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Headliners

Appearing on the Investors Bank Stage!

 

 

 

Featured Video


Another new group coming to the Mercer County Italian American Festival - the Elegance String Quartet. Don't be fooled. While this group plays the best in classical, they also rock out on their electric string instruments. Here's an acoustic sample.
 
 

 
Friday, September 25, 2015
Time Performer Location
06:00 - 06:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
06:30 - 07:30 PM Primavera Investors Bank Stage
07:00 - 08:00 PM Bobby Ballack - Singing Sinatra Cabaret Stage
08:00 - 09:00 PM The Chiclettes Investors Bank Stage
08:00 - 08:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
08:30 - 09:30 PM No Way Out Cabaret Stage
09:30 - 10:30 PM Ray Massa's EuroRhythms Investors Bank Stage
10:00 - 11:00 PM Retro Memories Cabaret Stage
 
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time Performer Location
01:00 - 02:00 PM Michael & Nicholas Testa - pizza Toss Cabaret Stage
01:30 - 03:00 PM Don Felice and Band Investors Bank Stage
02:00 - 02:45 PM Penny &The Puppettes Puppet Theater
02:30 - 03:30 PM Elegance String Quartet Cabaret Stage
03:30 - 04:30 PM Vincent & Emily Ricciardi - Opera Duet Investors Bank Stage
04:00 - 05:00 PM Jimmy Alleva Italian Neopolitan Singer Cabaret Stage
04:00 - 04:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
05:00 - 06:00 PM Ray Massa's EuroRhythms Investors Bank Stage
05:30 - 06:30 PM Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Comedy Show Cabaret Stage
06:00 - 06:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
06:30 - 07:30 PM The Del Satins Investors Bank Stage
07:00 - 08:00 PM Jimmy Alleva Italian Neapolitan Singer Cabaret Stage
08:00 - 09:30 PM Louis Prima, Jr. Investors Bank Stage
08:00 - 08:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
08:30 - 09:30 PM JADE Cabaret Stage
09:45 - 10:00 PM Fireworks Festival Grounds
10:00 - 11:00 PM Masterpiece Orchestra Investors Bank Stage
 
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Time Performer Location
11:00 - 12:00 PM Catholic Mass Investors Bank Stage
01:00 - 02:00 PM Cora D'Italia Folk Dance 15 Members Investors Bank Stage
01:00 - 02:00 PM Kim Jenkins - "Rockin the 60's" Cabaret Stage
02:00 - 02:30 PM Penny & the Puppettes Puppet Theater
02:15 - 03:00 PM Abbott and Costello Cabaret Stage
02:30 - 03:30 PM O Sole Trio - From Opera To Pop w/Italian Flavor Investors Bank Stage
03:30 - 04:30 PM Syncopations Cabaret Stage
04:00 - 05:00 PM Boheme Opera NJ Investors Bank Stage
04:00 - 04:45 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
05:00 - 05:45 PM Abbott and Costello Cabaret Stage
05:30 - 06:30 PM Rhythm & Sounds Investors Bank Stage
06:00 - 06:30 PM Penny & The Puppettes Puppet Theater
06:30 - 07:30 PM Crosswicks - Rock Band Cabaret Stage
07:00 - 08:30 PM Ernie White Band Investors Bank Stage

Investors Bank

Abbott and Costello
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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?"

   
Bobby Ballack
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Since 2007 Bobby Ballack has been performing locally at restaurants, assisted living, adult communities, country clubs and private events in New York and New Jersey.  In 2013 Bobby was selected to perform at the Count Basie Theater "Sinatra Bash" with the Red Bank orchestra and this year to be in the "Senior Idol" contest at the Algonquin Arts Theater.  He specializes in standards with an up tempo swing style as well as songs from the 50's, 60's and 70's.  Adding a little history to the song his performance is always interesting and enjoyable.  His professional attire helps convey the look of a sophisticated style, appreciated by his audience.  Whether it is dining, dancing or just listening, he brings an exciting experience for all.

   
Boheme Opera New Jersey
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Joseph Pucciatti is the co-founder, artistic director and conductor of Boheme Opera (Boheme). Now entering its 24th season, Boheme Opera NJ's history began in the simple church parking lot in 1982. The company provides and enriches the region with accessible, affordable and artistically professional opera performances. The company is committed to preserving and promoting the operatic art form and introducing it to new and diverse audiences through productions, educational and outreach programs, community involvement, business partnerships and collaborations with other arts organizations.

   
Coro d'Italia
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The Coro d'Italia Singing and dancing ensemble is celebrating its 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.

   
Crosswicks - Rock Band
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Crosswicks originated back in March 2011 by a couple of enthusiastic musicians who wanted to write and perform great rock n roll songs for people to enjoy.  They play all types of music but their main focus is within the many sub-genres of rock.  The group set list includes covers as well as originals.  After years of song-writing and rehearsals, the group has recorded two EP's in the Fall of 2012 and 2013 at Tom Reock's "Squirrel Ranch Studios".  The releases include covers suchas "House of the Rising Sun" and "Everlong" as well as several originals.  Although they have undergone several changes over the years, Crosswicks still enjoy performing for their friends, family and fans in venues all across Nrw Jersey.
   
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show
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The multi-talented Sonny Averona Jr. (Dean Martin), vocalist and entertainer originally from South Philadelphia, now resides in New Jersey. He is following in the footsteps of his father, the late-great entertainer Sonny Averona Sr. Among Sonny's many talents are the song stylings of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Rat Pack material along with some Bobby Darin.

 Johnny "Bones" Cipparone (Jerry Lewis) was born and raised in South Philadelphia and now resides in New Jersey. With his uncanny portrayal of Jerry Lewis, Johnny has worked with Philly's own Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Charlie Gracie to name a few. Currently Johnny Bones is working with Sonny Averona, Jr. in a tribute to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis which is delighting audiences everywhere.

   
Del Satins
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The Del Satins were formed in 1958 in Manhattan through a merger of two existing street corner groups, the Yorkville Melodys and the Jokers. The original members were Stan Zizka (lead), Fred Ferrara (baritone), his brother Tom Ferrara (bass), Leslie Cauchi (first tenor), and Keith Koestner (second tenor). . 

In 1961 they recorded their debut single, "I'll Pray for You" for the small independent label. They joined forces with Dion, who wanted to replace his existing backing band, the Belmonts, with a "rockier" sound. The Del Satins were instantly sent to work on his new song, "Runaround Sue", which then rose to number 1 in the Billboard charts. Although their contribution to the hit was substantial, the Del-Satins received no credit. They also sang on Dion's later solo hits, "The Wanderer", "Lovers Who Wander", "Little Diane", "Love Came To Me", "Ruby Baby", "Donna the Prima Donna" and "Drip Drop". 

They released a number of singles under their own name, but had little success until "Teardrops Follow Me" in 1962, after which they found regular work on television and radio. They then moved to Columbia Records as part of Dion's new contract. The original Del Satins are in high demand at various venues throughout the country, along with new members Edie Van Buren and Charlie Aiello. It's an act that will entertain you all night long 


   
Don Felice
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Don Felice has been reviewed as a “singing sensation,” a gentleman and a fine talent,” and “a man who always has a song in his heart.” His love of craft and passion for life truly comes through in his voice. With a repertoire ranging from a varied array of traditional and contemporary favorites in English and Italian, Don Felice performs these selections for both listening and dancing enjoyment.
A vocalist for more than 25 years, Don Felice hails from Molise, Italy. He attended Febraio School of Music in New York where he was instructed by the late renowned vocal coach Dr. Salvatore M. Febraio. His songs are very often heard on radio station 93.5 WRTN-FM (New Rochelle, NY) and he has performed in many restaurants and nightclubs in the tri-state NY, NJ and CT area as well as in the Catskills (NY), California, Canada, Chicago, Florida, Boston and Delaware. He has also accompanied and toured with professional Italian artists Mauro Nardi, Carmelo Zapulla, Mauro Caputo and Mario Trevi.

   
Elegance String Quartet
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Professional, exciting and modern, Elegance String Quartet specializes in performing for private events, wedding ceremonies, cocktail hours, and receptions.  They repertoire spans from the early classics of Mozart and Bach to today's latest rock and pop artists like Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, M. Jackson and many more.  They have played music all over the world professionally for over 20 years. Group Members are Ray Bishel, Cello, Sofia Bishel, Violin, Alfi Latypova, Violin and Seth Rodriguez, Viola.
   
Ernie White
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Like the sign on the bridge from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, what "Trenton Makes the World Takes", Ernie White has taken his music from his small home town to the world stage.  Born and bred in New Jersey, Ernie honed his musical skills in the same juke joints as Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.  He first picked up a guitar at the age of ten and wasted no time starting a band.  By twelve Ernie was playing and singing in local groups in his home town of Trenton, NJ in bands with names like "Wind" and "Holy Smoke" he built a name as a local rocker, one to keep an eye on.  He played guitar in his high school jazz band and went on to Trenton State College.  Ernie's style can be summed up in one word, "electric.  With his band, Tom Reock on keys, Frank Wirtz on bass and Marty Paglione on drums, they serve up a virtual musical jambalaya.  On any given night, EWB can combine rock, blues, folk, jazz, R&B and reggae for one wild ride. 

   
JADE
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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 (keyboards) 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. 
   
Jimmy Alleva
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Jimmy Alleva grew up in Queens, New York, the middle child of three brothers.  He fondly recalls his quality time spent with his family as they took great pleasure listening to Italian music legends such as Jimmy Roselli, Sergio Franchi and Mario Lanza.  It was at an early age when Jimmy discovered his love for this beautiful music.  Jimmy's adoration of Italian music runs deep within the Alleva blood.  His grandfather encouraged him to learn many Neapolitan songs.  The Alleva family became a musical household, one brother was a well known Italian singer from their neighborhood and his other brother was a bass player who performed in many local bands.
   
Kim Jenkins
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Kim David Jenkins grew up in Essex County, NJ.  He attended Rochester Institute of Technology, in Upstate NY and Montclair State College, in NJ.  Over the years he became the singer for many successful cover bands in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.  “The Jersey Shore’’ was his home for over 30 years and he performed in many of the Tri-State areas top venues, including regular gigs on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, and at the famous Stone Pony, in Asbury Park. Kim has made guest appearances, shared the stage, and has been an opening act for major recording artist including, Tommy James and The Shondells, Lenny Welch, The Tramps, The Stampeders,Rick Derringer, and Aerosmith.  He made his TV debut on the nationally syndicated 80’s Hit TV Show “Dancing On Air”, Philadelphia’s all time top rated music program. Kim has also received radio airplay with his original music, and he is a published BMI songwriter and an author. In 2012 Kim was a mentor for 2014 American Idol Top Five Winner Sam Woolf.  He now produces his own show called “Strictly 60’s” which he has performed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.

   
Louis Prima, Jr.
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Trumpeter/leader Louis Prima Jr. has a swing pedigree, being the son of the guy who wrote “Sing, Sing, Sing” and had a hard hitting big band of his own. The blessing has been passed to the next generation, as this guy leads a band that makes the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Band sound like Kenny G in comparison. Even better, his tenor player, Marco Palos sounds like the second coming of Sam Butera as he wipes the floor on “Blow” and “I Just Wanna Have Fun.” The mix of vintage R&B with a Crescent City attitude is absolutely infectious; a tune like “Might Be Crazy” smokes like a Cubano, while “Someday” sounds like it came out of Stax Records in Memphis in the 60s and has been hidden in some back room all these years. The joint is jumping on “Robin Hood,” and if you aren’t in a sweat by the time they close out with “Those Million Things,” all I can say is that I feel sorry for you, cause there ain’t anything better. (review by George W. Harris)

Video

   
Masterpiece Orchestra
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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
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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

   
No Way Out
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NO WAY OUT is a six member classic rock cover band that has been entertaining throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania playing in clubs and private affairs since 2004.  Features include both male and female lead vocalists accompanied by a multi-keyboardist/saxophonist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer.  The musicians have combined live performance experience in excess of 2,500 gigs.  Popular artists covered by NO WAY OUT include  Heart, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Journey, Led Zepplin, Melissa Etheridge, Rolling Stones, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tom Perry and ZZ Top.
   
O Sole Trio
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O Solo Trio is a new, vibrant musical ensemble based in NYC featuring the lush voices of soprano Erin Shields and baritone Giuseppe Spoletini along with amazingly versatile David Shenton on violin and piano.  Their shows feature a blend of some of the most popular Italian opera, Neapolitan and classic jazz standards with a concentration on the Italian language.  Erin Shields is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music.  Erin also studied voice in Vienna, Austria.  Her vocal versitility has allowed her to perform a number of different genres all over the country. Giuseppe Spoletini is a Canadian Baritone and has performed widely throughout Canada and the U.S.  Some of his previous roles include the title role in Gianni Schicchi.  He has performed with The Opera Theater of Saint Louis.  David Shenton is an English pianist, violinist, composer and arranger living and working in New York City.  He performs regularly with other noted musicians including David Finck, Dave Eggar, Mike Viseglia and many other esteemed players.

   
Penny & the Puppettes
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 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!"

   
Primavera/Italian Trio
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Tony Valente came to America in 1964 from Castrovillari in Calabria and although he started playing guitar in 1969, he actually was a professional soccer player and travelled throughout the US from 1971 to 1976.  In 1988 the trio "Prima Vera" was formed.  Tony plays guitar and sings Italian folk music.  Luigi plays bass and sings modern American songs and Vinny plays keyboard.   

   
Ray Massa EuroRhythms
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One of the most consistently sought after musical variety acts, Ray Massa's 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 to the US 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

   
Retro Memories
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Retro Memories is a dance party show band playing your favorite music from the past.  The band will take you back to the music that started it all.  The 50's and early 60's Oldies, Motown, Standards, Classic Rock, Disco and more.  Members include Danny Povio - Vocals, Joe Caristo - Vocals Guitar, Harmonica, Sax, MItch Spera Vocals and Keyboards, and Howard Whitman Guitar, Bass, and Vocals.  From their choreographed routines to their costumes and impersonations these guys are not your average band.  They get people involved and get the party going.  The band's personality, along with the unique delivery of songs will make any event a time to remember. 
   
Rhythm N' Sound
Rhythm N' Sound are professioal entertainers who perform music from the Classic Standards, Doo-Wop, Rock n Roll along with Motown and some classic rock.  This group has appeared at a variety of venues, including restaurants, libraries, adult retirement communities, municipal concerts and county fairs, private parties and many of the independent/assisted living facilities throughout New Jersey.  Their music includes songs from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's.  You will find yourself singing and dancing along with their music.  The group members are John D'Amaro keyboard player and vocals, Joe Moscato guitarist and vocals, Frank Resola lead and backgroound vocals, Ron Trutz lead and background vocals and Tony Megara lead and background vocals.
   
Syncopations
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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.

   
The Chiclettes
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The Chiclettes have many facets.  Performing their classic girls groupt tribute, they take their audience on a musical journey through the history of female rock & roll that is unparalleled in the entertainment industry today.  With faithful redreations of the harmonies and chorography of the girl group ears, The Chiclettes deliver an unforgettable performance.  The Chiclettes will keep you on your feet with their high energy performance showcasting the female artists that dominated the music scene for the last five decades. 
   
Vincent & Emily Ricciardi - Opera Duet
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Grand Opra, Musical Theater, The American Song Book, they sing it all.  Married, singing duo- Vincent & Emily icciardi have performed together throught the tri-state area.  Their love of Puccini, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mozart and Gershwin is shared with their audiences in each show.  This husband and wife team met in 2008 when they fell in love during aproduction of The Pirates of Penzance.  In 2013 they tied the knot and continue to make beautiful music together.  Vincent & Emily's performances highlight some of the most famous artists' repertories of the 20th Century, Mario Lanza, Julie Andrews, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and many more.  Their performancre together on stage always touches audiences and warms the heart.  Nino Pantano of the Italian oice stated that Vincent & mily are "two of the most promising and talented performers today.  Vincent Ricciardi's lyric tenor is blessed with a smooth and easy top amd gives the listener much to savor.  Emily Wright-Ricciardi's secure and saucy soprano was a model of elegance."
   

 

 
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