Sedaka Still Brings The House Down
If you missed Neil Sedaka and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra August 21 at Bethel Woods Center For The Arts you missed one of the greatest musicians (singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer) ever to grace the Bethel Woods stage.
I state this because of the great pure voice he still possesses at the age of 72 and the talent he displays at the piano.
Born in Brooklyn on March 13, 1939, Neil in 1958 met his wife, Leba Strassberg who's parents owned the Ester Manor near Monticello and Neil was part of the after-dinner entertainment the hotel provided its guests.
His hit songs including "Calendar Girl", "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" were part of the musical gifts he shared with the Bethel Woods audience who brought him back for two encores.
Many in the audience often sang along with Neil to their favorites of years past and clapped their hands while he sang "The Saints Go Marching In."
Sedaka also offered his first piano concerto which he noted incorporated all of the ethic groups in New York City.
Neil said that with the invasion of the The Beatles in the mid 1960's this was "not good" for his career as from the beginning of 1964 until the end of 1966 only three of his singles even made it on the Hot 100 list.
Although Sedaka's stature as a recording artist was at a low ebb in the late 1960s, he was able to maintain his career through songwriting.
Great singers with multi-musical talents like Sedaka always come back and in the mid to late 1970s he started the second phase of his career and included his original version of the hit song "Love Will Keep Us Together."
We could go on and on about the great Neil Sedaka who proved to the Bethel Woods audience that his inspired countless hits for the past 50 years continue to stand the test of time.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in making its first trip to Sullivan County was also outstanding clearly showing that it is comprised of some of the country's finest musicians under the directorship of Conductor Laureate Neeme Jarvi.
CAPTION FOR ATTACHED PHOTO
The great Neil Sedaka, left, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate Neeme Jarvi share a brief moment at their August 21 concert at Bethel Woods.