICA Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs m COMPETITIVE PRICES m