The Reddy Valentino Orchestra is a 16 piece band that was formed back in the mid 1980s by Harrison resident, the late Frank Casale. His idol as a young boy was silent film actor Rudolph Valentino and because of Frank’s red hair he was soon nicknamed Reddy Valentino! When ill health forced Casale to retire from leading the band, trumpeter Paul Pugliese along with his vocalist-wife Patty stepped in. Pugliese, who had been a member of both the Jimmy Dorsey and Ralph Flanagan orchestras, and teacher for many years at his Music Center on the Post Road in Larchmont (which is still going strong), waved the baton until the late 1990s.
The band has been led since then by lifetime Rye resident Scott Wenzel. This saxophonist, world renowned record collector and record producer (whose reissues for the Mosaic label have garnered three Grammy Award nominations during the past few years) has made sure the Valentino legacy continues. The band’s credentials include playing at Glen Island Casino, Westchester Country Club, Windows On The World and countless other concerts, weddings and dances.
The band currently includes a number of renown musicians:
Johnny Amaroso (trumpet): Johnny was 20 when he joined Tommy Dorsey in 1950 and stayed there until 1954. During this run he was the featured male vocalist and can be heard on many of TD’s RCA Victor and Decca recordings as well as numerous radio and TV broadcasts including a New Year’s Eve “Honeymooners” episode on the “The Jackie Gleason Show” in 1952. Johnny also saw action with the bands of Harry James, Ralph Flanagan, Lee Castle, Les Brown, Sammy Kaye and Vincent Lopez throughout the 1950s.
Other outstanding musicians in the band include trumpeters Ron LoPinto and Jerry Lucadamo (with Larry Elgart’s band), Howard Levy on trombone, Ross Schneider on tenor and baritone saxist Steve Cristos. One of the outstanding young drummers in New York, Paul Francis(who just recently was backing up Tony Bennett and Lady Ga Ga latest offerings) brings his flare to the rhythm section. The vivacious Kathie Hart sings and dances to some great pop standards.
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