Friday, May 11, 2012

2012 Somers Point Beach Concerts


With the demise of Bay Shores, Tony Marts and other rock and roll night clubs that featured live entertainment, Somers Point  has kept the music tradition going by presenting free community concerts on the beach every Friday night all summer long.

Now in its 20th year, the 2012 beach concert schedule is better than ever, and includes a good mix of local talent and top flight national recording acts that play a variety of music styles that should please everyone.

Carmen Marotta, son of Tony Marts’ owner Anthony Marotta, and producer for the Beach Concert Committee, said this year’s line is, “Truly Amazing!  It’s unbelievable that a Free Summer Concert Series, in a small town, can present this many international recording artists of headliner stature.”

“We’re doing a lot of extraordinary, exciting things to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this phenomenal concert series with 14 magical shows on the beautiful Somers Point beach,” Marotta said.

The stars this summer include the a cappella Doo Wop vocals of the renown Persuasions, blues rock guitarist Walter Trout, famous recording artists The Commander Cody Band and harmonica virtuoso Rick Estrin and the Nightcats.

On a few nights the audiences will be entertained by more than one act, some of them jamming together, including the Scott Kirby Band - Margaritaville Radio’s most requested artists, with local legend Lew London, the Persuasions and the Shakes, and Dr. Bobby Fingers with Howard Isaacson and the Hawkins Road Band.  

The series will begin on Friday June 15th with the electric violin led roots rock and blues of the Lionel Young Band, a multiple winner of international blues awards.  

On June 22nd the musical stars of HBO’s Treme, funky, trombone led New Orleans band, Bonerama will make their Somers Point debut with their three trombones playing Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers on the Beach.

Classic rocker Bob Campanell will return for his regular July 4th gig with his band that includes local java fueled guitarist Danny Eyer, and two days later on Friday, July 6th the beach scene will showcase the Jeremiah Hunter Band, a dance party group includes former members of the Soul Survivors (“Expressway to Your Heart”) and Fullhouse, who some will remember from the old nightclub days.       

On Friday, July 6th the Beach Concert Committee will commemorate the 20th  Anniversary Season by honoring Beach Concert Founder, Nick Regine, with a special, well deserved presentation. Nick, who obtained the commitments from the local businesses to start the beach concert series, also founded the Somers Point Jazz Society, which brings great jazz music to the clubs throughout the winter season.

According to Marotta, “We’re going to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with two special ‘double header’ concerts that will begin at 6:45PM on July 20th and July 27th in the heart of our season.”  

On July 20th the internationally renown Persuasions will perform a 75 minute a cappella show followed by a good old Somers Point Rock ‘n Roll Dance party with The Shakes, and on July 27th, pianist Dr. Bobby Fingers and Hawkins Road Band perform a jam concert with guest stars Howard Isaacson and Ernie T’ Trionfo.

Except for the 6:45 starts on July 20 and 27, Somers Point Beach Concerts are presented Friday nights from 7 until 9:30PM.

Jersey Shore guitar hero Billy Walton, from South Side Johnny’s Asbury Jukes, will rock Bay Ave on August 10th, having recently returned from their latest UK tour where they have a strong fan following.

The Midiri Brothers Band will present their world class tribute to Benny Goodman on August 17th, with special guest banjo virtuoso Franny Smith playing his traditional New Orleans musical celebration.

International blues guitarist Walter Trout will perform August 24th, while Jill West and Blues Attack will play on August 31st.

The 2012 Summer Season will close out on September 7th, Good Old Days Weekend, with a musical blessing from Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys.   

For more info, schedules and links to the website of the performing artists, please refer to  

For Press contact call Carmen Marotta at 609-457-1316.


Multi Blues Award Winning Violinist

June 22nd – BONERAMA
Rockin’ Funky Trombone led Brass Band from New Orleans

Country Swing and Rockin’ Boogie Woogie Recording Stars

Jersey Shore Rock ‘n Roll Icon with his favorite lead guitarist

Favorites from The Soul Survivors & Fullhouse

World Class Jump, Swing Blues Recording Artists

Legendary Doo Wop Vocal Stars PLUS Motown Party Dance Songs

Popular Sing-a-long songs PLUS The Best Country Rock

One of Margaritaville Radio’s most requested Artists

Jersey Shore Rock ‘n Roll Hero with New Orleans Piano

Swingin’ Tribute to Benny Goodman & New Orleans Favorites

August 24th - WALTER TROUT
International Rockin’ Blues Guitar Headliner

Western Pennsylvania’s #1 Party Dance Band

Rockabilly Swing & Roots Rock ‘n Roll

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kenni i Orchestra benefit for SPHS

Kenni I Orchestra & The Shanken Not Stirred Players
 Friday, May 11, 2012 7 PM

Mainland Regional HS, Linwood, NJ

Benefit for the Somers Point Historical Society and Gateway Playhouse

$30 in advance $35 at the door


Hosted by Somers Point Historical Society & Gateway Playhouse
CONCERT includes music from Chicago, Journey, Michael Buble, The Charlie Daniels Band, The William Tell Overture, Theme from The Jetsons, Flight of the Bumble Bee, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, dancers from The Atlantic City Ballet on our Tribute to Dick Clark, a Mothers Day Tribute, Tribute to our Armed Forces, Tribute to Richard Somers, Name That Tune with audience participation and a winning prize, $150.00 Raffle Prize at $5.00 for 3 tickets, 50/50, Restaurant Certificates, etc. Special Guests: The Shaken Not Stirred Players

CONCERT includes music from Chicago, Journey, Michael Buble, The Charlie Daniels Band, The William Tell Overture, Theme from The Jetsons, Flight of the Bumble Bee (Kenny i on Trombone!), Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy featuring The Andrews Sisters, dancers from The Atlantic City Ballet on our Tribute to Dick Clark and American Bandstand, a Mothers Day Tribute, Tribute to our Armed Forces, Tribute to the founder of Somers Point: Richard Somers, Name That Tune with audience participation and a winning prize, as well as a $150.00 Raffle Prize at $5.00 for 3 tickets, 50/50, Restaurant Certificates, etc.
Special Guests: The Shaken Not Stirred Players  doing a 15 minute insert of their top requested Broadway Songs of the last 20 years.

This will be a one-of-a-kind Concert/Variety Show and should not be missed!

This will be a one-of-a-kind Concert/Variety Show and should not be missed!
Tickets may be purchased using Paypal at or call 927-2900.  Cash only ticket sales at Gregory's, Carol's Beauty Shop, Shore T.V. Hardware, Phil's Barber Shop, Bayshores II, The Breakfast Shop.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bay Avenue Nightlife Revival?


Somers Point Nightlife Revival?

Officials say Somers Point's nightlife is riding on the Route 52 causeway
By ROB SPAHR Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:00 am

Somers Point’s Bay Avenue once served as the backdrop for major motion pictures, such as the cult classic “Eddie and the Cruisers,” and as the venue for live music albums such as Chubby Checker’s “In Person.”

And, like a summer breeze, the music of major acts used to drift down the one-mile waterfront strip, which in its glory days of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was a premier destination for nights of dancing and drinking.

Gone are those days. The iconic nightclubs have closed or reformatted, and the avenue is now quiet.

City officials expect the upcoming completion of the $400 million Route 52 causeway project will bring an economic resurgence in Somers Point. Some, however, say it will take more than that to make Bay Avenue a viable destination again.

“Without a doubt the bridge being done will help us, and will give us a panoramic view into Somers Point that will really beautify that area and make it look great,” Mayor Jack Glasser said. “But things have changed since the heavy rock and roll days of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. People want a more family-oriented environment, with good places to eat and things to do....That’s what Bay Avenue will have to be.”

Bay Avenue is a nationally recognized historic district that dates to the 1700s, but the more modern history of the avenue is what people most often discuss.

“As automobiles became more prevalent and it became easier for people to drive to Ocean City, especially in the ’50s and ’60s, that’s when the nightlife on Bay Avenue really started to mushroom,” said Sally Hastings, president of the Somers Point Historical Society. “It became a mecca, because Somers Point was the wet town (Ocean City was and is dry) and it offered the kind of music that was very popular at that time.”

“Where’s the action? … Where’s the fun? — At the ‘Point,’” read the back of Chubby Checker’s 1963 album.

“If you were looking to have a good time, Bay Avenue was ‘the’ place, this and Wildwood,” said Pat Pierson, who has owned and operated Bayshores II Restaurant on Bay Avenue since 1987. “It was where the excitement was.”

Atlantic City casinos brought a change and by the mid 1980s, the excitement on Bay Avenue was waning, although the avenue would still remain popular as a place to party.

“(Casinos) ... offered a different kind of entertainment that people were gravitating to,” Hastings said. “That’s when businesses here started to struggle and close.”


“Bay Avenue used to be like going to a playoff game at the Meadowlands,” Pierson said “Now it’s like going to a high school game.”

Even though Bay Avenue is clearly different than it was during its heyday, some, such as Lou DeScioli, the director of the city’s Economic Development Committee argue it’s still vibrant.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” DeScioli said. “Some people think that it would be good to have that New Orleans Mardi Gras-style atmosphere here again. But I personally think that the Bay Avenue of today is better off, in terms of the economic vitality of the city.”

DeScioli said the expansion of Shore Medical Center (the former Shore Memorial Hospital), the opening of multiple fine-dining restaurants and the construction of more, and better-looking housing have contributed to better residential and economic climates.

Most recent discussions on the avenue have been about its potential.

“Picture that you’re coming from Ocean City and you’re on the crest of the new bridge ... looking down in this bayfront community with a Key West-style boardwalk that follows the bulkhead along all those business and is filled with bikes, baby carriages and people meandering up and down,” said Greg Sykora, the vice chairman of the city’s Planning Board.

Sykora was referring to one of the concepts of the city’s new Vision Plan. The plan recommends the construction of a long pier with boat slips near the public beach and sailable replica of the USS Intrepid to serve as a tourist attraction. The changing of ordinances — such as those controlling noise and outdoor dining — to make Bay Avenue more business friendly were also suggested.

“And once that area is dredged, it will be a place where transient boaters can come to eat in our restaurants and enjoy our bayfront. And there will be a water taxi that goes back and forth to Ocean City,” Sykora said.

That vision — created during about a year of surveying Somers Point residents, business owners and visitors — may be unrealistic.

“I really think that the theater is more important to Somers Point than the bridge,” Hastings said. “The theater will have the ability to bring in 250 people every night there is a show. So while the bridge will make it easier to get to and from Ocean City, the theater will bring them here for a longer period of time.”

Jim Dalfonso, the chairman of the Theater Collaborative of South Jersey, which is renovating the Gateway Theater, said he was a little surprised by how much hope is resting on the Gateway, but said the theater can “absolutely” live up to it, as long as enough money can be raised to complete its renovation.

“Even on a night when we have a light house, there will be 200 people here and a percentage of those people will be going out to eat or drink afterwards,” said Dalfonso, of Upper Township, adding the renovation could be completed in nine months if enough funding is raised.

The currently gutted theater’s lobby and second-floor lighting room were recently framed out and the floor was replaced. And Dalfonso said he expects work on the ceiling trusses and roof to be completed by the spring, so work can then move toward rehabilitating the building’s exterior.

And once completed, DeScioli said, the theater offers the best short-term opportunity to increase commerce on Bay Avenue.

“One of the things that we, as a community, can do if we want to do something to immediately improve that district is support the revival of the Gateway,” he said.

But of everything about Bay Avenue’s history, some say the thrill of simply going there could be the hardest to revive.

“The music is gone forever,” Pierson said. “I just hope they can make Bay Avenue sing again.”

Contact Robert Spahr: