DEPUE — Area residents who have learned to look forward to the annual appearance of Al Pierson and the Guy Lombardo Royal Canadians at the DePue Boat Races each year will have something new to look forward to next week.
Al (Pizzamiglio) Pierson, 80, has announced he won’t be performing this year due to health concerns, but his brother, Bobby (Pizzamiglio) Page, 75, will carry on the tradition of the free Wednesday night lakefront concert-dance series.
The Pizzamiglio brothers were from DePue, and Bobby followed Al to Illinois State University for his musical training.
“I worked for him full time when I was in college,” Bobby said.
The brothers followed their special interests after college, Al specializing in big band dance bands, and Bobby in show music. In 1989, Al took over the Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians band and traveled the world, sometimes with his little brother.
At times he would call me and say ‘I’ve got a double bass booked for this or that’ and he’d send me to Harrah’s in Las Vegas to play a show there,” Bobby said.
Bobby spent 25 years in Florida, leading his own combos and big bands. He has since returned to the Illinois Valley and now lives in Spring Valley.
Al began bringing his Royal Canadians in 2003, but when health forced him to bow out this year, DePue Village President Eric Bryant and the DePue Men’s Club asked Bobby to step in.
“I’ve done his whole library, so I’m well familiar with it,” Bobby said.
Bobby will perform with his four-piece band, which includes long-time musical partner Don Zukowski of Malden. Bobby plays the piano and is accompanied by a bass, drums and saxophone.
Bobby said the audience will be able to enjoy the wide variety of music his band plays.
“We’re kind of a real hip band, and we play all the styles, country, and a little rock and roll” he said. “We’re a lot different than just playing ‘Good Night Irene.’”
Bobby said if anyone wants to hear “In the Mood,” “Begin the Beguine,” or any of those old time standards, his band certainly can play those songs.
“But the stuff that draws us is, first of all, we’re a real exciting band, and we play one tune right after another, and just tie it together like a show,” he said.
So there might by “Margaritaville,” followed by “Pretty Woman,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and then a little “Satin Doll” and “New York, New York.”
Bobby said he hopes for a good turnout for the Wednesday concert, which will take place along the DePue lakefront from 6 to 8 p.m. He advises people to bring along their lawn chairs, dancing shoes and an appetite for good music.
“We want to get as many people out there as possible,” he said.
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.