NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem’s senior musical icon Norm Hathaway is bringing his Big Band sound to Somers this weekend to help the Somers Lions Club raise holiday money for Friends of Karen.
Octogenarian Hathaway, whose uncle studied opera under Enrico Caruso, started piano at the age of 12. Within a few years, he had mastered piano, clarinet and saxophone and did a pretty good job on practically any other instrument that found its way into his hands.
After retiring from a career as a packaging and graphic designer, Hathaway gathered some friends and organized a 21st century Big Band, reminiscent of the greats of the 1940s: Benny Goodman, Harry James, the Dorsey Brothers and Glenn Miller.
Seventy-five years later, the sound endures. “We cut right across the generations,” Hathaway said. It is as enjoyable for today’s young people as it is for those who remember the originals. “We play with a good dancing beat,” he added
This weekend’s concert in Somers will feature vocals by Nicole Pasternak, who was called “a young Ella Fitzgerald” by JazzTimes magazine. Others have compared her to Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee. “All of her performances radiate a straight-forwardness that communicates directly to all audiences… she is magnetic,” wrote VisionWind Music.
The Somers Lions Club hopes to fill every one of the auditorium’s 600 seats this weekend, with the goal of raising $9,000 for Friends of Karen’s “Adopt-A-Family Holiday Gifts for Children” fund. Friends of Karen, based in Purdys, provides comprehensive support to families of children with life-threatening illnesses.
The concert takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Somers Middle School Auditorium at 250 Route 202. Tickets are $30 per person, $50 per couple, $20 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets are available on the website and at the door.