Lovers of vintage doo wop, rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll attended a night to remember when Wesleyan’s 88.1 FM WESU Middletown presented the “WESU 75th Anniversary Doo Wop Extravaganza” on July 12.
The fundraising concert, held at the Middletown High School Performing Arts Center, was a celebration of 75 years of community radio.
Headlining the show was Jay Siegel’s Tokens, the legendary group that recorded the mega hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” They’ll be joined by The Super Girls Group, featuring original members of some of the greatest female groups of rock ’n’ roll, including: Louise Murray of The Hearts & Jaynetts (“Lonely Nights” and “Sally Go Round The Roses”); Lillian Walker of The Exciters (“Tell Him” and “Doo Wah Diddy”); Margaret Ross of The Cookies (“Chains” and “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby”); Beverly Warren of The Raindrops (“The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget” and “What a Guy”); and Nanette Licari of Reparata and The Del Rons (“Whenever A Teenager Cries” and “Tommy”).
WESU has been broadcasting ‘oldies’ music for 35 years on Saturday mornings on the “Moondog Matinee” radio show (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).
“While most commercial radio stations have abandoned this musical format, our ‘oldies’ programs are among our most popular shows. This is a great examples of how community radio, like WESU, serves the needs of listeners who are marginalized by main stream media,” said WESU General Manager Ben Michael.
Proceeds from the event benefit the 75-year-old community radio station’s capital campaign to implement a backup power system and upgrade aging equipment in the studios. WESU has been without a backup power system to keep the station on air during power outages since its studios were relocated back in 2000.
“It’s one of those situations where you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry, like it did back in 2012, when hurricane Sandy shut WESU down for nearly a week,” Michael said. “The mixing consoles in our studios are over 25 years old and need to be replaced,and after 15 years in our new studios, we are really in need of an upgrade.”
The event was sponsored in part by The Middletown Commission On the Arts.