- Acclaimed accordionist and Broomall resident Joe Soprani talked about his USO
days when he spoke at the Kimmel Center, in conjunction with a performance by
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops called "The Stage Door Canteen."
concerts by the Philly Pops opened last night and continue Friday through Sunday
in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Nero, of Upper Providence, and his famous Pops will recall the poignant melodies
and songs of the World War II era, a time Soprani is very familiar with.
performed with a USO troupe for U.S. servicemen and women in Japan and Korea in
1953, and - at 18 -- became one of the youngest American entertainers to perform
for the troops.
A few years later, Soprani enlisted in the U.S. Air Force
and, as the accordion soloist with the Air Force Band, he traveled the world for
four years. When he returned to the United States, he went to West Chester University,
the Philadelphia Musical Academy and later taught music at Philadelphias
Lamberton High School.
Now retired from teaching, Soprani can be found
performing throughout the Delaware Valley. He holds the distinction of being the
only accordionist in the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra to appear as a
featured soloist, under Maestro Eugene Ormandy.
He also performed with
the Philadelphia Opera Company.
Soprani also writes and records arrangements
for accordions. He recently recorded a CD of popular Italian folk songs.
will address the audience before each Pops concert as part of the Philly Pops
popular Musicians Talk series, which takes place prior to each concert during
"The Stage Door Canteen" concert series.
Joining the Philly Pops for this
series is Big Band singer Lynn Roberts. She began her singing career at age 15
with Charlie Spivak and his band.
She performed with legends of the day
from Frank Sinatra to Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. She also sang with Benny Goodman
and his orchestra for 10 years and, for four years with Harry James.