Best Bets: The Tee-Tones bring musical memories to Dover

The Tee-Tones, from New York City, will perform doo-wop, Motown and other rhythm and blues hits from past decades at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover on Feb. 23. The evening starts with a buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m. with the show at 7:15. (Submitted photo)

As a singer in the vocal group The Tee-Tones, James Reeder feels an obligation to keep the music playing.

Growing up on the streets of Queens and Brooklyn, Mr. Reeder would harmonize with his friends, taking a cue from those groups he listened to as a kid, such as Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers and Little Anthony and The Imperials.

Years later, he would become a member of the doo-wop group 14 Karat Soul and now The Tee-Tones.

Combining soulful group harmony with arrangements of the classics of the great rhythm and blues groups of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, The Tee-Tones will perform at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center Feb. 23. A buffet dinner is available beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the show at 7:15.

Starting as The Tunnel Tones, named after the subway tunnels and street corners where groups used to practice, the group formed about seven years ago.

Original members Lee “Scout” Ford and Gerard Giddiens are still with the group. Mr. Reeder joined about three and half years ago while Bernard Taylor and Gerard Burrell fill out the five-member ensemble.

Along with Mr. Reeder’s involvement in 14 Karat Soul, the singers were previously members of groups such as The Chords, The Drifters, The Trans Siberian Orchestra and The Delfonics.

“Our manager Laurence Graber had the idea of putting a group together that would represent the soul and doo-wop eras of the ’50s and ’60s,” Mr. Reeder said.

“People started enjoying it and we took it as a sign that we should continue doing it.”

As far back as sixth grade, Mr. Reeder can remember digging into his mother’s record collection and listening to artists such as Johnny Mathis, Sam Cooke and The Drifters.

“My mother, who was a jazz singer, said I had a voice like Johnny Mathis and I got pretty good at it,” Mr. Reeder recalled.

“I got my first girlfriend by singing to her. I was always attracted to the sound of people harmonizing like they used to do around my urban neighborhood. I entered talent shows and it kind of went from there.”

Listening to oldies shows on the radio, he heard the vocal group 14 Karat Soul and fell in love with their sounds. A few years later, in 1979, he ended up working with the brother of the leader of that group at Rent-A-Center.

An audition was set up and he became a member of the group when he was 18, staying there for six years.

“I would imagine being part of that group and years later, God answered my prayers,” he said.

After a couple of decades of raising his family, Mr. Reeder got back into singing with The Tee-Tones.

Over their seven-year journey, The Tee-Tones have been featured on PBS’ “Doowop Generations,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” with the band Post Modern Jukebox and opening for such acts as The Drifters, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Bobby Rydell, The Coasters and more.

In 2013, they performed for Sir Paul McCartney and Motown founder Berry Gordy at a fundraiser for The Motown Museum.

These days, the group performs up and down the East Coast.

“We have a love for that sound and we are trying to not let it die,” Mr. Reeder said.

“It was such a beautiful era in which a community of people related to each other and that music had a lot do with it,” he said.

“It played a part in bringing everyone together to enjoy each other and dance together no matter what their particular problems in the world were at the time. It was OK to love the music and be friends with each other.

“The doo-wop sound of Frankie Lymon and Little Anthony in the ’50s paved the way for Motown to do what it did in the ’60s. There is a trail of folks that paved the way for what we’re doing today. We definitely feel an obligation to keep the music going so my son and his son have a living history of the music.”

Along with attracting the folks who grew up in that era, Mr. Reeder said he sees many younger people at shows as well.

“They love the look and the sound of the music. They’ll come up to us after the show and tell us how much they appreciate how good we were and ask for advice on how they can start their own singing group,” he said.

“I hope we do touch them so they can carry on what we started after we’re gone.”

Tickets are $45 for dinner and the show and are available at MMC Member Services by calling 734-1200 Ext. 167.

The Modern Maturity Center is at 1121 Forest Ave., Dover.

Loverboy at Dover Downs

Loverboy, the Canadian rock band known for hits “Working for the Weekend,” “Turn Me Loose,” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” will perform at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Rollins Center tonight at 9.

A limited amount of tickets are still available and can be purchased online at doverdowns.com. Prices range from $30 to $50.

Loverboy formed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 1978, when vocalist Mike Reno was introduced to guitarist Paul Dean. Just two years later, their self-titled debut album was released and eventually sold more than 2 million copies in the United States and 4 million worldwide, reaching multi-platinum status.

Loverboy’s other multi-platinum albums include “Get Lucky” (1981), “Keep It Up” (1983), and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” (1985), while “Wildside” (1987) reached gold status. Loverboy’s latest album, “Unfinished Business,” was released in 2014. In total, Loverboy has sold more than 10 million albums.

Bad Juju at coffee house

On Saturday, Delaware Friends of Folk will present their monthly coffee house concert in the Bennett Chapel at Wesley College, corner of Division and North Bradford streets in Dover, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is $7 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk, $10 for non-members, and those 12 and under are admitted free. Fresh-brewed coffee, baked cookies and other snacks will be available.

The main act for the evening will be local electric blues band Bad Juju in a special acoustic performance.

Typically a bar band, Bad Juju jumped at the opportunity to play an acoustic set at the Delmarva Folk Festival in 2017. That experience helped them discover a whole new way to present their music. Friends of Folk gladly welcome them for a two-set acoustic performance.

Opening the evening will be local luthier Brian Howard.

He is a lifelong musician from a family of master woodworkers. After 30 years in custom woodworking and repairing guitars in his spare time, he opened his own Pennsylvania shop to construct handmade guitars in 2009. In the spring of 2018 he moved his business to Magnolia, where he builds, repairs, and reconditions acoustic and electric guitars.

Presidential program

In honor of Presidents Day and George Washington’s birthday, The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, will present “Civility Ascendant: Celebrating George Washington’s Rules for Civil Behavior and Their Legacy for American Politics,” a presentation by Dr. Samuel B. Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science and Law Studies Program Director at Delaware State University.

The program will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling the museum at 302-744-5054.

Should the event be postponed due to inclement weather, it will be rescheduled to Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m., also at the Old State House.

Black History exhibit

Continuing with the celebration for Black History Month, an art exhibit is ongoing at the Dover Public Library.

Seven local African-American artists are displaying their work on the gallery walls of the first floor of the library.

A “Meet the Artists Reception” will be held on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. The free exhibit runs through March 1.

Rescignos on ‘The Resident’

Milford twins Robbie and Paul Rescigno, now living in New York City, sent word this week they are scheduled to appear on an episode of the Fox show “The Resident” Monday night.

No word on who they play but the show, now in its second season follows a group of doctors at Chastain Memorial Hospital, as they face personal and professional challenges on a daily basis.

It airs at 8 p.m.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is the sci-fi action-adventure “Alita: Battle Angel,” the horror film “Happy Death Day 2U” and the Rebel Wilson comedy “Isn’t It Romantic.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the acclaimed film “A Star is Born” and the latest iteration of “Robin Hood.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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