The foundational Sound of Asbury Park comes alive in grand style…and in the setting of one of the city’s most spectacular “best-kept secrets”…on the afternoon of Sun., March 6, when the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel opens its Grand Kingsley Ballroom for a Cavalcade of Stars event that spotlights the skills of one of SOAP’s founding fathers, and a collection of famous friends.
Scheduled for 2 p.m., the fundraiser concert is headlined by one of the most pivotal figures in Asbury Park’s musical history: Stormin’ Norman Seldin, the influential musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, producer, promoter, and teenage record label mogul whose 60-year career spans the genres of rhythm and blues, doo-wop, soul, jazz, rock, and pop…and who helped introduce the world to such talents as iconic E Street saxman Clarence Clemons and chart-topping vocalist Harry Ray. The Steinway piano man in the signature concho hat leads an 11-Piece multi-generational band featuring such guest players as blues-rock professor Chuck Lambert, Shady Street master showman Ryan Gregg, and singer-songwriter Pam McCoy in a salute to the New Orleans-style sounds that informed his life’s work.
Joining the legendary frontman of The Joyful Noize for this celebratory occasion will be Asbury Park’s own Patsy Siciliano and PS4, veteran doo-wop tenor Joel Katz (The Autumns, The Platinums, The Cliftonaires), Joey and Doreen Bruscia Arminio of Stiletto and the Saxman, and another locally bred legend: Johnny Petillo, whose fame extends from European hit singles to nationwide tours with vintage hitmakers Danny and the Juniors. Currently touring with Tony Orlando, Petillo joins in the fun when Seldin reunites on stage with his onetime management client Larry Chance, whose essential doo-wop group The Earls scaled the charts in 1962 with “Remember Then.”
A benefit for the Asbury Park Museum, the show is being produced by Charlie and Pam Horner, the award-winning music historians, collectors, and promoters who serve on the board of the city-based nonprofit. Proceeds will be dedicated toward the Museum’s ongoing search for a “brick and mortar” permanent location, as well as public activities that have included acclaimed “pop-up” exhibits at locations that have included the pavilions of the Asbury Park Boardwalk, the Guggenheim Library at Monmouth University, and the historic hotel at 1401 Ocean Avenue. Berkeley’s lobby continues as the host site of “One Voice Is Not Enough,” a multi-media installation (curated by the Horners) that examines the considerable impact of the “little but loud” city on the history of American music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On display “24/7” at the hotel, the free-admission exhibit will be expanded in the months to come to encompass the entire diverse soundtrack of Asbury Park’s scene, from the pioneers who introduced a nation to classic standards like “In the Good Old Summertime” and “Honeysuckle Rose;” to the mid-century masters who made nationwide hits and headlines, and right on up to the musical movers and shakers of the present day.
The man called Stormin’ Norman continues to make history “in his own write,” with the recent release of his long-awaited memoir, “You Don’t Know Me.” A collaboration with Charlie Horner, the book will be available for purchase and signing during a pre-show meet and greet session that kicks off at 1:00 p.m. (other volumes on local topics will also be featured, among them Volume One of the Horners’ acclaimed musical history of Asbury Park’s West Side, “Springwood Avenue Harmony”). Seldin’s memoir also served as inspiration for “Here’s The Story: Stormin’ Norman & The Sound of Asbury Park,” a 30-minute documentary that airs on the stations of NJ PBS this Tuesday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m., in addition to live streaming at njtvonline.org.
General admission tickets to the March 6 Cavalcade of Stars benefit concert are priced at $45 and can be purchased online at APMuseum.Eventbrite.com. A cash bar will be offered, with table seating inside the spacious ballroom. Norman Seldin returns to the local stage on the afternoon of March 12, as part of the Light of Day Winterfest “Asbury Blues” event at The Wonder Bar, and the “One Voice” exhibit remains on display at the Berkeley through the summer of 2022, with more information on the Asbury Park Museum and its mission available at ap-museum.org.