Music in the Mob Era: The Glory Days of Live Music on the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas is recognized as the Entertainment Capital of the World for hosting the world’s greatest entertainers, from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley to Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand. But we know little about the musicians who played an integral role in the success of these stage stars. This program will feature a mix of conversation and music by veteran Las Vegas musicians who played with iconic Las Vegas headliners – and who crossed paths with the mobsters that once ran the town. The program will be hosted by Ann Parenti, executive director of the Forgotten Song Foundation, which has produced a book, CD and DVD featuring interviews with many unsung musicians from Las Vegas’ live music golden era.
ANN PARENTI, vocalist, composer, author, speaker and producer, has always held music in a very special place in her heart. In 2008, she began to reawaken her passion for music by recording a CD of original songs entitled, “As Promised” that she composed for a philosophy called “A Course in Miracles.”
Ann moved from the mid-west to Las Vegas in 1977 where for the past 27 years, she has owned Parenti & Associates, a manufacturer representative agency that sells to the architectural and design trade. She has always taken an interest in helping others and created a seminar series called “POSSIBILITIES” to teach alternative ideas on how to succeed in business and life. Over the years, Ann has adopted several local non-profits where on a yearly basis she has helped to raise funds. She is a published author in two Life Choices series books, “Putting the Pieces Together” and “Pursuing Your Passion.”
JOE DARRO, pianist, is at home at the keyboard while he is vocalizing. Born in Albany, New York, he learned his craft in the area’s better nightspots and has been playing professionally since he was 16. He joined Bobby Sherwood’s traveling group in 1960 and remained with Sherwood for twelve years, appearing nationwide in top clubs and hotels.
Joe made Las Vegas his permanent home in 1978 and has worked regularly as a single and with local groups. Over his career, Joe has appeared with the likes of Vic Damone, Shecky Greene, Frank Sinatra Jr., Louis Prima, Kenny Rogers, Jack Jones and others. He was Debbie Reynold’s musical director for her weekly television show in the 1990s. As testimony to his talent, Joe was selected to open the Bellagio Hotel in 1998.
Joe is one of the busiest musicians around town playing at various venues. Currently, Joe and his trio can be seen at the Gold Coast Showroom and Lounge. The trio prides itself in being able to play all kinds of music for dancing, from swing to Latin to rock. Joe is a member of the Las Vegas Jazz Society.
RONNIE FABRÉ, vocal coach and instructor, provides singing and voice lessons in Las Vegas. During a singing career that has spanned almost 40 years, Ronnie has earned the respect of her peers for her talent. But her skill as a voice coach is beginning to overtake her reputation as a vocalist since becoming well known in Las Vegas music circles as a private vocal lesson teacher.
Ronnie’s repertoire includes working with Linda Ronstadt’s band, the Stone Ponies and Steppenwolf. Ironically, Ronnie didn’t have any formal voice training until she began to study under Seth Riggs in Los Angeles in 1991 where she continued for 9 years. (Riggs is one of the top voice coaches in the country. Among his elite clients are Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder and Liza Minnelli).
MIKE CANDITO, respected drummer, educator, performer and singer is best known for his versatility and love of working in many of the more sophisticated musical settings from Jazz, R&B, Rock, Latin, Pop and Funk to Country.
Mike has performed with major artists and groups such as Stanley Turrentine, Richie Cole, Tommy Flanagan, Les Paul, Gregory Hines, Wilson Pickett, The O’Jays, The Spinners, Pucho and The Latin Soul Brothers, The Soul Machine and many others. Mike studied with legendary drummers Jim Chapin, Joe Morello, Gary Chester and Freddy Gruber.