The Times West Virginian

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May 7, 2009

Tony Orlando kicks off WVPT summer season May 15

MORGANTOWN — MORGANTOWN — No entertainer can move and excite an audience like Tony Orlando. One of America’s most endearing and enduring stars. Tony and America celebrated the 34th anniversary of his recording of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree.”

Orlando will kick off the summer season for West Virginia Public Theatre’s 25th anniversary at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Chestnut Ridge Community Church Threatre, 2223 Cheat Road, Morgantown.

Tony brings to the stage a warmth and exhilarating energy that electrifies an audience. From million selling records (five number one hits). a popular television variety series, movies and Broadway (Barnum and Smokey Joe’s Cafe). Tony Orlando has conquered every facet of show business.

Through no plans of his own, Tony was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled “Candida” for his friends Hank Medress and Dave Appall at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the promotion director’s daughter, Dawn.

“I think it is really the rule of show business that every big break you get you get you back into it without knowing it at the time. A few weeks after recording ‘Candida’ I had forgotten all about it. And then Hank Medress calls me and says, ‘Hey, man, we’ve got a hit!’ The crazy thing was the song kept climbing the charts till it hit number one,” says Orlando.

Hoping lightning would strike again, Medress had Orlando record “Knock Three Times.”

The song not only became number one, it was the top song of 1971 selling over 6 million copies worldwide. The immense popularity of the song is still evident today. Tony’s recording of the song was featured in the hit movie “Now and Then.”

Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career as one of the youngest vice-presidents at CBS Records, heading their April-Blackwood music label, Tony decided to jump full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation.

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