Tony Orlando to perform at Boca Symphonia’s Apollo Awards

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By Dale King The Pineapple Contributing Writer Break out the yellow ribbons and knock three times on the ceiling. Vocalist Tony Orlando will visit the city this month to pay homage to a couple of his musical friends being honored by the Boca Symphonia. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Symphonia will present its first-ever Apollo Awards for musical excellence to longtime Boca arts patrons Edith and Martin B. Stein. Also scheduled to receive the specially designed statuette are two internationally known composers: Boca resident Dennis Lambert, who wrote “Ain’t no Woman Like the One I Got,” “We Built this City on Rock and Roll” and many more hits in the 80’s and 90’s, and the late Ervin Drake, who wrote American Songbook standards, including Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year,” will also be honored. Drake died in January at age 95. The celebration will be held April 18 at Jazziz in Mizner Park, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. The evening will include a 6 p.m. VIP Meet and Greet with Orlando and the award winners, a 7 p.m. cocktail reception and an 8 p.m. award presentation. A Manhattan-born performer of Greek and Puerto Rican ancestry, Orlando is marking his 54th year in show biz since his first hit, the Carole King-Gerry Goffin melody “Halfway to Paradise,” charted in 1961. But he is likely best known for fronting the musical group, Dawn – with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent — during most of the 1970s. “They were performing as background singers at the time. I asked them to be part of the act,” said Orlando. “We were the first multi-racial performing group. We received a ‘Pioneers of Television’ award from the Public Broadcasting System.” As to his upcoming visit, Orlando, in a telephone interview, said, “I love Boca Raton, so many of my friends are there. I have known Dennis Lambert for almost all my career.” In fact, Lambert and songwriting partner Brian Potter penned a song for Tony Orlando & Dawn called “Look in my eyes, pretty woman,” which made it to the Top 10 around 1975. Orlando said he recalled Drake from the time when he was working for music industry icon Clive Davis. “Ervin would come into my office and play his songs. This was in the time period of 1966 to 1970. I was a very big fan of his. I remember two of his greatest songs, ‘It Was a Very Good Year’ and ‘I Believe.’’’ During the Jazziz show, Orlando said he plans to sing those two Drake tunes and two Lambert chart toppers, “Don’t Pull your Love” and “Ain’t No Woman like the One I Got.” The former front man for Tony Orlando & Dawn will also present three of their top songs: The legendary “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree,” “Knock Three Times” and “Candida.” Honorees Edith and Martin B. Stein will receive the Apollo Award for their support as founding benefactors of The Symphonia and their lifetime generosity to local civic, arts and cultural organizations. “We are very proud to receive this honor,” said Martin. Edith added: “We are very, very pleased and honored. It is a very prestigious award and we are flattered. We get such pleasure seeing people smile.” Martin Stein recalled how one of his grade school teachers lamented the fact that he had no music in his home. “We only had one record, with ‘Indian Love Call’ on one side and ‘Listen to the Mockingbird’ on the other. This became my inspiration to encourage music at home.” “There would be no Symphonia without the Steins,” said Marshal Turkin, founding member and artistic director of the 10-year-old orchestra. “Not many cities the size of Boca Raton have their own symphony orchestra. We have one of the few that plays on a professional basis.” Honoree Lambert, a Grammy nominee, traces his music career to 1960 when he signed with Capitol Records as a recording artist. He linked up with British-born singer/ songwriter Brian Potter and they penned hits in all musical genres. These include the countercultural anti-war song, “One Tin Soldier” that became the theme song of the Billy Jack movies; “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Country Boy” for Glen Campbell; “It Only Takes a Minute” for Tavares and “Rock and Roll Heaven” for the Righteous Brothers. Drake was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his additions to the Great American Songbook, including “It Was a Very Good Year,” and Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache.” Tickets are $250 a person. VIP tickets are $300 a person and include a private reception and Meet and Greet with Tony Orlando and the award recipients. The evening’s honorary chair is Kevin Cooper. Underwriters include Sun Capital Family Foundation and the Waterstone Resort & Marina. “The Apollo Awards have been named after the mythical Greek God of music and poetry,” said Steve Pomeranz, chairman of the Symphonia Board. Internationally-known English sculptor Stephen Vince designed and donated the Apollo Awards that will be presented to the honorees. The Apollo Award Committee includes Steven L. Pomeranz, Carole Boucard, Sung Knowles, Jeffrey Kaye, Kyle Prescott, Annabel Russell, Susan Kaye, Debbie Abrams, Mimi Sadler and Molly Foreman Kozel. To receive an invitation or to reserve tickets or a table, call 866-687-4201, email info@thesymphonia.org or visit www.thesymphonia.org.