The nostalgic sounds of the big band era echoed through Howard Beach last Thursday evening as band leader Frank Pedulla and the Music Staff Swing Orchestra entertained a crowd of 300 residents in Father Dooley Hall at St. Helen Church, continuing the tradition of presenting 1940s music to the community.
For 20 years, Arnie “Mig” Migliaccio presented the concert, but Frank Pedulla, a graduate of the Julliard School of Music in New York, who has played trombone with over 50 orchestras including the Julliard Symphony and the Queens Philharmonic Orchestra, has kept the tradition alive since Migliaccio passed in June 2009 at age 87.
He began the concert with Glen Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” followed by “You Made Me Love You,” “Little Brown Jug”, “In the Mood,” and “I’ve Heard That Song Before”.
Pedulla broke tradition at the audience’s request and played two Doo-Wop songs, “In the Still of the Night” and “You Belong to Me”.
The band played tangos, mambos, cha-chas, meringues and swing as the enthusiastic residents danced the night away.
Pedulla ended the two-hour concert with “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal. He said that it is an honor to carry on Arnie Mig’s tradition through the Music Staff Swing Orchestra to represent Mig’s Serenaders In Blue Orchestra.
Concert attendee Tom Cottone, 92, of Howard Beach, enjoyed the musical trip back in time.
The World War II veteran and great-grandfather of five, who has been attending concerts since he moved into the neighborhood 17 years ago and likes the music of the 40s, had no trouble finding dancing partners for the evening.
The concert was sponsored by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) along with local attorneys Brady & Marshak.
“Frank Pedulla and the Music Staff Swing Orchestra once again flawlessly performed the tunes of the beloved Arnold ‘Arnie Mig’ Migliaccio in our greatest Memorial Concert yet,” said Addabbo. “My deepest thanks to the hundreds of people who filed into St. Helen’s Church to listen to the music of yesteryear and reflect on old times. I thank St. Helen’s for once again hosting us and Brady and Marshak, Esqs. for their partnership in putting on the concert.”