Playing our Kazoos with Tony
My story takes place in June 1977 with 5 great girlfriends from NJ who traveled to Las Vegas for a week of fun, fun, fun. Back then we were able to attend 2 shows a day, and saw so many great performers, many who are no longer with us, David Brenner, Tody Fields, Bert Convy, Karen and Richard Carpenter, Liberace, the list goes on. However, the grand finale was attending the Tony Orlando and Dawn show at the Riviera Hotel on Wed. June 29, 1977. My friend Marie McCauley was in love with Tony. We were crazy girls back then in our early 20's and we brought Kazoos to the show. We played them loudly and Tony made his way through the showroom to our table. Marie was in her glory and could not hold back with the smiles and tears. Attached are the pictures of Tony playing one of our kazoos, Marie getting the kiss of her life from Tony and the 5 of us on stage with Dawn playing our kazoos, though that picture is really blurry. We even marched through the casino with Tony's band while playing our kazoos. We were asked to come back stage to meet personally with Tony, but he was not feeling up to it. We even had people in the casino who saw the show ask for our autographs thinking we were part of the show. We had a blast.
Well fast forward 37 years and we are hitting the big 60 and 4 of us from that trip, plus 20 more of Marie's family and friends are surprising Marie for her 60th by all meeting at the Sands Casino, in Bethlehem PA, Saturday Dec 6th at tony's 7 pm show. And we will all have kazoos to mark this big celebration for Marie. Marie has had many challenges in her life, including being a victim of Super Storm Sandy and being out of her home for a year. But she bounces back every time with her wonderful spirit and sense of humor. I really wish for her 60th birthday that Tony sees us and possibly gives us wild and crazy girls from the 70's a shout out for Marie McCauley's 60th birthday.
Thanks for reading this and hope it gets posted before the big day.
Short Hills, NJ
My Tony Orlando story starts in 1973, I was 6 years old. My Mom took me to see Tony for my very first time. I could hardly contain my excitement! I can STILL remember the outfit I wore, 41 years later! Needless to say we had front tickets and Tony at one point noticed that I had a dozen of yellow roses for him and my brother had yellow roses for Joyce and Thelma, Tony invited us both on stage and he sang Tie a Yellow Ribbon to me while my brother danced with the girls. When Tony was done singing I got a big kiss on the cheek as he picked me up into his arms and asked my brother if he knew any jokes. My brother being the ham that he is told a few jokes and back down into the audience we went.
I've gone on to see Tony many times since then always making sure I have a dozen yellow roses for him. One of my favorite childhood memories!
Thanks Tony for making a little girls dream come true!
Skyball "Salute to Heroes" Concert
Hi, my name is Sonya Purcell, my husband William and I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Tony Orlando at the American Airlines Skyball. We sat at the same table. However, I did not know that at first because I was behind stage preparing to sing the National Anthem. Afterwards, I went to sit down and there was Mr. Orlando. He was so friendly and kind. He told me, "I heard you did a wonderful job on the National Anthem and I'm sorry I missed it". That just made my day.
The Skyball Salute to Heroes Concert was awesome! It was truly an amazing experience, one that I won't soon forget. I laughed, I cried and I celebrated the lives of those who gave their lives for our freedom. I am so honored that I was given the opportunity to share my gift to such special and wonderful people. I was my way of giving back!
Since visiting this site, I have learned that Mr. Orlando is very involved in helping and supporting veterans. I would love to volunteer in some capacity. He is truly an awesome man!
He Makes Me Dance and Sing
I would like to start my Tony story by first telling you that I am a very shy person, especially when it comes to dancing or stuff like that. A couple of years ago there was a concert at Tanner Park in Long Island, NY. My husband and I decided to go, it was Tony Orlando, I knew his songs and liked them. We went to the concert and out comes Tony, a ball of energy and excitement. Let me say this was the first time in my whole life (47 yrs) that I let myself go and had the BEST time of my life at that convert. I was so sad when it ended but for 2 hours Tony and his awesome band had me singing out loud and swaying to his music, I was cheering and just a happy girl.
I couldn't stop talking about what a great time I had that night and looked up where Tony would be next. I went to Westbury Theatre where we was with Don Rickles, I had a great time there and was just in my glory. Then I saw him at John Burns Park, and was just awesome. I waited after the show to see if I could get an autograph, unfortunately he did not come out, but I was blessed and happy to have the awesome, spectacular Kerry Cole's autograph.
Ok, deep breath, I go to Eisenhower Park to see Tony's tribute to the Troops, and was just over the moon crazy happy. I was singing, laughing, and as I always do when I see Tony, having the time of my life. Then the end....... but......... hold on.......... A DREAM COME TRUE........ ME............. MEETING THE MAN WHO MADE DANCE SING AND BE
HAPPY...AM I DREAMING???? CAN IT BE????? YES!!!! I WAS SO
EXCITED I ACTED LIKE A COMPLETE FOOL., BUT TONY GAVE ME A
QUICK KISS AND TOLD ME TO "CALM DOWN" I WILL GET A
PEN AND SIGN YOUR TONY ORLANDO BOOK.... OMG !!!! HE SIGNED
MY BOOK, TOOK A PICTURE WITH ME AND I MET HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE
FRANCINE... TONY WAS SO DOWN TO EARTH, THANKED ME FOR BEING
A FAN!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE??? A NICER GUY (BESIDES HUBBY) I
HAVE NEVER MET. LOVE HIM, WILL ALWAYS LOVE HIM AND I WANT TO
THANK HIM FOR HIS SHOWS HAVE MADE ME DANCE SING AND I
DON'T CARE WHO IS WATCHING!!! THAT HAPPINESS FOR 2 HOURS
BRINGS TEARS TO MY EYES WITH HAPPINESS. GOD BLESS TONY
ORLANDO!!!!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
A Night to Remember
I was very fortunate to have tickets for the concert last night at the Seven Feathers Casino & Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. I was not prepared for the fabulous music, delightful comedy, amazing talent and the awesome sincerity that we encountered.
First of all, everyone was very professional and helpful. We did notice the increased security personnel that had not been in attendance at the previous concerts we have attended at Seven Feathers. We wondered why that was, but never felt anything but safe and secure the whole time.
Secondly, Tony Orlando had all the vim and vigor, and more, that one could hope to see in a man who is in his 52nd year of performing on stage. His smile was so contagious. His energy was exhilarating. We loved how he recognized special folks in the audience, especially the veterans, of which my husband is one. Viet Nam was a very bad memory in his life. But, it is so nice to have stars like tony Orlando recognize the lack of welcome the soldiers received upon returning home. Thank you for that. It made me cry with tears of joy.
Thirdly, Tony came out on stage singing all the songs that knew by heart. I couldn't believe how happy and energetic I was as I sang along, clapped, yelled, etc.
Fourth, Tony's recognition of his band members, highlighting their talents and enabling them to shine like they did was absolutely exquisite. Never have we seen a star so sincerely and appreciatively show off his band's abilities.
Fifth, he even extended that same honor to us, his audience. How special is that? We felt welcome. Everything he did made me respect him even more.
But that is not all. As the convert would down, the end was near. I hopped up out of my seat and made my way to the line forming at the back to purchase memorabilia. It was my high hope to get Tony Orlando to sign the two 45's I had brought with me. I bought those with my hard-earned money in the early 70's and I still cherished them as much now as I did back then.
When it was my turn in line, Tony's brother informed me that tony would not be available to sign my records. I asked whether someone could take the records back to him for his signature, that they didn't even need my name on them. I specifically asked Jim Shelton. He took the records from me, helped some other folks, then headed to the back. He turned around to ask my name. I told him and he turned back to the backstage area. I wasn't sure what to do. Do I stay by the front where the memorabilia was or do I make my way closer to the back so I will be sure to get my records back? I didn't want to lose them, after all these years.
The next thing I knew, he was signaling me to follow him. He guided me through the maze behind the stage. The security gentlemen in suits opened the black curtains and ushered me into the small space. Wow! It was filled with people who were talking to Tony Orlando and having their photos taken with him! But, he wasn't just signing things, taking photos and sending folks on their way. These people were special in his life. He was spending time with them, reminiscing about good times and youth. It was such a joy to watch him with this group. He once again was showing the real person that he is, warm and genuine. I again was impressed by him. I just stood waiting and watching patiently. I did take a couple of photos and no one stopped. I was surprised . He seemed to bring me into the conversation as he talked with everyone else. I don't know whether he thought I was with them or not, but it felt like he did.
Finally, the moment arrived and I meekly asked him to sign my records. He very graciously signed both of them, including my husband's name on Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree', as a reminder of his coming home from Viet Nam. He posed for a picture that was taken by one of his security people.
I hope you folks realize, after reading this letter that I have written to you, that your entire entourage has been most kind in every facet and I think you most profusely. I will never forget this evening. Thank you again for making this a night to remember for us both.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST… (As the Kay would say)
Here is my Tony Story. We’ve known each other since August 1985. I have Multiple Sclerosis and have been in a wheelchair for the past 31 years. I met him at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ.. (I’m from Toms River. My father is the one who said “who would you like to see in Atlantic City… anybody”… At the time I was coming off a breakdown and getting over a divorce. After that I saw him at Harrah’s Marina later in 1985. Then Christmas of 85 I went and saw him again in Atlantic City. I went there with my caretaker and my friend. We were able to see him after the show, and that was the first time we met. I was able to meet him and get a picture with him. After that, I kind of followed him and when he was in AC, I was there. In 1986 I saw him at the MDA telethon and that is where we got this picture taken. So it’s safe to say, we’ve know each other a good long while (26 years).
In August of 1987, I was down seeing Tony in Atlantic City once again, I was at Trump Plaza this time. Some women I didn’t know that were sitting at our table yelled out at Tony “Hey Tony, Arleen is here, she’s waiting for you.”.. These women did not know me, but we were making idle conversation at the table before the show, so they knew my name. Tony started this conversation with me form the stage asking how I was and how my family was. Mind you, I was practically in the back of the house. Anyway, after the show, I met two people who I would eventually become friends with. One of them was Denise Molinaro, whose fan story is also on this page. I also met Betty Miller that night, who was a longtime friend of Tony’s as well. After the show Denise and Betty asked me if I was the one he was talking to from the stage, and I said yes.
And the rest is history. After that I continued to see Tony for several years to come. 7 years ago, I became bedridden and unable to travel and see him anymore. When Tony was in Atlantic City this past May, my friend Karen let me listen to the show via telephone and I really enjoyed it.
I’ve enjoyed Tony’s talent over the years and I’m very proud that he has recently celebrated 50 years in show business. YOU ARE THE BEST TONY O!!!
Arleen Cipolletti – Toms River, NJ
February 4, 1962
My story starts at the TV studios in Aston Birmingham UK I went as I always did on a Sunday to wait for the stars that came to record the show called Thank Your Lucky Stars to collect their autographs.
I would wait all day as they would come at different times through out the day. It was a cold February morning and I saw this handsome guy walking towards me in a long black rain coat, with the belt tied up in front and I was hooked there and then.
I walked to meet him and asked for his autograph which he gave to me with a big smile. Then I asked him if I could have a photo taken with him, and he said, "yes". My friend took the picture and I thought how wonderful he was.
I waited till that evening when the shows were recorded with an audience and I was lucky to get a ticket to watch the show - it was great to be part of that. After the show was over the fans waited out side to see if they could get any more autographs. I knew where they would come out in the evening to leave the building, so I was among quite a few fans waiting, and I saw the limo with Tony in it about to leave. There was lots of pushing and it was only a narrow exit for the car to leave. The limo was being driven out of the exit with the fans walking along side it with no space to move. I was pushed from behind and put my foot out to stop myself from falling over, but as the limo was moving it ran over my foot! I screamed... the car stopped. I was crying and the next thing I knew I was being put into the limo. Tony was very concerned. As I was being taken to the hospital, I just remember my foot hurting and crying, but Tony comforted me. After hospital treatment, a few hours waiting for us all, and my foot strapped, badly bruised and swollen, I was taken home.
The next day, to my joy, a beautiful large bouquet of flowers was delivered to my home with a card signed by Tony.
It was about 2-3 weeks later that I went to see Tony where he was doing a show as part of a tour he was on, with some fellow Americans in the Birmingham town hall.
I got to go back stage and see him after that show and indeed saw him several times more during his tour.
He was always generous with his time and happy to chat. Even when he was tired after a show he would still make time to talk. I thanked him very much for looking after me that night, and again he signed things for me. I asked if I could have the shirt he had been wearing on stage that night - he was taken by surprise, but said I could have it.
He signed my photograph that I had taken that first morning I had seen him walking down the street towards me - that was awesome and unforgettable.
But I will never forget the first meeting, on that crisp cold February morning.
The Gift of Song
Tony has given all of us the gift of music but to me he's also given the gift of singing. I started singing shortly after I learned to talk and before I started first grade in 1973 I was well-versed in the music of Tony Orlando and Dawn. "Knock Three Times" was played for us in music class and we had fun pounding out the beat on our desks, rhythm sticks in hand. The song was also played over the school PA system to celebrate the last day of school that year.
In April '75, my mom and grandmother told me we were going to see a concert at the new Hartford Civic Center. They wanted to surprise me so I had no idea who we were going to see. Unfortunately, in school that morning, a classmate announced "I'm going to see Tony Orlando and Dawn at the civic center tonight!" There went the surprise - but I never told my mom and grandmother that little Tommy spilled the beans! We made it to the show but ended up with horrible seats (main floor, one city block away from the stage). My memory of the concert is sitting in my chair and gazing at either the floor or all those heads that were blocking my view of my heroes!
It was about this time that I was inspired to create the artwork you see here. Drawn on school paper, it's extremely fragile and survived the years tucked inside the "Ragtime Follies" album. There are other souvenirs too like my 1976 Pooh Bear calendar where only three birthdays are listed: Tony's, mine, and Tippy's (my little dog at the time); page one of my very first scrapbook with Tony and Freddie's picture front and center; and three photographic slides featuring Tony, Telma, and Joyce from the 1975 "TV Guide" cover. My grandmother and I created these slides using a special kit that turned any photo into a transparency. Other souvenirs are in the form of memories: My dad trying to take pictures of Tony, Telma, and Joyce off the TV; and a special teacher telling me "This pretty lady is Telma and this pretty lady is Joyce. Remember, Telma always wears her hair in a bun!" My teacher, Mrs. Fontaine, who was tutoring me after a long illness, wrote this down for me. She never minded the presence of the "Prime Time" album on my homework table.
Of course when Tony's show was on there was only one place you could find me. One night I was enthralled by a children's choir that made a guest appearance. Those kids were singing with Tony, Telma, and Joyce! I was watching, learning, and taking note of everything. Two years later I joined my first choral organization - an odyssey that continues to this day.
Singing has helped me cope with many things even though I never aspired to be a soloist. I've sung my way through school, through decades of surviving Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain, and through the last ten years of being an assistant caregiver to my grandmother, granduncle, and dad. My dad, a Korean war veteran, battled Alzheimer's for nine years. When I met Tony at Mohegan Sun in 2008 he told me to "keep singing". I thought of that often when my grandmother, granduncle, and dad all died within nine months in 2009. There were times I did NOT want to sing but I had to because Tony told me to.
Today I sing in Concert Chorale at Eastern Connecticut State University (my alma mater) and in an a cappella choir called "Take Note!". Take Note's concerts raise money for local charitable organizations. After one recent concert a young girl came over to tell me how much she enjoyed it and that she was a choral singer too. I told her to keep singing because one day it would mean a lot to her. Granted it's on a smaller scale, but I have some idea of how Tony must feel when we say similar words to him after one of his incredible concerts!
"But music and singing have been my refuge, And music and singing shall be my light..." Composer Frank Ticheli wrote these words as a part of the choral work "Earth Song" but it's Tony's inspiration and years of choral singing that give them meaning to me. Thank you Tony for that inspiration and I definitely will keep singing!
Linda J. Ouellette
Smiles for Tony
Just want to share my story briefly. I am now 50 and been a fan since 13. I have every CD,album,DVD, always listening to Tony. I came from a very hostile childhood in which I was physically and verbally abused by my father. When I was 13 years old, I was in the process of attempting suicide when my grandmother came in to stop me.
Soon afterward Tony Orlando came to television. I quickly took notice and for the first time in my life I was able to smile. It was through Tony's singing, charisma and strength Tony started to make me realize that life can be fun. Tony soon became my role model in life as well as my Savior. I did get to meet Tony at Mohegan Sun Casino after giving Tony a homemade painting.
There was so much more I wanted to thank Tony for and it is all here in my letter. I hope Tony that you read this and hope I will eventually meet you again. Thank you so much for turning my life around.
With love your fan,
Remember, There's a Blue Bird On Your Shoulder
On December 10, 2006, I actually got to meet Tony Orlando, my teenage idol. I always thought he was great and was a huge fan, but after getting married, having a child, divorced, and caring for ill parents for nine years, you just don’t have too much time for fun. BUT, meeting him lifted the cloud and snapped me into my second childhood!!
My boyfriend and I went to see Tony’s Christmas Show at Bally’s in Atlantic City on a bus trip. It was really a beautiful day—unusually warm and sunny for December. We had a nice time, walked the Boardwalk, gambled a little, and had dinner in the Wild West Buffet just before the show, which started at 3:00. When the show started, I watched anxiously for Tony to come on stage. You heard his voice, but did not see him. I remember looking around for him, and there he was, live. I got choked up and was just so happy. It really brought me back to my childhood, fun times. He still looks great and sounds great, HE IS TONY ORLANDO, the greatest all around entertainer. His voice is just beautiful as he sings some of his tunes along with Christmas songs. Bob is enjoying the show also. I caught him singing along throughout the whole show and really getting into it. At one point when Tony came down the aisle, he pointed right at me and waved. I thought maybe it was my imagination, but Bob even mentioned it later thinking that Tony remembered me from the audience when we met him. I got choked up several times during the show; I just did not want it to end. But, it did, Bob went to the men’s room and that is when the fun began.
I walked out of the Ballroom with Bob as he left for the men’s room, and I kept looking into the room. I suggested hanging around to see if we could possibly meet Tony. He insisted we would NEVER get to meet him. At this point, I was really on a spontaneous secret mission to meet Tony Orlando until someone in authority told me that I would not. There were a few people around, including people from the band and security. I talked to a girl named Sue. She was a big fan also and met him several times. She encouraged me to stick around. This was the first opportunity I ever had to stay after one of his concerts because usually the buses left right after the show, so as long as I had the time, I was going to stay. Bob returned and was still insisting that we would not get to meet him. He asked Tony’s brother if he would be seeing fans, and he told Bob that Tony had broken ribs and would not be seeing fans. I insisted that I was staying until I knew for certain that there was no way I was going to meet him. I talked with Sue some more, who encouraged me to stay. I was not going to budge at this point. We were able to purchase a copy of the Christmas CD even though they did not have enough to put out on display, so anything could happen. Now, it really gets interesting, and I was not going anywhere!
I heard security say they were going to check with Tony to see if he was going to come down and see fans. I could not believe what I heard. The security guard just looked at me and said he would find out if we would be going to Tony’s room or if Tony would be coming down. Oh, I was really getting excited now. It seemed like forever until security returned. Could this really be happening? I waited with such anticipation of the moments to come. I unwrapped the CD so I would be prepared for him to sign it. Then, I just starting repeating, “I am just so excited.” Finally, security returned and just said, “We are going up.” My heart just stopped. I kept saying, “I am really going to get to meet Tony Orlando, I am just so excited!” We started to proceed out of the room and down the corridor. I called my daughter and sister and left messages: “As you are listening to this message, I am on my way down the corridor to Tony Orlando’s room. I am going to get to meet Tony Orlando.” Somehow, I got to the head of the line and was walking with the security guard. That was the most exciting walk of my life. I immediately started shaking and just kept repeating, “I am just so excited!” I know the other fans and security found my rambling and excitement to be quite entertaining. Then it hit me and I said. “What do I say to him?” I asked everyone how long do we have, I did not want to take up too much of his time, so I was going to keep it as brief as possible. As we were walking and I was worried about what to tell him, I started babbling, “I could tell him about my little blue parakeet that said Tony Orlando and Dawn!” I told everyone the story about Sam who said “Good Morning, Pretty Bird, and Tony Orlando and Dawn.” The security guard loved it; he said, “Tell Tony about the bird, he will love it.”
I was the first one in the line waiting outside the door to Tony’s room. Bob was behind me and the security guard was next to me. He was quite entertained by me and kept smiling at me. I was certain that he told Tony something about me, either that I was a nut (which I really don’t think he told him) or that I was probably the most excited fan, but I do know that he told Tony something. I kept saying, “I am just so excited!!” “What if I faint and miss seeing him!” I was also still visibly shaking. I was really the only huge fan in the group who did not meet him yet, so I guess they could definitely understand my excitement. Then, the moment came, I was told to go into the room. For a split second, I remember freezing and thinking, “This is it!” I crossed through the doorway looking around for a second when I spotted him. He was just standing there like an ordinary person welcoming guests into his home. As soon as our eyes met, I know my eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning when they saw that one present that they really wanted under the tree. While that was happening, I caught my breath while Tony smiled and motioned for me to come to him. Tony Orlando actually knew I exist and motioned for ME to come to him. At that instant, blinders went up and I only saw Tony Orlando in front of me. Without hesitation, I walked toward him while saying to myself “This is it, the moment I have been waiting for, nothing is going to stop me now!” I approached him and we were going to hug when I said, “I don’t want to hurt your ribs, are you ok?” He said, “Yes, it’s ok” and smiled, and we actually hugged! Bob took a picture of this moment, which is actually my favorite picture even though you only see the back of my head. As we are hugging, I said, “Oh, YOU are just so WONDERFUL!” I then told him—“I didn’t know what I was going to say to you, but I do know that I want to tell this. While I was growing up, I had a little blue parakeet, not a parrot, but just a little blue parakeet who talked.” I started to mix up a couple of the words and said “Excuse me, look Tony, I am shaking.” I held up my hand, which was shaking like a leaf. He said not to shake and gave me a smile. Then I told him that Sam, the parakeet, said just a few word, “Good Morning,” “Pretty Bird,” and “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” He was quite surprised and asked if he really said Tony Orlando. I told him that he did, he said “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” I should have elaborated a little more about it and told him how cute he was jumping around his cage and would combine the words and say Happy Birthday Tony Orlando, but I didn’t want to take up much of his time. I asked if he would autograph the Christmas Reunion CD. He said sure and asked me to come over to the table. He wrote, “Debbie, Merry Christmas, Tony Orlando”. While he was signing it, we chatted a little, and I admit, I did ramble a little. I told him how thrilled I was to have met him. He invited me to have a picture taken with him by the photographer and they would have the picture was sent to me. We hugged again and had our picture taken. Everyone who sees the picture says that they never saw me look so happy. I just watched while everyone else spoke with Tony and saw him glancing at me. I was really hoping that he didn’t think I was a stalker or something. I was just so amazed to be in his company. While we were getting ready to leave, Tony looked and me and said, “Remember, there’s a blue bird on your shoulder.”
I have three great pictures of this event that I had enlarged and professionally framed. They are on display in my family room. One of my daughter’s friends, who is in her twenties and is not too familiar with Tony, saw the pictures. She thought he was an uncle who I had not seen in a while. So, now, we refer to him as Uncle Tony.
How Tony's Troop of Fans Began
The first time I saw Tony Orlando in person dates back to 1993 when he came to Branson, MO, about a 3 or 4 hour drive from my home. The first time I saw him was in the Yellow Ribbon Theater. I was seated on the aisle about half way back in the theater. Tony came down the aisle, pulled me from my seat, sang to me and gave me a hug. I was thrilled beyond words. It was wonderful to have Tony in Branson. That was only the beginning of many trips to Branson to enjoy many Tony shows, usually in the front row.
Many Troopers have asked me how Tony Orlando’s Troop of Fans was organized. Tony’s Troops was formed in 1998 after a chance meeting with Tony. In 1998, Tony was preparing for the season opening at the Talk of the Town Theater in Branson. We stopped by the theater the day before the opening to pick up our tickets. We turned from the ticket counter and were surprised to see Tony and a small group across the lobby preparing a display. What a surprise! I pulled out my camera and took a picture with my telephoto lens. Tony turned towards me just in time to see me take the picture. I will never forget that moment. He dropped what he was doing and, taking long strides, crossed the lobby and gave me a big hug. I am shy in many ways but I found it easy to talk to Tony. That was our first real conversation with him. He visited with us for several minutes before going back to his project. We were extremely excited to have had that chance meeting. We went directly into the theater gift shop where they were still unpacking merchandise.
We asked about a Tony Orlando Fan Club and were told there had been one in the past but not currently. I knew there were many Tony fans out there and felt there should be a fan club. Tony has given us so much joy through his music that I felt we should show our love and support. It was suggested I talk to Frannie Orlando but I didn’t want to disturb them as they were busy preparing the theater displays. I left my address and phone number along with the information that I wanted to get a fan club started. Well, it wasn’t long and I received a letter and that was the beginning of Tony’s Troops and I was named as International President. It is such a joy to me to be associated with Tony and the Lefty Brothers. We began to distribute Tony’s Troops Enlistment Forms at the shows and in the gift show.
Our web site is still in use and a great place for Tony’s fans to come together. We meet other Tony’s Troopers at shows and enjoy special friendships formed during Tony’s MDA Cruise. We have found many friends from across the country through Tony’s Troops and many are friends who are now like family. Our love for Tony has brought us together in love and friendship.
A Common Bond
It was the summer of 1974, and I was 10 yrs old when Tony’s show first premiered on Wednesday evening at 8pm on CBS. I remember sitting in the middle of the floor thinking, and I had first row seats watching his show. I never imaged that I would ever meet him.
I have been going to various live shows since 1986. The first one was in Atlantic City, NJ, Tony singing along with Joyce and Pam a.k.a. Dawn. I never had a chance back then of meeting him in person.
I first officially meet Tony at Westbury Music Hall in September 1990 prior to his show. He arrived early wearing a white sweat suit. Tony was so gracious in taking photos prior to the show. I was so excited about meet Tony that I called my husband on a pay phone and told him. It was also a special year for both of us. Tony and Francine had their marriage vows in April of that year. A month later, my now former husband and I said our vows. I remember reading about his wedding in the Star Magazine during my honeymoon in Hawaii.
The following August 1991, Francine gave birth to a beautiful baby girl to be named Jenny Rose and a month later, I was scheduled to give birth to a handsome son to be named Michael. Tony was performing again at Westbury Music Hall on Saturday, September 7th at 8pm. I had tickets to go. However, my future son had other plans for me that day. My water broke at about 11pm the night prior to his concert. I was some what torn. What do I do? Should I go to the show or to the hospital? I wrapped Jenny Rose’s baby gift prior to going to the hospital. I had three concert tickets. My mother, sister and I were planning on going to the show. I had my then husband take my ticket, told him to make sure Tony got the baby gift and try to get a picture (Tony and I) from the previous year autographed for me. Tony got the gift for baby Jenny and I did get an autograph which he signed "To Carolyn, God Bless You. Tony Orlando."
I cherish the autographed picture completely. It was the first but, definitely not the last meeting for Tony and me.
I got a chance to see his show and meet him again at the Yellow Ribbon Theater in Branson, MO. The Theater was beautiful. My only regret was that I did not purchase a jacket from your gift shop. My sister, son and I were at the theater on Thursday, May 25, 1995. We had the best seats in the world, center-row two. At the end of his show, he sang Yellow Ribbon and when he got to the part "now the whole room is cheering – cheering." I just kept on cheering above everyone else and Tony notices me. Tony said "that little one down there is falling a sleep on me. How old is that child? I answered three the same age as Jenny Rose. Tony said "three the same as my daughter. God Bless that little boy. He’s just sound a sleep right there. You tell him that Geraldo was very good. OK". Everyone in the room laughed. Tony then continues with the song-can’t believe what they see. Tony made my day and I left his show with the biggest smile on my face.
Since then, I have met and taken many more pictures with you, Tony. You have always been generous, caring, kind, a real gentleman.
I look forward to seeing you many more show to come. We love you, Tony!
Ozone Park, NY
The Best Birthday Gift
I started following Tony's career when I saw the first episode of his television show, in the summer of 1974. I was between the age of 8 and 9 years old. I caught the last 15 minutes of the show, and was HOOKED from then on.
I never missed a show. I never missed a TV guest appearance or interview. I bought every album. I purchased every magazine and book, even if it merely mentioned his name. Over the years I put together scrapbooks in chronological order of Tony's career, from the beginning of the TV show forward.
In March of 1978, after Tony's absence from show business, my Mother surprised me one evening out of the clear blue, and said "Let's go to Vegas for a night and see Tony!" Holy Cow! She pulled me out of school for two days. We flew into Vegas, saw the show, and flew out the next morning. That night, I met Tony's first wife, Elaine. She was so nice to me. She talked to me for several minutes and held my hand the whole time. Then during the show, when Tony came out into the audience, he came up to me and grabbed that same hand. I didn't wash that whole ARM for over a week! (Not until my mother really put her foot down over it.) We had such a good time that first show, we began going to go see Tony once a year, flying to wherever he was: Reno, Tahoe, Vegas, various State Fairs.
Then in 1983, I was 18 and Tony FINALLY performed in Denver. He did a meet and greet in town. So I gathered all my scrapbooks and went to meet him. Pictures, autographs, the whole package. Of course, he was wonderful. He signed my scrapbooks and I went to all of the performances.
I continued to see Tony perform once a year whether he was in Vegas or Denver through 1991. In 1991, I remember, he was at the Colorado State Fair, performing with Dawn, and announced the birth of Jenny Rose only a few days prior.
In 2009, Mom and I restarted our annual Tony trips, this time going to Branson. Such a wonderful man and fabulous entertainer. He truly has entertained me my whole life.
In 2010, our Branson trip was also the week of my birthday. The last night of the trip, my Trooper friends threw me a birthday party at Tony's show. Tony came to the party as we were winding down the evening. He took time to sign my birthday card, sing a little bit of Happy Birthday to me, gave me a hug, a kiss, and took some pictures . Talk about the best birthday present ever!
I am left without words to truly express the heartfelt. THANK YOU, Tony , for everything you are and everything you do.
Tony Saved My Life
I was 12 yrs old feeling and very depressed after an auto accident, all I could think of was killing myself. I had heard "Tie a Yellow Ribbon on the radio several times on the radio. I loved that song!
When Tony's TV show came on I was outside on a ledge off the balcony with no fence of any kind and it dropped off to a 20 foot canyon. I was going to jump, I had had enough. My feet were half off the ledge when I heard the song, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" coming from in the house. I wanted to see who it was singing that song. It was his first TV show and when I walked into the room there he was on the TV, I fell in love with him that very second. My dad told me that if I stopped trying to kill myself and if mom learned how to walk again we could go see him. On Sept 19. 1975 we went to see a tapping of his show, ever since then when I needed a friend I would look for him, he was the rock in my life that held me together. During the time I was being sexually assaulted by my father I would embrace a pillow that had Tony's picture on it and some how that made it hurt less.
Tony's music has helped me through a lot! I was able to see him 5 different times and I wrote to him daily when he was ill. I sent him care packages and letters until he was feeling better. When he came to San Carlos, I was there with 12 yellow ribbons where I was able to tell him just how special he was to me.
"Lost and Found"
To all of Tony's Fans..this is a GREAT short story from the 70's. I was 17 years old and one of Tony's BIGGEST fans. For my Birthday my mother bought me tickets to see Tony in Cincinnati, Ohio. I thought I had died and went to HEAVEN....I anxiuously awaited the concert, all the while of course bragging to my friends! We did not have a lot of money then but my mother pulled it off! We arrived at the Collesium and of course had the "Nose Bleeder" seats...but that was OK with me I was going to see my MAN!
Approximately halfway through the concert which of course was excellent! Tony held a child from the audience in hopes to keep the audience at bay while he actually visited the less fortunate (I would have killed for a FRONT row seat)!.
Tony actually came to my row....I was in TOTAL AWE! In an abscence of mind....I grabbed his necklace and it broke of in my hand! I have to say I thought I had won the lottery and it would hang on my wall forever!
Tony went back to the stage and pleaded for the return of the necklace/pendant becasue it contained a picture of his sister! This Broke my HEART ....I could not keep something of such sentimental value to him. The Entire crowd sent it back to the stage hand by hand and he thanked me ...not knowing who I was and I am so thankful to this day that I sent it back! And also to the audience that night for being so kind and unselfish. It very easily could have been lost in the crowd and hanging at some other adoring fan's home or on E-Bay (thankfully not!).
Tony...I hope you still have this and remember this evening....! It will remain embedded in my heart FOREVER! I am now 49 and holding! waiting for you to come around Sarasota, Florida where I now call home!
Still love you after all these years!
"I was a Yellow Ribbon Theater Usherette"
When I was a teen in Indiana in the 60's I remember seeing Tony on TV. He was doing different shows as a new and upcomming Talent/Star. I loved his style, his music, cloths, hair, voice and great refreshing look. And from what I saw by his interactions he seemed like a very nice/sincere human being.
Well, who would have thought 30 years later I would be an employee in his Yellow Ribbon Theater in Branson, Mo. Nothing I planned! Just an accident. I had just went through a divorce and needed a change of scenery so I started driving from an Arkansas town to Branson each day looking for work. I was hired by the Grand Palace as an usherette, but I had applied to The Yellow Ribbon Theater a few days earlier. I had worked for the Palace for about one week when I got a call from Tony's theater. Well, I couldn't resist. Tony's theater was the first one I tried to get hired by so when they called me I had to say goodbye to Palace and go to Tony O's show. I have to say I never regretted one day of my decision. I got to work there during the Christmas show. I would catch the show every chance I could by slipping into the back row of the theater. I just couldn't get enough of the show. Tony was magical, warm and great with the audience each and every show. My life was not very happy at the time and every time he walked onto the stage I instantaneously was taken back to my teen years watching him on TV with my parents and would tear up with those happy innocent memories of the past. And then also realizing I was " WORKING FOR HIS THEATER NOW"!! WOW, imagine that! I would never in a million years have thought that would happen to me, and I treasure it.
One evening at the end of the second show I knew this was my chance to get his autograph. Someone with the show told me not to, but I couldn't resist, so I saw him signing autographs and the line was almost gone, I grabbed a piece of paper from a nearby office and hurried down the isle with my heart pounding out of my chest. I felt like a child who just stole a cookie from the cookie jar. There I stood just a few feet from Tony O. I know he knew I was one of the ushers because I was wearing the white shirt and black slacks. I was next when he looked at me and I can't even remember what I said to him, but he smiled and asked me my name. He then gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek. And he left a wonderful cologne scent on my face which I wish I could have bottled and kept forever. LOL I just wanted to share this story with everyone.
Thank you Tony
Love and peace to all
I was 7 years old when I met Tony. Its kind of a long story but I'll shorten it. When I was 6 years old, I had a malignant brain tumor on the left side of my brain. The doctors told my family that they didn't think I would live any longer than one more year. The next year when I turned 7 years old, a teacher's aide helped me when I returned to school. I talked about Tony because I saw the TV show in the hospital & at home. She listened to me talk about him so much that she wanted to help me see him.
She had some connections & she got tickets for me & my family to see The Tony Orlando & Dawn concert in Indianapolis, IN on April 23,1976. They got a backstage pass for me& my family. I got to meet Tony that night after the show. My visit with Tony was unforgettable. Tony gave me the determination to live. I am now 35 years old . I have a wonderful friendship with Tony & his family.
I have adored Tony from my early years in high school, circa 1975.
I fell in love with him more each week watching his TOAD variety show. It was such a frustration when I was scheduled to work some Wednesday evenings at a fast food drive-in and would miss the beginning of the shows. My mother can contribute to those days, driving as fast as she could in her robe and slippers to pick me up in time to get me transported in front of the TV.
Through the years, my Mom and I would attend his shows from Lake Tahoe in 1980 to his appearance in 1989 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Washington. Maybe we would get a glimpse of his beautiful smile or a quick autograph on a napkin which would soar our spirits.
In March 2000, Tony was performing at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City Oregon. Mom & I attended the show and hoped at least during the performance, we could shake Tony's hand or better yet grab a hug. After the show, we were mesmerized and could not just walk out as people were leaving the casino, we wandered to the stage where we met some gals that had Tony Orlando shirts on. I wanted to talk to them and share our adoration for Tony. They invited us to sit with them. They mentioned there was a good chance we could meet Tony after the show.
I was in disbelief, thinking this can't be happening, pinching myself. We spent the waiting hour getting to know Denise Molinaro and Dianne Sesto better. They shared their memories and showed us their scrapbooks and mementos. It was then they introduced me to apply on-line as an official trooper.
Did I know that Tony Orlando had his own website?!
Well, the moment came when we were told Tony was meeting fans after the show. As we walked down the corridor, I could hear Tony's welcoming voice as my Mom walked in the room first. He treated her like a long lost acquaintance and even mentioned how much she looked like his Aunt Gloria. There was about a dozen of us in the room and I was in awe how Tony gave his undivided attention to each of us.
I felt like he was in my living room. We talked about different things, Tony was especially captivated by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We had good conversation and kidding, we took several pictures and exchanged warm hugs. I had told Tony I had a Puerto Rican husband, Tony said, "Mom, does he treat her right?". He made me feel so relaxed yet I was still trembling. My Mom and I could not sleep hardly the whole night afterwards, talking about the experience for hours. We were in a daze for a couple days after that.
I will always treasure those moments seeing Tony face to face, an experience most people don't encounter with someone they admire. I have met Tony a couple more times since. At our last meeting in October in Rochester, WA, he was so gracious to sign personal messages for my kids on their "Tony Orlando" cards they had made me for my last birthday.
If it wasn't for Tony's Orlando's Troop of Fans, I wouldn't have the connection with others that appreciate the fondness we have for Tony who surpasses any entertainer/celebrity out there with kindness to their fans. Goodness, the Cruise would have passed us by.
It was 1974 when I saw Tony for the first time on television. I had four of his 45's playing in my room all the time. Now I could put the face to the name. I was eleven years old and I just thought he was the most gorgeous man I ever saw in my life! He didn't just have the looks, his charm, sweetness, humbleness and charismatic ways blew me away. I wanted nothing more than to meet this man. He made such an impact on this eleven year old. In 1976, he came to Boston Garden and played on his birthday. I had a present for him and they were letting some kids up on stage to give him presents. There were so many of us, they had to send most of us back to our seats. Couldn't meet him but still had a great time and seeing him on his 32nd birthday was a treat in itself!
Then in 1977 he was coming to Cohasset, Massachusetts. I got tickets to the Friday late afternoon show on July 22nd. Tony was very late coming out and I was right up front in the line before he walks into the tent. He came out about 45 minutes late and being up front I thought this would be my dream to finally meet him. Tony came out but there was something different about him tonight. He walked right by me and I couldn't bring myself to stop him and say "hi". He looked like he was in another world. Thinking this might be the best night of my life to finally meet him, it happened to be one of the worst nights of my life! To watch him in so much pain and sorrow and to keep trying to finish the show was so horrible. I just wanted to go on stage with him and hug him. I had nightmares for months!
Let's fast forward a year later when he got himself back on the right track THANK GOD!! I got tickets to see him in Warwick, Rhode Island. This time I had a huge yellow teddy bear with a huge yellow ribbon around it to give him. I got the nerve to go onstage to give it to him. There he was, right in front of me, my idol…I froze!! He was trying to talk to me but I couldn't speak just shook my head in a complete daze. After he gave me a kiss, I just sat down and melted!
A few months later he came to Boston again to do a benefit for the NARC. While here, he stopped at a record store to promote his 'Tony Orlando' album. It took a lot of doing, seeing it was in the afternoon, on a school day and it was quite a distance from my home but I finally got there. Me and my friends were right up in front. I had a little plaque for him that had a little girl giving a thumbs up and it said "thumbody wuvs you". He noticed the plaque and took it from me. He thanked me for it and winked at me. I thought I died and went to heaven. A little while later, he invited me and my friend Karen to go up with him and get some pictures taken. He was just as charming and gorgeous as I thought he'd be in person. At least this time I did manage to speak to him. He made me feel so comfortable so it was very easy to talk to him. He has this special way about him that makes everyone feel special. That is the gift he gives to anyone that is lucky enough to meet him.
I got three autographs that day and many pictures. I have seen him in concert and met him many times since then. I'm now all grown up, married and have three children. My children are growing up listening to Tony and enjoy watching his TV. show. Tony has been such a big part of my life since I can remember. I still have a blast going to his shows! I hope he keeps going another 43 years! God Bless you Tony! You are and always will be the BEST!!!
"20 Years and Still Counting!"
This photo I took with Tony goes back to July 27, 1984 in Atlantic City, but my first encounter goes back over 20 years ago. The first time I met Tony was back on March 31st 1983 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. I lived in New Jersey at the time and my parents and I went to Vegas for vacation.
We had always been big fans of Tony and always watched his show, so we didn't hesitate to go when we saw he was playing at the Riviera. We went that night and it was such a great show. The first time I saw Tony's show was on Feb 24, 1980 at the Las Vegas Hilton, but I didn't meet him then. Anyway, that show at the Riviera totally captivated me, and I was completely hooked. So hooked in fact, I wanted to go back, so I did. Again, again, and again. I had gone to 4 straight shows and enjoyed them so much. I was in the casino after the 4th show that night and was hoping to see Tony. I was in front of the showroom and when I saw Tony come out into the casino, my knees went weak, but I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't go up and say hello, so that is what I did. He had me from hello as they said in "Jerry McGuire."
I walked to him and shook his hand, and introduced myself. I told him I'd been to 4 straight shows and he was so impressed. He gave me a huge hug and kiss. I told him I was from New Jersey and he liked that. We began walking through the casino with his arm around my shoulder. Just as this was beginning to all sink in, we ran right into my dad (I was only 19 at the time, and he was wondering where I was at 2am!) The funny part of this was that my dad didn't even recognize Tony! He goes "Denise, who are you with?" I introduced him to Tony by saying "Tony meet Tony" since my dad's name was also Tony. They began talking about New Jersey and all. It was such a thrill, and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to tell my mom. The next night was our last night in town so I decided to go to the show one more time. Tony spotted me in the audience and said "Your name is Denise, from Jersey right? I met you outside last night, you said you came to 4 shows and this is your 5th show?" I was smiling from ear to ear and nodding yes. He told the matre'd to fix it so that I didn't pay for the show that night. That was so sweet of Tony.
Since then the rest is history, Tony has become a wonderful friend and one of the most generous people I know. I've also made the greatest friends anyone could have ever hoped for traveling around to see Tony over the years. The greatest blessing of all remains Tony's friendship, which I will cherish and treasure for the rest of my life. When Tony and I were talking that night with my dad, I asked him for an autograph. He wrote on it "To Denise, my new friend, send my love to Jersey." He didn’t know how right he was, and what a wonderful friendship it’s been. THANK YOU TONY.
Las Vegas, NV
"Tony's A Doll"
The first time I got to meet Tony was March 26 and 27th of 1977. It was at the Front Row Theatre in Cleveland Ohio. It was a dream come true. My first encounter actually is a two part story. When you read the story you'll understand.
I went to the show with my Sister Helen and Cousin Pam. My sister told me she had no doubt something great was going to happen tonight. She was right.
We took out places in the 8th row and waited nervously. Norm Crosby, was on first, which only built up the suspense. Finally the lights dimmed and you could hear Tony, Telma and Joyce sing "No Business Like Show Business." Then they ran down the aisle, right next to ours, and onto the stage. They did one super fantastic show, but it was over all too soon. Before I knew it, the show was ending and nothing had happened yet.
I had made a large stuffed doll replica of Tony, and I wanted very much to give it to him. Pam and I decided to go down to the stage, We ran down and stood right by the stage. (The Front Row Theatre was in the round and the stage turned.) Tony was saying his goodbyes to the audience when we got there. Telma and Joyce had left the stage and were being escorted up the aisle. Tony was ready to leave when Pan yelled, "Tony"! He looked over at us and saw me and the doll. He came over and grabbed my hand to bring me onstage. A very stubborn security guard wasn't going to let me up. He couldn't see that Tony had my hand at first until Tony persuaded him to let me up. Finally there I was onstage with Tony. He held my hand and twirled me around for everyone to see my outfit, which was all decked out with a picture of Tony and Dawn and more. Tony hugged and kissed me. He really loved the doll. My sister was taking pictures of it all, thank goodness. Tony walked me off the stage on the side where he and the girls go backstage. He started to hand me the doll and I said , "no its for you." He said he knew, but he wanted me to take it backstage for him.
WOW! I could hardly believe my ears. I had waited forever for this moment. He had Frank Lieberman take me back. There I was, this girl from little Cherry Tree Pennsylvania being escorted backstage by Frank Lieberman. I could hardly believe it. I felt like I was in a dream.
We waited back there for Tony. I could hear Telma and Joyce talking outside the room. Then all of a sudden, I could hear someone singing, coming down the hall. That's right, it was Tony!!! He walked in and saw me. He winked at me, then still humming he walked over to his dressing room door and motioned for me to come in too, Tony took the doll and gave me another hug. He talked about the doll and introduced me to Frank Lieberman. Then he starting running all around the dressing room like he was looking for something. He said he wanted to give me something and wished he had some record albums. I told him he didn't have to give me anything, but that didn't stop him. He opened the closet and asked if I had a program book. I said I did and he said "Well you're going to have another one!" He autographed it and this is what it said: "Rose, you and your sister and cousin are the greatest! Thank you XXX I love you for all of this. Tony Orlando."
Tony was still wanting to find something to give me, even though I kept telling him he didn't have to, but he insisted there had to be something there I didn't already have. He opened a case on the floor and took something out. He came over and put it in my hand. They were cufflinks. He said they were cufflinks he wore on his show every time he wore white. He said they were very special to him and he wanted me to have them. I said " Oh you don't have to give me these." But he said "yes, you may never know when you may need them." kidding with me. I gave him another hug. He said he was all sweaty, but I said I didn't care and hugged him again.
I asked if I could take some pictures, but that I had to get my camera from my sister, who was waiting outside for me. He asked how much time he had, but he didn't have enough time because he had another show to get ready for. I said I understood. Tony said how sorry he was. I told him it was okay. I took his hand and said I'd see him tomorrow, because I had tickets for the afternoon show. He said for me to come backstage and we could take pictures then. He had Frank walk me out, because I said I wasn't sure where Pam and Helen were.
The second night was filled with more excitement than the night before, mainly because Tony had asked me to come back again. This time not only were Pam and Helen with me but my Aunt Millie, Mother Nancy and little sister Joanne. We all enjoyed the show very much.
The only thing is Tony did most of the show by himself because Joyce was ill and they thought it best that she stay at the hotel and rest. Telma joined him later in the show. The show was just as wonderful as the night before.
I was excited, to say the least, about being asked backstage again, but I was also worried because I had neglected to tell Tony which show I would be at and also neglected to get a pass to go back. I mean, who was going to believe me? We had to do something to let Tony know I was there. After a lot of trying, Tony saw us in the audience and pointed us out by saying "See those people. They know what life's about."
So finally Tony knew I was here. Now all that was left to do was find out how to get backstage. My sister can draw really well so she drew some pictures of them for me to give to Tony. She held them up for me to get his attention, while Pam and I ran up the aisle to the backstage door. There were people all around us and it was roped off, so we couldn't get to the door. But Helen was down the aisle holding a poster of Tony and Dawn with a rainbow. She ran the whole way up her aisle while Tony went up his, still holding the poster. Tony reached the top, but Helen's aisle was full of people and no way out. So, with very little time, she climbed over 4 rows of plush theater seats still holding the poster in the air. When she reached the top, Tony was there and saw the poster and gave her a hug. He thanked her and turned to go, but Helen didn't let go. She asked if he remembered her sister Rose from last night. He said he did. She also told him he asked me backstage to take pictures and she wondered if I was still able to go back. He said "If I said she could come back, she's going to come back!" Helen came over and got Pan and I, and told us what Tony said. We waited by the backstage door. I suddenly realized I'd forgot some to things I wanted to give Tony at my seat. Pam said she'd go back and get them for me. No sooner had she left, Bruce Sachs, Tony's manager, came out. He asked if I was Rose, and if this was my sister, he told us he wanted both of us to go back. Helen was very surprised. She only expected me to go back.
We waited back there awhile before Bruce Sachs came back and took us into Tony's dressing room. When we went in he said to me "You're back again!" Then Helen gave him the posters she drew and he loved them. He spent quite awhile talking about them. He stood up to give her a hug and thank her. Helen was, at this time very upset about Pam not being there when Bruce came and got us. In fact, that's all she really talked about while waiting to see Tony. So she told Tony what had happened. He asked her if she knew where she was and Helen said she did. He said "well, go get her!" He sent Bruce with her to make sure they could get back in. When they were gone, we took some pictures. Helen came back with Pam, who was really shook up by the whole thing. After the introductions, we took some pictures. We all posed separately with him.
Tony said something about all these letters he was receiving everywhere he went. They have that design from the one poster we gave him on the envelopes. He said "I don't know if you know that design on that poster has gone National. Then I pulled out this letter I wrote to him which had the same design on it. He got this look on his face and said "My God, you're the one sending me all those letters! Frank, she's the one sending me all those letters!!!" I was so happy and thrilled that he had gotten all the letters.
He came over to me and started singing "Everybody Needs A Rainbow." He hugged me and was talking to me. I told him how much I loved him and he said he loved me too. Tony said he would never forget me. That is one thing I can honestly say about Tony, he never did forget. My looks would change over the years but when I would tell him my name he always knew who I was and was always so happy to see me. Over all these year I have got to visit with him many times and he has always been so kind, caring and sincere. I can't begin to thank him enough for all the enjoyment he has given to me. And for being so caring and special. I am happy to call him a friend. He has given me so many wonderful memories over the years.
By Rose Penksa married name Charney
"We Are Family"
Well here is my story of first meeting Tony. My husband Walter and I were in Branson, and we happened to go to a place there to eat called Shorty Small's. We were there a good while, and all of a sudden in comes Tony and his whole family and group. Of course being nosy as I am, I had to go over to see what all the commotion was. I got over near where they were, and Tony spied me. He had never seen me before in his life. He took me over and took me up and down all the tables and introduced me to everybody, Frannie, his Mom, Jon, and everybody there. I was so impressed. It turned out it was Jon's 23rd birthday, so it was in Sept. of 1993. I told him what a great performer I thought he was.
So the next night we went back to see his show again, and waited to see him afterwards. He just could not have been nicer, as we have now found out he always is. At that time, in the Yellow Ribbon Theater, he had a special place set up to meet fans afterwards, so we waited in line there. Over the years we have gotten to know everybody connected with his show, and have made some wonderful friends. We went to Branson many times and always to see him. We met Frannie, Jenny, Jon, Ruth, Rose and everybody in the band and all. He was always so glad to see us. But at this time he still didn't know us.
One night we were sitting on the front row, and Tony happened to pick Walter to come up on the stage, and they did many cute things, the Elvis thing, and the top hat and cane, and he came out in the audience and had Walter and me going up the aisle to "Roll Out the Barrel". It was such great fun. I loved it, and I know Walter did, too. Walter was especially impressed by how Tony honors all the veterans at every show. When we saw him that night, he invited us to come back in Nov. for the Veterans Show, which we did. It was wonderful. We have made a habit of always going to that. Since then, we have gotten to know Tony much better, and have shared many priceless moments with him. Now we consider ourselves friends or family, not just fans. He says we are part of the family.
Tony is such a fine showman, and such a nice person, good father, husband, fine Christian man who loves God and country, and it shows. We are so proud of knowing him, and being his friends. We go to all the shows around the country when we can. We travel a lot to see him, and we always relish that time we get to spend with him after we see his fantastic show. We consider ourselves so fortunate to have gotten to know him. He is so loyal and true, something you don't find real often in his business. Thank you, Tony, for who you are, and for what you stand for. You are indeed a gentleman, as well as a fantastic entertainer.
Lots of love, Gail and Walter
"Oh, What A Night!"
On February 16, 1997 my husband, Mike took me to see Tony's show Jukebox Dreams at Harrahs in Atlantic City. We were celebrating our 15th Anniversary that night. Mike knew how much I adored Tony, this was about the third time he took me to see him live. After the show Mike over heard someone say Tony might be coming out, so he pulled me over by the backstage door in hopes of maybe getting my program autographed. After a few minutes the stage door opened & the other people waiting there went back, we figured they all knew Tony so they were allowed backstage.
Mike asked the man at the door if Tony would be coming out to sign autographs, the man said just go back & say hi to Tony & ask him. Mike was thrilled, I was terrified! I had adored Tony since I was 11 years old, I loved his music, his TOAD Show & anything I saw him on. I told Mike that I did not want to talk to Tony, I said I didn't think I could walk up to him & say anything without fainting. Mike told me that I wasn't going to miss this opportunity and that I was going back to say hi! He took my hand & lead me across the stage to where Tony was. I watched & listened to the others talk to him first. As I listened I got more comfortable, by the time I got to talk to Tony everyone else was done & had left. Mike & I talked with Tony for a while about a lot of different things.
Tony signed my program from the show & then I told him we were there celebrating our Anniversary & would we be able to get a picture with him. He was so gracious, he posed & took a couple pictures with both Mike & I, he wanted to make sure at least one would come out good. After saying good bye and thank you to Tony that night I thought that was a once in a lifetime treat I had just had. I was on cloud nine! I would never have expected to talk to Tony again. But much to my surprise I have now met him many times. I've always known that Tony is a wonderful performer, but now I know that he is also a wonderful person!
"A Dream Woven by a Yellow Ribbon"
I have had two heroes touch my life. The first was my mother's father. The other is Micheal Anthony Cassivitis aka. Tony Orlando. Although I enjoy his music, my admiration is for the person he is! His is the kind of people this world needs more of!
I dedicate this story to my sister and everyone who has ever dared to dream.
It was time. Time to turn on the television. Time for ten-year-old Christine to sit on the green carpeted living room floor, three feet away from the screen. It was time for mom and sister to sit on the couch and time for father to put away his newspaper and relax in his favorite chair. The time was 8:00pm, one hour before Christine had to go to sleep. It was time for the Wednesday night ritual of the Regbers to watch the Tony Orlando and Dawn Variety Show.
The year was 1974 and the craze of the 70s, variety shows, were entertaining television viewers all across the United States. There was Sonny and Cher, Tom Jones, the Smothers Brothers and Andy Williams who all sang their way into everyone’s home but no entertainer other than Tony Orlando had made an impression, touched the heart and imagination of Christine. Every Wednesday her father had to say, Christine, don’t sit so close to the TV. It’s bad for your eyes." She didn’t care and wouldn’t budge.
Her mother and sister were amazed at how she would not hear one word when she was spoken to. When she was asked, "Do you want a snack or something to drink?" there was no reply.
It wasn’t until a commercial came on that she’d ask, "May I have something to drink?"
"Mamma just asked you if you wanted something!" her sister would yell from behind her.
With a surprised look she’d say, "She did? I didn’t hear her!"
For an hour Christine was in a world of song, and laughter. The hour was over all too fast and she was tucked into bed. As she lay there, she thought about how lucky the members of the audience were to be in the same room as Tony Orlando, especially the people he came to talk to or shook hands with. Before she fell asleep she would think about what it would be like if they met.
Christine’s world consisted of the usual of that of a ten-year-old, school, homework, playing with friends, the only difference was being pushed and pulled three times a week at her physical therapy sessions. She heard that Tony had a sister, Rhonda Marie, who had the same disability she had, cerebral palsy, but was also mentally retarded. Christine read that he taught himself the guitar and sang to cheer he up, put her to sleep, or to stop her crying. This gave her a sort of comfort. In her imagination she was his sister and he would understand her and all that she was going through. It was while watching a documentary about Elvis Presley, a friend of Tony's family, that she heard about another girl with CP who wrote Elvis a letter and in turn received a teddy bear and was his pen pal ever since. If only she could be so lucky and get to know Tony.
Hi! I was thrilled when Tony let me have my picture taken with him on my birthday Saturday Oct 25th at Mountain High Casino in Blackhawk, CO. I even got a birthday kiss, and he told me I did not look 67! What a passionate performer! Thank you Tony for an unforgettable birthday.!
He Calls Me "Friend"
It was July 3, 1974, I announced all day that I was watching the new show that is coming on. ( When you have a family of ten you can't say things just once) Tony walked out and started singing and I yelled OH MY GOD WHO'S HE. Soon after that the pictures went on the walls and every album was purchased. On June 29, 1979, my parents took me to see Tony Orlando And Dawn. My mom made me an outfit just for the show. It was yellow pants and a multi colored striped shirt.
Our seats were not good at all and when they walked out my mom said come on you are not sitting here. She took my hand and said come on Sam ( my dad) she is not sitting here. We went to sit in closer seats that they didn't sell. Now 30 years later I have lost count of how many Tony Orlando shows I have been to. Everyone as awesome as the last one. I can't tell you how much joy and happiness Tony has brought me through his music and how proud I have been to be a fan. I have always let everyone know that I meet that I'm a Tony Orlando fan. I am more proud that he calls me a friend and that I will always treasure.
"Dreams Do Come True"
It's hard for me to imagine actually knowing the energetic, charismatic star of the 1970's variety show. If someone had told me back then that I would someday meet Tony Orlando, I would have thought ...yeah., keep on dreamin'. But after many years of attending his shows, I finally did meet Tony. Dreams do come true!
Decades later, I find his performances as exciting as ever. He has always worked harder than most entertainers to ensure that his audiences have a good time. In addition to his outstanding showmanship, he has a very special knack for relating to people. To know him is to love him. Troopers often joke that their chronic pain disappears when they're at his show. He is truly just what the doctor ordered! He has filled the past three decades of my life with nothing but good time. As the song goes...You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my sorrows. that's what you do.
Although, I've been to too many shows to count, a couple of earlier shows, in particular, stand out in my mind. In 1978, when I heard on TV that Tony was doing a comeback show at Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California I just had to be there. At the time, I was mourning the loss of Elvis and regretted never having seen him in person. I vowed that would never be the case with Tony.
At that time, my husband and I didn't even have a major credit card...which I needed to purchase the tickets. I quickly called a close friend and was able to charge the tickets to her credit card. Now, that's a good friend!! I remember writing a long letter to Tony, expressing my gratitude that he was alive and well and back to doing what he does best. Barry and I attend that show and were so happy to be able to give Tony an enthusiastic, heartfelt "welcome back". We wouldn't have missed it. The one picture I took of Tony that night has been in our family collage and has hung on our wall ever since. Now, of course, several walls are dedicated to Tony.
Another show we attended was called Pops n' Rocks and was held at a rock quarry in Aromas, California. I must say it was the most unusual venue we've ever been to. However, it turned out to be a pretty neat afternoon and evening. It was an outdoor Fourth of July celebration which included honoring of veterans, a boxed meal, Tony Orlando and Dawn (Joyce and Pam where there), and then a display of fireworks, accompanied by a symphony orchestra.
After the show, I went behind the curtain (it was a small, casual venue) and was delighted to see Tony and Frannie standing there, talking to another couple. I excitedly got Barry from his seat and we soon introduced ourselves to Tony and Frannie. I will always remember Tony being a proud father and showing a picture of his baby daughter. And I will always remember the most gracious way Tony excused himself when it came time for them to leave. Yep, there was a lino in rock quarry! Now THAT was a fun venue.
These are only a few of the many wonderful memories I have of the years I've spent "standing by" one of the best entertainers and one of the most beautiful human being I've ever known. Thank you, Tony, for all the joy you've brought to my life.
"Yellow Rose Tied With A Yellow Ribbon"
This story, as I tell it is about the day that I will never forget. It was August 18,1999. It was 3:15 P.M., when my boyfriend, Steve and I arrived at Hershey Park to see Tony Orlando in the amphitheater. We were two of a couple of a hundred people waiting in line to see Tony Orlando in concert at the amphitheater. Seating was first come first serve, so we waited in line forever an hour. Low and behold, it was worth it, we got seats close to the steps. This worked out perfect. I came prepared with a yellow rose tied with a yellow ribbon. I gave this to Tony when he sang " Sweet Gypsy Rose".
In return, I received a HUG!! But it did not end there. After 25 years I was finally going to meet Tony Orlando. After the show, he was signing autographs. Good thing Ii came with a program from a show I had gone to years before and asked him to sign it. As I went down the steps Tony told me to be careful. He said I Love You Lynette!! and I turned around and I said I Love You Tony!! This was a day that I will never forget, dreams really do come true. Since then I have met him two times and I even got to sit on his lap to have my picture taken with him and got the copy of his book signed. Talk about three times the charm!! If you haven't met Tony Orlando, go to his concerts. He is one of the sweetest and so down to earth entertainers I have ever met.
"Surprise Birthday Gift: Tony"
Well have I got one for you. It took 25 years and I will remember this for much longer than that. Nov.15,2002 Tony did a 3 day tour in Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall. As a surprise birthday gift my sister had given me 3 tickets to Tony's show on the 15th (my bday is 11/24). We celebrated things different last year since my mom had just passed away in June and it was hard to do things the way we usually did. I didn't realize my sister knew how much I really loved Tony's shows. Her, my niece and myself had dinner at a really nice restaurant and on to the show. It was terrific.
The next day I went to the book signing and talked to people there while we waited for Tony. When Tony got there he came over to talk to us before he started signing books and we told him I was at the show on Fri. for my bday. He said "why didn't I yell or go to the stage to tell him this, he would have sang Happy Birthday." It just slipped out of my mouth unintentionally "you can sing it now" Guess what, he did and so did everyone else in line. I have awesome pictures and will always remember this. I even have a picture in my locker at work. This was so awesome.
"Worth the Wait"
My love and admiration of Tony Orlando goes way back to the TV show days. I was merely 13 when the shows came on TV. Sometimes we have to wait a long time for our dreams to come true, but they are always worth the wait, especially when it come to meeting someone you admire.
I never had the chance until September 1999 to see Tony perform in person. I saw him again in Melbourne Florida in January 2000. That was my lucky day! We just about didn't get backstage, but a band member had told us to wait in the theater, and he would be back and take us back to meet Tony. A security guard then told us to leave. I thought, it won't hurt, let me see what I can to persuade this guy to let us stay. "We have gifts for Mr. Orlando and a band member told us to wait here. I'm not leaving until the band member comes back and tells us we need to go." It is amazing I didn't get thrown out then and there. Within seconds, the band member came back and said, come on backstage.
Tony was the sweetest. I was so nervous in the hallway- don't know why, but when I was introduced to him, I felt as if I had known him my whole life. I have never been nervous since! Denise M and Dianne S were with me, and told Tony "She has waited to meet you for 25years." Good things are worth waiting for. We gave him some gifts, took individual pictures with him and a group picture. Tony signed a picture for me, without me even asking and seemed to be fascinated by my different name.
When I left the theater, I was so happy. I lost my camera. It has become an ongoing joke between me and the troopers, that I can't keep up with my camera, or take good pictures. Luckily, my other trooper buddies took a picture of my first meeting with Tony. Honestly, I have no memory of driving back to the hotel, and I think I scared the girls. I told them when we got there, I didn't remember driving. Driving after you meet someone you've waited 25 years to meet can be dangerous. Thanks to De and DI for being with me, and helping me to meeting Tony for the first time. To think you can meet the person you have been a fan of, get to know them, and become friends is awesome. And to be able to give back for all the happiness, is even more awesome!
"A Life Long Dream"
I've been a Tony Orlando fan from the very first time I laid eyes on him at the age of eight. I bought every album as they came out and plastered my walls with pictures of him. I have an ID bracelet with my name on the front that was given to me as a gift 30 years ago and I immediately had MAOC engraved in the back. All of my high school annuals are full of things like "Dear Mrs. Orlando", and "Good luck with Tony!" My parents took me to see him in Charlotte, NC 26 years ago... I was 14.
On the way to the concert, we ended up in bumper to bumper traffic. My heart was broken, thinking we'd be late. While sitting there, my mother saw a man get out of the car next to the one in front of us. He was wearing a white suit and had dark hair... my mother jokingly said, "Look Missy, it's Tony!", but that was no joke! It was him! I started screaming from the backseat window, "Tony! Tony!" and he blew me a kiss. He was also stuck in traffic and trying to get to his own concert! My heart was stolen forever. On Sunday, March 14, 2004, I went to see him at the Newberry Opera House. My heart was pounding at the thought that I might get to meet him, but we were told that he wasn't coming out to sign autographs. The show was incredible, but as soon as he walked off the stage, I started to cry. Not only from the emotion of seeing him in person again, but also because my dream of ever meeting him would probably never happen. My boyfriend agreed to hang around the lobby for a while, just in case he came out and I met another fan, May. She and I stayed until the bitter end... everyone was gone except us.
One of the Opera House employees again assured us that he was not coming through the lobby, but finally took pity on us and said he'd probably leave out the back. We walked outside and saw some of his band members walking into the hotel across the street and I yelled out, "Michael!" to the drummer. He stopped and we walked over. Bless his heart, as I gushed about Tony, Michael just smiled and took it all in. As Tony was walking across to the hotel, Michael walked o over and told him about me. I literally think my heart stopped as Tony came over to me. I had waited 32 years for this moment and there he was. We talked about the ID bracelet, the incident in Charlotte (which he actually remembered because Elvis had been in the car with him!!), and a thousand other things. He stood there and talked to us for probably 20 minutes. There are no words to say how I felt so I won't even attempt a try... I'm still on cloud nine riding high and thanking God over and over for giving me the opportunity to finally meet him.
Tony, you are the most compassionate, loving, giving, talented, charismatic man. Thank you for everything you do and for being who you are. .. at eight, I knew there was something very special about you. At 40, I am still in awe of you. I will always love you.
Rock Hill, SC
"Let The Circle Be Unbroken"
In 1998, my parents and I went to Branson, for l5 days and were able to get tickets to see Tony Orlando. It was at "The Talk Of The Town Theatre". 8 p.m. show. I am a very short person and am confined to a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy but that did not stop me from doing things with Tony. When he came on stage he was waving to me a lot and when it came to the segment where he asks is there anyone from Chicago there I
He then came down with his black country hat and we sang "Let The Circle Be Unbroken" as far as I am concerned it will not be broken until he or I depart. At this time, I got a hug and a FREE VHS TAPE to show that I really did it. That was the highlight of my trip and then I get home and read that he had a sister that had Cerebral Palsy who he took care of until the Lord took her away.
Quite a few things have happened in our family since we have seen each other. In Nov. of 2003, The Lord took my dad which is a great loss to me. Also, I have had many health problems and they are getting better. My dream before I leave would be to MC one of Tony's Shows at "The OakBrook Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The theatre holds 900 people and I am sure that he could fill it. Come one come all to see
him there and this wonderful site as it is even accessible for the disabled.
God Bless Tony and his family.
"Long Lost Friend"
Here is my story about my first encounter with Tony, it's not much but I wanted to tell it anyway.
I will never forgot the first time I saw Tony, it was 1977 and he was national chairman of the association for retarded citizens. He was at a convention in New Orleans, My mother surprised me and got tickets, I always dreamed of seeing Tony in person, Finally I was! When he finished speaking, alot of kids went up there to see him, I tried to get his attention, their were just too many people, I never met him then but while I was trying to get his attention, I felt something, I looked down and his hand was on mine!!! After that, I thought that that would be the last time I saw him. I Finally got to met him in Branson in 2001. When I first saw him I knew that I would probably make a fool at of myself or say the wrong thing, He made me feel so comfortable. I felt like I was talking to a long lost friend! Thank you Tony for Finally making my dream come true!
"30 Years in the Making"
Hi my name is Melanie I'm from Florida.. I waited 30 years to see Tony Orlando.. I finally got to see and meet him after the show on December 7, 2004 in Ft.Pierce, Fl.. I drove 7 hours one way just to see him.. He looks wonderful, just as handsome as he was 30 years ago..
It was a dream come true to meet him, I gave him a few home-made gifts, that he liked very much.. I got to spend about 30 minutes with him.. I also followed him after he left, he was going to eat dinner but I stayed behind to admire him... I was in Awe..you could say! I am still on cloud 9, since I met him a week ago.. Hes a wonderful man and Im very happy I finally got to see and meet him.. I look forward to his next tour to Florida in which I will attend.. no matter how far it is from my north Florida home..I've have read entries on this website and I can relate to these stories.. December 7th, my first encounter with the meeting of Tony is a night I will NEVER forget... I will love him the rest of my life..
Tony record your fans some wonderful music that we can listen to..
ALWAYS your Admirer,
"Remember to Bring Your Camera to Tony's Show!!!!"
October 3, 1992--a day I will never forget. My father and I were in Branson, Missouri, on the return leg of what was a three-week vacation. We had wanted to see Tony earlier, in September, but were told he had an engagement on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee." The funniest thing about the show was that the whole row behind us was vacant--and, as I discovered later, that was because Tony stood on one of the chairs in that row!
My favorite thing about Branson is the accessibility of most of the performers. We went to meet him after the show, but we realized we had forgotten one vital item--the camera!
The next night, this time with camera in hand, we wandered back to the theater (it was Tony's last night appearing there), hoping to get the picture. Tony remembered me, and tried to make me feel comfortable (even with the camera)! I had bought one of the theater mugs the previous night, but he insisted on giving me another one!
Twelve years (and three shows) later, I can say I am proud to call Tony friend! If you had told me thirteen years ago that I would be good friends with a national celebrity, I would've thought you were nuts! But now I can say I wouldn't want it any other way!
Portales, New Mexico
"A Memory Never Forgotten"
...it took awhile but eventually dreams came true!!! My first time seeing Tony was in Buffalo N.Y. at the Memorial Stadium 26 years ago. I'm from Canada so by the time news got out that he would be performing there, they only had "nose bleed" seats left. Well I bought the tickets anyways and ventured off for the time of my life. As expected I had horrid seats and needed binoculars to even make out who was Tony and who was Dawn.
As sweet as Tony always is he sang as he went through the crowds and when coming up my side my friend took me down to see him. I was so terrified as he had only been a figure on t.v.....not a real person! Well when we got close I froze and my friend had to make me move closer. I must have scared the daylights out of him as I grabbed his arm and wouldn't let go! I even took a picture of his nose (that's how close I was)...sorry Tony...must have blinded you too!
Anyways I was floating from there on in....a memory never forgotten!!! I have seen him many times from then on and have been much more "human" and "normal" as he makes you feel so comfortable and welcome! Thank you Tony for being so caring, understanding and so accessible....you really are a wonderful human being!!!
"One Big Happy Family"
Everyone who has met and spoke to Tony, have lasting memories of his friendship. My family is no exception. In June of 1999, Tony appeared on Broadway in "Smokey Joe's Cafe". He was there for a limited engagement. My wife, Marilyn and I, took our daughter, Adina to the show as a high school graduation present. The show was great and Tony was magnificent. After the show, outside, were a group of people waiting at the stage door for the cast to come out. Adina wanted to get autographs on her Playbill. When I saw a limo there, I figured Tony Orlando would exit at the door. This is where it gets great. On his appearance, the mob moved forward. He was tired and sweaty, but he signed all programs and was delightful to all. From the back of the crowd, I called to him and told him that his rendition of "I (Who Have Nothing)" was the best version I've ever heard and it gave me goose bumps when he sang it. He gently parted the crowd and called to me, "Come here, let me give you a hug".
My family was amazed. He signed the Playbill that he would put it in his act. As anyone who meets Tony, you leave on cloud nine. End of story, part 1.
The other day, November 2005, Tony was making an appearance at the Bergen PAC in Englewood, NJ. After his performance, he had a room for all to meet him and take pictures. Of course Marilyn and I went to see him again. I mentioned the story to him and showed him the Playbill. He remembered the incident and told me he did put the song in his act. More hugs, more kisses, and pictures this time. Upon seeing the Playbill, he asked if I'd part with it as he doesn't have that copy with him featured as the star. I told him I'd make a photocopy to send him. Marilyn found her original Playbill and we just sent it to him in Branson. I'm sure he'll show it all his friends and family. Once again, cloud nine. I now call him my good buddy.
I also must take this time to commend him on his volunteer work for the MDA and other organizations. What a gentle and caring man.
If you get a chance, read his autobiography, "Halfway to Paradise". He mentions "Smokey Joe's Cafe". The entire book is great.
"Meeting Tony was My Dream Come True"
I decided to make the trip up to Greenbay, Wi. in the hope's that I would be able to somehow see Tony that weekend, even tho' I knew that his show was a private one. We got to the hotel around 2:00 and checked in. After we got our room we dropped off our thing's and then we headed down to the lobby. We decided to sit there for awhile. At almost 3 my friend who is also named Cindy said to me, "Look Cindy, there is a limo pulling up!". My heart jumped alittle, but I really didn't want to get my hopes up! The driver and another person in the front passenger seat gets out, then the back door opens and out comes Tony! I just stood there in awe. After almost 30 years of loving this man, here he was almost right in front of him! I realized I wasn't dreaming, that I really was going to meet him! He greeted a few hotel employes and then proceded to come through the door.
I had my Trooper button on, along with another Tony pin and I also had these Tony earrings on that I had made! Anyway he come's through the door looks right at me and say's "Don't I know you?!" And then I said "I'm Cindy from Milwaukee and I've been a trooper for about 2 months now!" He goes, "Cindy? I just wrote you! Whats your last name?" I told him and he said, "Yea, I just sent you an 8X10 and some other goodies welcoming you to the troop!" I then told him that I've loved him since I was 14 years old. And he say's "And now your 15, right?!" He then said, "Get over here so I can give you a hug and a kiss!" I didn't want to be a bother since he just flew in, so I said to him that I realize you must be tired from your flight, and I asked him if he'd be out and about later so maybe I could get a picture and an autograph. He said, "Say that again?" And I repeated myself and then he said, "I know where your from!" Yea, making fun of my accent! He said he'd love to take some photo's now, and he said he'd sign anything that I wanted.
I told him about the first time that I saw him. When I got trampled when I was 14 and broke my ankle. That I refused to go to the hospital until I saw the show! And I told him how they wheeled me up to the front row in a wheel chair cause I wasn't going anywhere until I saw him! He goes "Really"? And was truly touched and couldn't believe that happened to me. He then mentioned that the show he was there for was private, and apologized and said that they wouldn't even let him bring any guests. During this whole time, he had his arm around me. He then signed my book of his. He wrote something very special in it. And also the Christmas CD. I told him how much I loved it, that we were listening to it on the drive up there, and he said that he thought it was some of the best work that they've ever done. I also told him that Ava Maria/O Holy Night was my fave, that it makes me cry everytime that I listen to it. And he goes "Now that is so touching" and gave me another hug. He wrote on the CD, "Darling, Oh Holy Night is for you, God Bless you and Merry Christmas" Tony Orlando XXXOOO He then put his arm around me and talked about the only official web sites of his. My friend was trying to ask me how to use my camera, and I didn't even hear her, I was so in la la land and so engrossed in what Tony was saying to me!
Finally he tried to show her how to work my camera! But it just so happens that is was my fault, I had it on the wrong setting! Talk about being nervous, huh?!! She took our picture and then Tony told her to get closer and take another one! So we had 2 photo's taken. He then said to my friend, "Ok, it's your turn!" Cindy said "Oh no, I take horrible pictures!" And he told her to stop putting herself down and to get over there and then I took their picture! I gave him a hat that I had for him. It was a packer hat. He loved it and gave it to his brother David to hold and said to him, "Don't even think about keeping that packer hat!" I told him that I was going to be in Vegas in Jan to see him, and that Michele invited me to stay with her. I told him that I was the one that he said "hi" to over Bracelet girls cell that night in Myrtle Beach, and he goes, "That was you?!" and gave me another hug and kiss! He thanked me and said without me and the rest, he wouldn't be where he is today and told me that he loved me. And I said "Your thanking me?! You just made my dream come true after 28 years, thank YOU!" He said that he loved me once again and I said that I loved him back and gave me another hug and then he said he would see us. later. I just can't begin to tell you how special and wonderful he was. Everything I expected and so much more. I just adore him. Even my friend who really wasn't a fan said how truly caring and genuine he is, and was very impressed by him. We did our own thing the rest of the day and night.
The next day, we went shopping and after we came back we went back down to the lobby hoping to see Tony again since the show was in the afternoon. A few minutes later Tony comes down and he comes up to me and said "Get your camera out, we'll get another picture"! We had another one taken, and he wanted to see it, so I put it on play back and when he saw it he goes "Nice Picture"! He took a real close look at the earrings I was wearing. They are the cutest earrings. You can see then abit in one of the photo's of Tony and I. He said to the security guard and the 2 other people he was with while he was holding my ear and the earring, " Now wouldn't this make anyone feel like a million bucks?!" And gave me another hug and kiss. He then took my face into his hands and said, "Your beautiful and turned my face to face the others and said, Look at this face, she's beautiful!" And kissed me again! Needless to say, I was just so flattered and dying at that moment! He thanked me again and left for the show. We stood outside the room and we were able to here most of the show perfectly! I so wish I could have actually been able to attend it, but thats ok. I have the Vegas shows to look forward to! Tony was leaving around 5 and I wanted to say one final good-bye to him. After awhile he came back down to leave. He said to me, "Sweetheart thank you for the weekend, I will see you at the Orleans in January!" And gave me one last hug and kiss good-bye. I just want to say that I've waited over 28 years for this moment and it was truly one of the happiest ever! Tony you are a beautiful man and you certainly made my dream come true and I thank you for that. You certainly are one of a kind and when god made you he surely broke that mold! Thank you again. I love you!
Cindy of Milwaukee, Wi.
"Five Days with Tony"
JUNE 27, 2006
What can I say about the one of the most greatest entertainer's in the world, We had five days with tony and went to his show every nite, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
One of the most wonderful persons in the world, we had our anniversary June ,17, 2006,and it will be the most memorable one. We had front row seats every night in the Caberet , where tony sang his Tie a Yellow Ribbon, Knock Three times, and many of his ole songs as well as new. This is a man that really belts out a song after song and in between takes a few sips of water to keep hydrated, along with his friend tony patillo who does Doo Whop in the show which tony also sings with him, and the great lefty brothers band, that play just like listening to his records, cassettes, and now cd's.
While having dinner with Tony at Pompeii Ceasars, an italian restaurant in the casino, he told us a story, that when he was on the johnny carson show, he told johnny that when he was young, he dreamed of a marque stating in big letters "TONITE APPEARING TONY ORLANDO, and in small letters, also frank sinatra, Well, frank saw the show and sent him a plague reading, what he had said: TONITE APPEARING TONY ORLANDO, and in small letters also frank sinatra in gold lettering, and in the corner it stated :KEEP ON DREAMING KID"
Well, that dream has become a reality, not only has he reached the top of his field in singing, and entertaining, but has brought joy to millions of people worldwide,as well as being elected Vice President of the Muscular Dystropy Association, ( Jerry Lewis on the mend , he told me that), Tony has become a star not only on the walkway of fame in hollywood, but also a star in heaven, he has shone brightly among those stars ,and has a guardian angel on his back directing him.
Well, I hope you show this to tony and the pictures I sent , and I hope you post them with this, " Mario and Suzanne say "Tie a yellow ribbon around the ole oak tree , now listen Tony " We love you, and our Prayers are with you, God Bless you and take care of yourself, next time its Mohegan Sun, I better see you there again, and lets have dinner again.
His number One Fans
Mario and Suzanne Mariani