Member Login  
News Articles  
Entertainment    Food    Culture    Bocce    Directions    Pictures    Get Involved

Appearing on the Investors Bank Stage!




Featured Video

"Who's on First" - Abbott & Costello at their best. If you were at the festival, you saw it performed live by festival favorites, Gil "Bud" Palmer and Lou Sciara.

Friday, September 26, 2014
Time Performer Location
03:30 - 04:00 PM Joint Airbase McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst Military Working Dogs Festival Grounds
05:30 - 06:30 PM Masterpiece Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
05:30 - 06:00 PM Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst Military Working Dogs Festival Grounds
06:00 - 06:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
07:00 - 08:00 PM Ray Massa's EuroRhythms Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
07:30 - 08:30 PM Diverse "POP" Group Cabaret Stage
08:00 - 08:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
08:30 - 09:30 PM Southside Johnny & The Poor Fools Investors Bank Stage
08:45 - 09:45 PM Charles Laurita, Rock & Blues Group Cabaret Stage
09:45 - 10:15 PM Fireworks Festival Grounds
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Time Performer Location
01:00 - 02:00 PM Pat Pratico - Sounds of Sinatra Investors Bank Stage
02:00 - 03:00 PM Michael & Nicholas Testa - Jersey City Pizza Bosses Cabaret Stage
02:00 - 02:45 PM Penny &The Puppettes Puppet Theater
02:30 - 03:30 PM Cora D'Italia Folk Dance 15 Members Investors Bank Stage
03:30 - 04:30 PM Frank Tenaglia -Tenor Cabaret Stage
04:00 - 05:00 PM Natalie Pinto With International Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
04:00 - 04:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
05:00 - 06:00 PM Living The Dream Band Cabaret Stage
05:30 - 06:30 PM Ray Massa's EuroRhythms Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
06:00 - 06:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
06:30 - 07:30 PM Paul Plumeri Blues Group Cabaret Stage
07:00 - 08:30 PM Lights Out Music Tribute to Frankie Valli Investors Bank Stage
08:00 - 08:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
09:00 - 10:00 PM Lightnin' Lou Christie Investors Bank Stage
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Time Performer Location
11:00 - 12:00 PM Catholic Mass Investors Bank Stage
12:00 - 12:30 PM Procession of the Madonna Festival Grounds
01:00 - 02:00 PM Lawrence Community Concert Band Investors Bank Stage
01:00 - 02:00 PM Ewing Talent Cabaret Stage
02:00 - 02:30 PM Syncopations Cabaret Stage
02:00 - 02:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
02:30 - 03:30 PM Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
02:30 - 03:15 PM Abbott and Costello Cabaret Stage
03:30 - 04:30 PM Sidewalk Serenade Cabaret Stage
04:00 - 05:00 PM Aaron Caruso Tenor Investors Bank Stage
04:00 - 04:45 PM Penny & the Puppettes Puppet Theater
05:15 - 06:00 PM Abbott and Costello Cabaret Stage
05:30 - 06:30 PM Gabriella Rea From Italy Investors Bank Stage
06:30 - 07:30 PM JADE Cabaret Stage

Investors Bank

Aaron Caruso

Aaron Caruso has been singing for 20 years.  Classically, he studied piano for ten years and trombone for six years.  He's been performing on stage since the age of 6.  He attended the world renowned "Interlochen Arts Academy" for high school.  He earned his bachelor degree in Vocal Performance with an Italian Minor from University of Michigan.  He speaks four languages fluently (Italian, English, Spanish and French) and can sing in seven including Russian, Latin and German.  He has studied Opera abroad in Italy for one year and in New York City with Maestro Luigi Veccia for 8 years.  Maestro Veccia was a student of Marcello and Mario Del Monaco.  He has performed extensively throughout the United States at Performing Arts Centers, Concert Halls and Festivals.  Aaron also specialized in Classic Neapolitan music.

Artist Video

Abbott and Costello

In a tribute to Paterson, New Jersey native and accomplished Italian American, Lou Costello, the Mercer County Italian American Festival is proud to have 'The Abbott and Costello Show' with Gil 'Bud' Palmer and Lou Sciara. The pair joined forces in 1992 when they each won first place in an Abbott & Costello look-a-like contest sponsored by Shanachie Entertainment, producers of the 'Abbott & Costello Show' videotape series. Bud and Lou with host Michael Townsend Wright from the 'Uncle Floyd Show' will be performing all of the memorable Abbott and Costello routines including the hilarious 'Who's On First?'

Charles Laurita Band

The Charles Laurita Band is a blues/funk group hailing from Hamilton New Jersey. The band's unique sound and very original take on popular cover songs is what sets them apart from many other local acts. The group consists of Chandler Scales on tenor saxophone, Rick Lucherini on bass, Darwin Morua on drums, and fronting the band is guitarist/singer Charles Laurita. Charles has been playing guitar since the age of 10, and his multiple-genre influences are what helped sculpt his unique sound and style.

Artist Website

Artist Video

Coro d'Italia

The Coro d'Italia Singing and Dancing Ensemble is celebrating it's 82nd year! Established in 1932, in New York City, the troupe is dedicated to researching, persevering, and sharing traditional Italian songs, dances and costumes. Now based in New Jersey the ensemble performs all around the tri state area in venues as diverse as The Italian American Museum, The Museum of the City of New York, The Ellis Island Museum, South Street Seaport, The Pierre Hotel, The Newark and Montclair Art Museums, and for a host of feasts, festivals and parades, as well as schools, universities and cultural organizations. Comprised of professionals as well as community volunteers the Coro welcomes new members to join in. Coro d'Italia is part of D'Italia Programs a non profit organization that also sponsors a children's ensemble, The Bambini d'Italia as well as Italian language lessons, and their annual La Befana Holiday Show.


The Jersey Shores best kept secret, teen singing sensations, Diverse Pop Group, is making huge waves throughout the nation and the world as a multi-talented pop duo. Diverse has proved to be a mega phenomenon wherever they perform. They have been an opening act for such greats as the Crystals, JLS, The Plain White T’s and Hot Chelle Rae and are well on their way to becoming the main attraction.   Diverse Pop Group consists of Eddie, 20 and Zach 19, who have been performing since very young ages, appearing in off-Broadway, commercials, movies, television and have truly emerged as great singers and entertainers whose talents are being recognized throughout the world. These pop icons have been up and down the east coast, some parts of the west coast, as well as some southern states where they have performed at schools, events, benefits, festivals, parties, theme parks and clubs bringing their felicitous music to all ages who immerse themselves in the upbeat tempo of their songs and exhilarate in their contagious energetic performances.

Dr. Mary Rorro

Dr. Mary Rorro will be performing during Mass on Sunday.  She is a physician caring for veterans at the NJ Veterans Healthcare System and is also a professional musician. She donates her time to perform for veterans related events, including at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C., the Intrepid Museum in New York, the 9/11 Memorial in New York, General Doyle Cemetery in NJ and Princeton University Chapel. She also has contributed music for religious ceremonies, including at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for the Royal Order of Savoy, Italy Investiture Mass and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  She received the bronze medal of Saints Maurice and Lazarus from the Royal House of Savoy, Italy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for her charitable works.


Last year, she was invited to play for the Centennial Celebration Mass of the Holy Rosary Church in D.C., with Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia in attendance.  She is included in the book Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine as “The Violin Doc.”  Her program for music at the VA, A Few Good Notes, has been featured on WQXR radio and website, Dr. Oz’s website, and on AOL’s Homepage for Heroes. Her poetry has been published in national and international journals.  Dr. Rorro was inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame in 2012.

Frank Tenaglia
Born in South Philadelphia, tenor, Frank Tenaglia trained in classical voice at The Philadelphia College of Performing Arts and at Temple University.  Tenaglia went on to perform with the Greater Miami Opera Company in its productions of Madam Butterfly, Il Trovatore, The Barber of Seville, La Premiata Fedelta, Idomeneo and Beauty and the Beast, all under the direction of Maestro Joseph Illick.  Tenaglia toured in concert with the Florida Philharmonic under the direction of Peter Nero.  A double Grammy winning Pianist and Conductor, Nero was exhilarated over Tenaglia's performances.  "Frank" Neor says, "has a pure and natural tenor voice, along with a rare warmth and solid musicianship.  He combines these attributes to become that unique performer whose artistry results in instant communication to his audience as evidenced by consistent standing ovations".
Gabriella Rea

A resident of Rome, Italy, Gabriella is well known in her native country for her appearances on RAI, Italian National TV, festivals and pop music events.  Ms. Rea has studied with renowned Maestro Giovanni Gava, and performed in the Italian "Claudio Baglioni" concert.  She performs regularly at the Harry's Bar in Rome, and is active on radio and at the theater as well.  Gabriella performed at the Mercer County Italian American Festival in 2004 and 2005.

Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra
The Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra has provided an exciting and unique educational program and pre-professional performance opportunities for talented youths from our community for over 50 years.  Founder and Music Director, Maestro Matteo Giammario, led GPYO from 1961 through the late 1980's.  Since those eary days, literally thousands of gifted young musicians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been members of this prestigious organization.  They hone their skills as performers, learn to work with others in pursuing common goals and enrich our lives and our communities through public performances of instrumental music. 
The band Jade has been playing in the tri-state area for over 40 years.  Original members Wayne Rudolph (guitar and lead vocals) and Doug Miller (keyborards) have joined musical forces with Jim Carlisi on sax and Cheech Iero on drums.  The band has stayed true to its motto: "We're pleased to play, but we play to please."  Jade provides entertainment for organizations, clubs and private parties.  The group's music draws on the great American Songbook, 50's Doo Wop, ethnic favorites, and current top 40's - an impressive repertoire for both listening and dancing pleasure. 
Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst Military Working Dogs

The canine section of the Air Force's Military Working Dog Unit will bring their enlisted canine companions to perform for our festival guests on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  Come and view how our military works with these magnificent creatures to help keep our soldiers safe both here and on deployment.

Lawrence Community Concert Band
The band has been performing in the Mercer County area for the past 21 years at civic events, nursing homes and other activities for seniors. The band is comprised of local area professional and amateur accomplished musicians playing a wide variety of music from Broadway show tunes to Sousa marches and classical numbers. The band rehearses on Thursday evenings at 7:30 PM at the Lawrence Senior Center.
Lightnin' Lou Christie

Lou Christie's chart topping, multi-million selling career as a songwriter, recording artist, and performer started in a two-track studio in Glenwillard Pennsylvania, his rural hometown near Pittsburgh.  Lou's first million selling song, "The Gypsy Cried" transformed a local choirboy, Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco, into Lou Christie - national teen idol, while still a teenager himself.  Over the decade of the 1960's, Lou followed success with greater success.  "Two Faces Have I" was his next big hit featuring his stratospheric falsetto.  Lou forever embedded himself and his uniquely talented voice into America's consciousness with his number 1 multi-million selling success "Lightning Strikes".  Lou's chart topping success continued with two more million selling hits, "Rhapsody In The Rain" and "I'm Gonna Make You Mine".  "Rhapsody's" success was fueled by the fact that it was the first song banned on the radio due to its suggestive lyrics.

Artist Website

Artist Video

Lights Out Music Tribute to Frankie Valli

Lights Out is a four part vocal group that performs what is being called "The #1 Tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in the country".  With a lead singer who sounds almost identical to Frankie Valli himself, the group's infectious personality and fully choreographed show promises to keep audiences wanting more even after the curtain closes. Along with their Tribute, Lights Out brings their "Journey Though Musical Time" a medley of rock and roll hits from the 50's through the 90's to audiences around the country.

Artist Video

Living The Dream
Living The Dream Band has been performing in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area for several years.  We provide our audiences with an eclectic mix of Swing, Standards, Sinatra, 60's, 70's and contemporary tunes as well.  We have developed a style all of our own.  In one evening you may hear "One For My Baby", You've Lost That Lovin Feeling", or "Sweet Caroline" to name a few.  Gary Patricelli (Vocals), Sue Ellen Miller (Piano and Vocals), Wayne Miller (Bass), Dave McGraw (Drums), and Ron Taglarino (Sax).  Our performances are a reflection of the 30+ years of experience including Broadway style shows, Big Bands, Rock Bands, Swing Bands, and Adult Contemporary Bands.  We especially enjoy being in front of an audience, watching the smiles on their faces, as they sing and dance with their favorite tunes from the past. 
Masterpiece Orchestra

Masterpiece is a "high energy" party/dance band featuring outstanding vocalists supported by sizzling rhythm and horn sections.

Masterpiece features a diverse repertoire of songs from the "Big Band" era of the 40's to the "vibrant" sounds of today's hits.

Masterpiece has provided the finest in live entertainment at many Nightclub venues and Banquet Facilities throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York and will create that same atmosphere at this year's Italian-American Festival. Come see this "dynamic" band and dance to a variety of "Standards", "Italian", "Top 40 Dance", Disco", "Soul", "Motown", "Oldies" and "Rock 'n Roll' favorites.

Michael & Nicholas Testa-Jersey City Pizza Bosses

Michael Testa first tried spinning pizza dough in February 2012.  It’s not a strange family activity, when you consider Michael and his brother Nicholas have watched their dad create hundreds of pizza pies at their Jersey City restaurant, Carmine’s Pizza Factory. By Michael’s third week of practice with the dough, he was out-performing his father. That’s pretty impressive, considering Carmine has been at it for over 20 years.  Michael was invited to perform on local TV news shows and morning programs.  Michael performed with British artist Jon Burgerman during a pizza themed art show. Michael has performed in  Las Vegas at The International Pizza Expo, to those in the industry, this is like being asked to perform at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show! Michael was made part of The World Pizza Champions, which is a team of the best pizza tossing acrobatics in the world.

Artist Video

Natalie Pinto with International Orchestra

Italian native Natalie Pinto, was born in Cosenza, Italy, a region of Calabria. Now currently residing in New Jersey. Natalie continues to perform Internationally & Domestically, as an International Recording Artist ~ Vocalist and Entertainer.  At the tender age of thirteen, Natalie recorded her first original Italian song Arrivederci Amore Mio which contributed in escalating the start of her singing career. She continues to tour throughout Italy.  Natalie earned her Bachelor degree in Vocal Performance / Piano, from William Paterson University, NJ. She then went on to attend The American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA), in NYC. Throughout her career, Natalie has recorded and performed in four languages including Italian, English, French and Spanish. She takes her audiences on a romantic journey to Europe, and all the way back to the NYC Broadway Theatre Stage, in one show.  

Artist Website

Pat Pratico - Sounds Of Sinatra

Pat Pratico, a native of Trenton and jazz guitarist, recorded his first CD "For My Jazz Mentors".  Pat has been performing in the Trenton NJ area since the mid-1970's.  Pat's nine piece group, "The Pat Pratico Little Big Band" have put together a show featuring "The Sounds Of Sinatra".

Paul Plumeri Blues Band

When you've been playing guitar and singing the blues as long as Paul Plumeri, you learn to do things your own way.  Naturally, since he does things his own way, Plumeri's guitar playing and singing style are distinctive.  Plumeri, the third son of the well-known longtime Trenton area politician and civil servant, Sam Plumeri, began playing guitar at age seven.    He has been associated with the blues in the Garden State and greater Philadelphia for more than three decades.

Penny & the Puppettes

Penny Sue - (aka Merissa Morin) is co-creator of Penny & the Puppettes and a graduate of New York University's Musical Theater program at Tisch School of the Arts. Her adult acting career includes: co-starring in the film One Night with Melissa Leo, a brief role on The Sopranos, and most recently starring in the independent film Tackle Girl. Penny also writes music on both the guitar and piano, and gigs out in Manhattan music venues. She is the third generation in a family of children's entertainers, and is thrilled to be continuing in the family tradition. Her vocals are featured on Jane's album, Uh Oh, There's Something Underneath My Bed, in the songs "Stand" and "Get that Big Beak Outta My Face!"

Ray Massa EuroRhythms Orchestra

One of the most consistently sought after musical variety acts, Ray Massas EuroRhythms have dazzled audiences from coast to coast in the USA, Canada, and many cities in Italy.

The EuroRhythms have a long history.  Ray Massa was born and raised in south-eastern Ohio (Bellaire, Ohio) of Italian parents who immigrated from the Campania region of Italy.  The group was started by Ray in 1982 while attending college at Ohio State University.  The total group is comprised as such:  Ray Massa on the Accordion/Organ/Vocals, Tony DiMelfi – Lead Vocals/Trombone, Marco Capoccia, Lead Vocals/Percussion/Trumpet, John Dirck -Guitar/Keyboard/Vocals/Mandolin/Arrangements, Gaetano Nicolosi, Drums/Vocals, Jerry Parsons, Bass Guitar/Vocals, Bryan Olsheski - Saxophone, David Miller  – Trumpet.

Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms are featured Nationally at Italian Festivals from coast to coast. Their popularity is attributed to their unique arrangements and ability to transform traditional, Pop Italian and Italian-American favorites which energizes their audiences.

Artist Website

Sidewalk Serenade

Sidewalk Serenade is a classic oldies band that performs music from the 50's through 70's with special renditions from the Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, Neil Diamond and Motown hits. Their performance is high energy and they love getting the crowd involved. They have been performing at various venues in the Metropolitan area for the past 15 years. If you love the great songs of the past and love to be entertained then "Sidewalk Serenade" is for you.

Artist Video

Southside Johnny & The Poor Fools

Southside Johnny, born in Neptune, N.J. is a singer-songwriter who usually fronts his band, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, which originated in the mid-1970’s as the second to emerge from the Jersey Shore music scene following Bruce Springsteen and considered to be part of the Jersey Shore Sound. Since 2001, Southside Johnny & The Jukes have toured the U.K. and Europe as an annual event.  Jon Bon Jovi has acknowledged Southside as his “reason for singing”. This performance with the “Poor Fools” is a journey through life through the eyes of Southside Johnny and his road weary troubadours. 

Artist Website

Artist Video



Synocopations are a Performance Troupe whose members all reside at the "Village Grande at Bear Creek" Active Adult Community in West Windsor, NJ.  They entertain at private parties and community events, as well as adult communities, senior centers, assisted livings, nursing homes, and for clubs and organizations throughout Central New Jersey.  Their unique programs include many dance styles, including Broadway, Latin, Vintage Swing, and even Irish dancing.  Their members are also talented singers and comedic actors, bringing an added dimension to every performance.  Their high-energy routines make it clear why their motto is: "We are not your grandmother's dance troupe.



Please visit our sponsors who make this festival possible.
Trenton Times
Investors Bank
XFINITY only from comcast
New Jersey Lottery
Coleman Buick
News 12 NJ
Italian Tribune
Bud Light
K McCoy Inc
Rose Hill
Batth Fitter
Kitchen Saver
Hopewell Valley Vinyards
Coccia Foundation
Barry Chiorello
Site Design by Aregnano Design © 2005 Mercer County Italian American Festival