Orleans Headlines Fulton’s Memorial Day Salute

The current line-up of Orleans, singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park in July 2006. Photo from Wikipedia user manicdrums.
The current line-up of Orleans, singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park in July 2006. Photo from Wikipedia user manicdrums.

This is the 30th year of Fulton’s Memorial Day Salute. It doesn’t seem possible that this community wide event was started in 1981. Four service clubs, Lions, Rotary, JayCees, and the Kiwanis clubs, started the event. After a few years the Optimist Club replaced the JayCees, and they disbanded and the present fourth service club today is the Sunrise Rotary Club.

The original purpose was three fold. We wanted a community wide event that everyone in our community, especially the children, could participate in. We wanted to offer a program, or series of events, that would thank all of our present and former service men and women for their service to our country. And we wanted to bring the citizens of our community a weekend of music by nationally and locally recognized performers or groups.

When it comes to entertainment, the service clubs have provided the Fulton audiences with some great music over the years. The emphasis has mostly been on the popular music of the 1950’s thru the 1970’s. This music could be defined in broad terms as “Rock ‘N Roll.” Groups that have appeared on the Recreation Park stage over the years are: Bill Haley and The Comets, Little Richard, Chubby Checker, Herman’s Hermits, Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, Bobby Vee, country star, Jim Ed Brown, The Lovin Spoonful, Tribute to the Beatles (Let It Be), Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, Jay and The Americans and last year, A Tribute To Elvis.

One group that has not appeared on our stage is “Orleans”. This year Fulton Savings Bank will sponsor Orleans on the Community Center stage on Saturday, May 28, 2011 starting at 8 PM. Orleans is an American pop-rock band best known for its hits “Dance With Me” (1975), “Still The One” (1976) and “Love Takes Time (1979).

Orleans was formed in Woodstock, New York in February 1972, by guitarist/songwriter John Hall, Vocalist/guitarist Larry Hoppen and drummer/percussionist Wells Kelly. In November of that year, the group expanded to include Larry’s younger brother, Lance, on bass. Drummer Jerry Marotta later joined, completing the quintet.

The Hoppen brothers and Kelly reunited the band in 1979, signing with Infinity Records label and producing “Love Takes Time”. By that time Hall had left the group to pursue a solo career tho continuing to join the band from time to time. The group was stunned with the untimely death of Wells Kelly in 1984. That was the catalyst for a reunion of Hall and the Hoppen brothers.

To this day, Orleans continues to write, record and perform. The current line-up includes Lance and Larry Hoppen, youngest brother Lane Hoppen on keyboards, Dennis “Fly” Amero (replacing John Hall) on guitar and, on drums, Charlie Morgan (best known for his 14-year stint with Elton John). The writing and recording of new material is a high priority for this band.

Jim Myers, long time entertainment chairman for the Memorial Day Salute, has released the balance of the entertainment schedule for the weekend. On Friday, May 27 , the G. Ray Bodley High School Jazz band will perform at 5 PM . Rick Bush will be on stage from 6-7 PM, followed by one of Central New York’s favorite groups, “Dr. Boogie” They will play until the fireworks start at about 10 PM.

On Saturday, May 28, Oswego County’s largest parade will move down Broadway, from east to west, starting at 10 AM. This will be followed by several of the parade marching bands playing at a “Stand-in” on the Community Center stage from noon to 2 PM. Off Broadway Dancers will perform at 2 PM and “Virgil The Magician,” will entertain the children and adults alike at 3:30 PM. The Fulton Community Band will be on stage at 5 PM. followed by the music of L.A. Rising at 6 PM. Orleans takes the stage at 8 PM .

The Memorial Day Salute opens at 5 PM on Friday and closes at 11 PM after the fireworks are over. On Saturday, the hours are from 11 AM to 10 PM. During these hours, delicious food and beverage and many rides will be available.