Tony Orlando Joins Boca Symphonia at Jazziz Jazz Club Event

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By Dale King The Pineapple Contributing Writer Famed pop singer Tony Orlando took to the stage April 18 at the Jazziz Jazz Club in Boca Raton, where the Boca Symphonia presented its first-ever Apollo Awards for musical excellence to its founding benefactors, Edith and Martin Stein, and to a pair of noted songwriters who have contributed much to the American songbook and to the world of popular standards. In addition to recognizing the Steins, Boca Raton singer/ songwriter Dennis Lambert and the late music writer Ervin Drake, the Symphonia also celebrated the tenth anniversary of its founding in the wake of the Florida Philharmonic’s demise. “We are on the map as South Florida’s top classical music organization,” said Symphonia Board Chairman Steven Pomerantz. “The Apollo Awards have been named after the mythical Greek god of music and poetry. They honor th memory of centuries of classical composers who have given contemporary music its base.” Orlando, best known for performing during the 1970s with the pop duo, Dawn, told the audience he is good friends with Lambert and also knew Drake very well. He sang a medley of three of his own hits, “Candida,” “Knock Three Times” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” He also performed “I Believe” and “It was a Very Good Year,” written by Drake, whose tunes were performed by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Eddie Cantor, Nat “King” Cole, Tony Bennett and Gene Kelley, among others. While Orlando was presenting a set of Lambert’s tunes, the writer joined him on stage to perform “Don’t Pull Your Love” and “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got.” Lambert himself launched into a rendition of “Nightshift,” a song he wrote to memorialize Marvin Gaye following the vocalist’s death. Awards presented to honorees were designed and donated to the Symphonia by internationally-known English sculptor Stephen Vince, who said the sculpture reflects the concept of excellence. After receiving his award, Lambert said, “I love what the Symphonia represents. It is needed now more than ever. I will be as involved with it as they allow me to be.” The Steins, who helped fund the creation of the Symphonia a decade ago, were honored for their support as founding benefactors and their lifetime of generosity to local civic, arts and cultural organizations. Drake’s award was accepted by Symphonia trumpeter Jeffrey Kaye. The evening’s honorary chair was Kevin Cooper. Underwriters included Sun Capital Family Foundation and the Waterstone Resort & Marina. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Symphonia’s Music Education Outreach projects for children.