Local News

Historical society hosting dance with Just Us Orchestras

SEBRING - The Sebring Historical Society will sponsor a concert and dance with Just Us Orchestras from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Jack R. Stroup Civic Center.

The band will provide music from all eras, including big band, '50s, '60s and more.

Just Us Orchestras has performed at every major hotel and convention center in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as special appearances at Disney World, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Key West. Orchestra members have performed throughout the U.S. with big names in show business during the past 30 plus years, including Melissa Manchester, Charo, Neil Sedaka, Trini Lopez and most recently, Wendell Noble's "Tribute To The Platters."

It started with the Sebring Historical Society President Gary Lamperelli, who, at age 11, along with four classmates, started a band in his hometown of Uncasville, Conn. They called themselves "The Pentagons" and their first professional appearance was at a local hospital-sponsored event.

Lamperelli is the son of the late Alfred Lamperelli, who with six of his brothers, started a band called "Lamperelli's Seven Brothers. "Alfred played lead trumpet and was vocalist, playing private parties throughout New England prior to World War II. He and three of his brothers joined various branches of the military service and following the war, resumed their music careers. They established a nightclub, restaurant and lounge in New London, Conn., featuring the band and successfully entertained until retirement some 30 years later.

When Gary moved to Florida, he met Mykel Sena in 1977, who already had an established career as a professional musician and entertainer. Sena's long career included performing as the opening act for the Jackson Five in Las Vegas and touring the U.S. with a show band. Sena held a master's degree and became musical director for a Broward County school. However, the desire to perform on stage motivated Sena to put together a team of musicians and entertainers, which soon included Bob Keil playing keyboards, Lamperelli on drums and vocals, with a guitar and female vocalist added shortly thereafter. Sena booked the act and fronted the group playing trumpet and as Master of Ceremonies.

A significant addition came with the addition of Mark Friedman in 1982, who became keyboardist when business took off and Keil was made leader of a separate "Just Us" trio, to cover the expansion of bookings. Friedman's credentials encompass the past 45 years. He is presently the musical director and headline entertainer for Oceania and Regent Cruise Lines. In the early 1970s, Friedman was musical director for Buck Ram's Platters, featuring Tony Williams and working in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Denver. His other credits include performing with Paul Anka, Bob Hope and the Osmond Family, as well as daily appearances from 1970 to 1975 on the children's television program based out of Miami, "The Skipper Chuck Show."

Just Us Orchestras has grown since 1977 into a consortium of several bands and ensembles, with the full orchestra comprised of as many as 15 performers, depending on the venue. Deena Lynn O'Brien has been singing with the group for the past 25 years.

Appearing at Sunday's concert will be Sena, Friedman, Lamperelli and O'Brien. Admission is $5 per person with complimentary coffee, tea and lemonade provided, and light food available for purchase.

For information, call 471-2522.