’50s Dance Party turns back the clock at Belleayre

Highmount — The Belleayre Music Festival rolls back the clock on nostalgic fun with a ’50s Dance Party: “The Day the Music Died” — featuring the Music of Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m.

This rollicking journey into yesteryear is sure to have the audience dancing in the aisles as the timeless hits of the era’s biggest stars are recreated with authentic precision.

The Dance Party Tour is a show band bringing to life the Winter Dance Party of 1959, starring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. The seven-piece band performs rockabilly hits of these artists and others made famous from 1952 through 1959. Beloved classics like “Chantilly Lace,” “Peggy Sue” and “La Bamba” will be featured.

On February 3, 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The day was later called “The Day the Music Died” by Don McLean, in his song “American Pie.”

John Mueller is the top Buddy Holly tribute artist and starred in this role on Broadway. He started performing professionally as Buddy Holly many years ago at the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City, MO where he starred in “Buddy...The Buddy Holly Story.” Since that time he has done the same show in major markets and these productions have garnered John critical acclaim and awards for his detailed, authentic performance.

Ernie Valens (Ritchie Valens) grew up in the same house as Ritchie and was raised by Ritchie’s Aunt Ernestine. His public debut came in May 1988 on the same American Legion stage where Ritchie had performed 30 years earlier. His vocals have a startling resemblance to Ritchie’s and his release “Valens...A Tribute to Ritchie,” is more than a testament to that fact. Ernie has traveled across the country performing at many tributes to Ritchie, Buddy and The Bopper.

J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper,” is portrayed by J.P. Richard Jr. Professionally known as Big Bopper Jr., J.P. Jr. is walking the path his father was on before his untimely death in 1959.
When J.P. started performing, he was initially concerned about filling his father’s shoes. He no longer worries about that “My father was a one-of-a-kind original. I am not trying to be him. What I do is a tribute to my father and it seems to work out just fine.”

Over the past few years, the Big Bopper Jr. has played with many great rock acts, including the Crickets, the Drifters, the Coasters, Freddy Cannon, Bobby Vee and the Shirelles.

Car show at Belleayre
Completing the ’50s theme will be a Car Show in parking lot of Belleayre’s Overlook Lodge from noon-6 p.m.

There will be trophies and goodie bags for participants, plus musical entertainment. Day of show registration for the Car Show is $20. The car show, which includes stock, custom and motorcycle classes, will take place rain or shine. Prizes will be awarded during the concert. For each registration, participants will receive two free lawn tickets to that evening’s concert. All proceeds go to the Belleayre Conservatory.

For information about the Car Show, contact Perry Orshan at 201 638-2270 or e-mail: RR540@aol.com

Additional shows
The Belleayre Music Festival continues on Saturday, Aug. 28 with the Belleayre Festival Opera - Rossini’s Cinderella (“La Cenerentola”); Sunday, Aug. 29; Children’s Opera Theater “Three Little Pigs” and Saturday, Sept. 4: Aaron Neville Quintet featuring Charles Neville. All shows start at 8 p.m.

Tickets for all shows in the 2010 summer concert season at the Belleayre Music Festival, are on sale via Ticketmaster. For additional information, please call 800 942-6904, ext. 1344, visit: www.belleayremusic.org or e-mail: festival@catskill.net.

For information on where to stay, dine, shop or to simply enjoy the great outdoors when you’re in town for the Belleayre Music Festival, please visit: www.catskillhighpeaks.com, www.ulstertourism.info or www.greatwesterncatskills.com.

Concerts are held on the grounds of Belleayre Mountain in Highmount.
Media sponsors are WDST Radio in Woodstock, WKZE Radio in Red Hook and Albany.com