Concert at Railroad Green Park draws crowd of more than 400

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    WARWICK-According to Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, this was a good test. And based on the enthusiasm of the crowd that came to hear Dick Wells and the Big Band Swing Machine on Saturday evening, Aug. 7, it is likely that the recently rebuilt Village of Warwick Park at Railroad Green will become the site of all future summer concerts. Ironically, professional singer and radio host Dick Wells and the Big Band Swing Machine had been excluded from the Village Concert Series at Stanley-Deming Park this year. But a group of fans and business owners, led by Leo Kaytes and Ed Klein, formed an organization, "Friends of Dick Wells," to privately finance the concert. Admission was free and in spite of unseasonably low temperatures and the possibility of rain, over 400 fans showed up. Local restaurants, especially those with outdoor seating, enjoyed a robust business. "This was one of the best nights of my entire career," said Wells. That's saying a lot for someone who once sang with the world famous Harry James orchestra and who appeared on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. Wells also performed on Las Vegas stages with legendary entertainers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. "It was everything I hoped for and more," he added. The evening was like a huge block party with friends and neighbors, all in a festive mood, coming together to enjoy the music. The cooler weather actually worked out well for both the audience and Wells, who had sang with the band twice that week and was at peak performance. The musicians and their lead singer frequently appear together throughout the tri-state area. Earlier in the evening, recording artist and DJ Joanne Church warmed up the crowd with a karaoke contest judged by Terry Gavan, Gloria Okon and Christine Tawpash. "They were all so great," said Gavan. "We agreed that it was difficult to pick the winners." The judges, however, finally awarded the first place prize to Gina Salzillo of Warwick. Ronni Aiello of Warwick took second place and Cathy Vanacore of Monroe was third. "This is a wonderful town," said senior citizen Joe Rocco. "All I had to do to enjoy this great event was bring my own chair."