1977 Greek Sing AUDIO – Listen

Delta Pi – First Place Greek Week 1977 Audio

 

By Ernie Lemoncelli #169, with valuable contributions by Al Schoch #226 (who remembers way too much!), Daniel C. Bova #170, Mark Dougherty #186, Mike Burkardt #204, and Joe Sylvester #180. If you were in the performance and are not listed in the story below, our apologies…it’s the best we can remember after 35 years.  Send your name and what you did – we’ll add it. And if anyone has a photo of this performance please scan it and send it in!!

 

Greek Week competitions have been going on for a long time at Bloom, but back in the day there was an event called Greek Sing that was part of the week’s competition and counted towards points needed to win. Greek Sing was a musical competition with fraternities competing against each other and sororities competing with other sororities.  Sometimes the performance was only musical; sometimes it included acting out the words of a song in a skit, or, in the case of sororities, some sort of dance routine set to music.

May 1, 1977; that’s the day Delta Pi took First Place in the Greek Sing competition, which came as an absolute complete surprise to the Greek community and to administration. Perhaps what really pushed Delta Pi to overachieve on this performance was what happened the year before.  Delta Pi’s late surge had gotten the fraternity within striking distance of the IFC Cup and Greek Week championship, so the actives pushed hard on the performance (adding the “Bound for Glory” song for good measure), but came up something like one or two points short of Lambda Chi.  John “Haney” Heckman #215 put it the best: “When those faggots won the cup I could have cried.”

 

Tor Johnson…or Snags?

Indeed, in 1977 Delta Pi had already wrapped up the IFC Cup and Greek Week title, but we were out for blood.

The first of the three-song set was “16 Tons” and featured beloved Brother Mark “Bruno” Falzone #220 on stage with a cast of supporting characters. Bruno was chosen to act the part of a shirtless coal miner loading a coal car with a shovel because he was the hairiest guy we had. He had hair on his chest, his arms, his back…he looked like a gorilla. St, Peter was played by Gary “Snag” Willis #161 wearing a robe and a “Tor Johnson” mask he got at Disney World. Calling this a mask doesn’t do it justice – It was pretty expensive and was made of latex, covering his whole head and looked lifelike, especially at a distance.                                           

This mask also served as a troll in the middle of the Delaware River on one of our canoe trips.  Snag was wearing it and demanding payment from passing canoes. One girl tried to hit him with her oar as she passed…but that’s another story.

 

Although Tor Johnson was a pro wrestler who gained fame in those hideous movies made by Edward Wood, Jr. (See the movie “Ed Wood”), the mask of his face is his biggest achievement. An aluminum foil/coat hanger halo completed Snags outfit. Both Bruno and Snag were a smash.

Our second song of the set song was “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” from the Billy Joel “Piano Man” album, which a campus favorite. Our performance brought the audience to their feet. They couldn’t be more surprised. We were good… real good. We received standing ovations from the audience – five standing O’s in all for our performance.

The laughter you hear after the first song is because Ernie Lemoncelli #169, who served as musical director, was at the piano and could not get the well-worn song sheet to stay on the music stand. It was so worn out from being folded and unfolded for countless practice sessions that it was like tissue paper and simply would not stay on the music stand…so he threw it into the air in frustration.  The audience thought this was a “We don’t need no stinking music sheets” kind of statement and started to laugh.  Dan Bova #170, on guitar, looked startled because he knew Ernie usually forgot where the song was going without the sheet, and he was rightfully worried.

Also playing guitar was Dave “Ack” Ackland #213 and Mike “Bish” Bearish #218 with Doug Pfautz #216 starting the tune on harmonica.

Billy Joel had performed at Nelson Field House in February of that year, and Doug was on the stage crew.  He grabbed the opportunity to go directly to the piano man himself, told him of our Greek Sing plans, and got pointers on how to play the harmonica for the number.  Doug said Billy agreed that the introduction was a rather difficult piece to play… lots of inhaling and exhaling in different areas.  At least that’s what I think they were talking about.

The drums, played superbly by Greg Konowal # 223, made this an excellent, well-rounded performance.

While we were wheeling out the piano and setting up the large drum set, everyone probably figured this had to be a joke. After all, our past performances consisted of a bunch of drunks smoking cigars (some of which landed in the audience) mumbling forgotten words to songs they couldn’t sing.  The drum set was owned by Tom Glosek #179, and was a large set with a couple of high top cymbals. The piano was an upright that was in the auditorium.

Among the singers were Al Schoch #226, Bill Hower #229, Donato Martino #219, Jeff Carson #260, Mike Burkardt #204,  Kevin Johnson #227 (who really wanted to sing “Mac the Knife” and did it countless times in the afterparty), Carl Iacovelli #212, Fred Pagani #184 (who had a tremendous voice). Butch (Warren Schreiner #230) had some sort of role but was pretty much told to shut up every other minute.

Back-story details….

We rehearsed in the basement of the Crag, the singers in the area where we had the composites and the actors in the other side where the bar was.  That’s right; the chorus never saw the skit. The drums were kept back by the composites… and were played ad nauseum by many brothers for about a month, much to the displeasure of John Scoblick #174 and Ernie in Apartment A.

In the party after our victory, which was one continuous roar from the basement that lasted for hours, we sang our winning songs repeatedly with Glosek at the drums and Ernie on the keys.  We also did a lot of “Doctor Love” (Ack’s favorite) and the “SIO Potato Song.” What a night that was.  Remember, this was the first time Delta Pi had ever won the IFC Cup and Greek Week.

Our final rehearsal was the day before at the Spring Picnic, which was held on Saturday April 30th, 1977, which is (everybody now) the 10th anniversary of Founders Day.

For the performance, we dressed in flannel shirts and jeans… which we called the Billy Joel look (the early years, not the Todd Talarico #412 years) and stood stage left on the steps… the Haas stage had steps or risers all the way around the front. The chorus was encouraged by Bov and Ernie not to screw around during the show… no laughing or making faces or wearing silly costumes and DON’T look up at the act on the stage (although Al says he has seen a rare photo of our group with “Kitster” Carson watching the actors and everyone else being real serious).  We also noted to draw out the last note of several lines, such as “the cowboy and the rancher knew his naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.”

When the first standing ovation happened, Al Schoch blurted out “Oh my God, look at that!” He was standing next to Donato Martino #219, who shot back out of the side of his mouth “SHUT THE FUCK UP.”

The judges took into account the reaction of the audience, so no fraternity cheered for the others but those who didn’t perform stood and cheered wildly for us.  Dave Crawford #248, didn’t quite get this, thinking it was poor sportsmanship (His words, “I don’t know where you’re from!”). But we were good sports.

The acting was headed up by Artistic Director Joe “Sy” Sylvester #180. He directed Dan Marchetti #193, as Billy the Kid with Joe Dux #209, as the boy from Oyster Bay, Long Island. Dano was chosen for two reasons…his tremendous stage presence, and the fact that he was a favorite of Chi Sigma Rho. Dano rode into the scene on his horse which was a stick with a horse head on it (not a real horse head like in The Godfather). Duxie, on the other hand, was real proud of walking across that stage with a real six pack, sipping a beer in front of the administration and getting away with it. We had a bar top made of two chairs and a board to represent the bar at the Saloon. During the song someone’s leg hit one of the chairs and the bar almost fell over. A couple of guys rushed to put it back in place.

In the Greek Sing performance of the previous year,  Sy was a unique prop all by himself. He had a full beard which he shaved clean on only one side of his face so that when he was walking to the left across the stage, he had no beard, and when he turned to walk to the right he had a beard…you had to know Sy.

In the second song, Billy the Kid shot someone and Mark “Doc” Dougherty #186, was our chosen target. For effect, a rope was tied around Doc’s waist and the idea was to pull him backwards when Billy shot him. Doc remembers that one of the two guys on the rope was Jeff Bean #208, although he thinks there may have been more than two. “They pulled me right into a door but fortunately my head stopped the momentum. I wasn’t too happy afterwards” Doc said. You may be able to hear Doc shout out… I know the guys in the chorus could hear him.

The final song, “Delta Pi is Bound for Glory” is a Gospel Hymn adapted to our purpose by Ack.  This was the second year we used this song in Greek Sing. Listen for the next to the last line in the opening and closing stanza: “We have a house, all three stories.” The original line in the 1976 Greek Sing performance was: “Just bought a house, all three stories,” which is what had just happened the year before.  We were damn proud of having the Crag Mansion – the only fraternity at Bloom to buy their own house.

This recording was done on a small handheld cassette player in the balcony of Haas Auditorium, so the audio is not very good. But considering the hardware available at the time and how far away the upper deck is from the Haas stage, it’s remarkable. Turn up the volume!!!

For those that participated or saw the performance, it will bring a flood of memories of great times and the complete domination of Delta Pi as the number One fraternity on campus. For the brothers that weren’t yet around, it’s an example of what we can do when we all pull together.

In 1977, there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do…

 

Here is the only audio recording in existence of Delta Pi’s First Place performance in the 1977 Greek Sing. This Audio Heirloom was digitally restored with funds provided by the Delta Pi Alumni Association.

CLICK BELOW FOR AUDIO FILE

 

01-Delta Pi – First Place Greek Sing 1977

 

Go ahead, you know you want to sing along…

 

Sixteen Tons

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said “Well, a-bless my soul”

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin’, better step aside
A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don’t a-get you
Then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

 

The Ballad of Billy the Kid

From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia
Rode a boy with a six-gun in his hand
And his daring life of crime
Made him a legend in his time
East and west of the Rio Grande

Well, he started with a bank in Colorado
In the pocket of his vest, a Colt he hid
And his age and his size
Took the teller by surprise
And the word spread of Billy the Kid

Well, he never traveled heavy
Yes, he always rode alone
And he soon put many older guns to shame
And he never had a sweetheart
And he never had a home
But the cowboy and the rancher knew his name

Well, he robbed his way from Utah to Oklahoma
And the law just could not seem to track him down
And it served his legend well
For the folks, they’d love to tell
‘Bout when Billy the Kid came to town

Well, one cold day a posse captured Billy
And the judge said, “String ‘im up for what he did!”
And the cowboys and their kin
Like the sea came pourin’ in
To watch the hangin’ of Billy the Kid

Well, he never traveled heavy
Yes, he always rode alone
And he soon put many older guns to shame
And he never had a sweetheart
But he finally found a home
Underneath the Boot Hill grave that bears his name

From a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island
Rode a boy with a six-pack in his hand
And his daring life of crime
Made him a legend in his time
East and west of the Rio Grande

 

And the finale…

Delta Pi is Bound for Glory

Delta Pi is bound for Glory, Delta Pi

Delta Pi is bound for Glory, Delta Pi

Delta Pi is bound for Glory

We have a house, all three stories

Delta Pi is bound for Glory, Delta Pi

 

Delta Pi, we’re together, Delta Pi

Delta Pi, we’re together, Delta Pi

Delta Pi, we’re together

Even through the stormy weather

Delta Pi, we’re together, Delta Pi

 

Delta Pi, we have good times, Delta Pi

Delta Pi, we have good times, Delta Pi

Delta Pi, we have good times

Come on down, anytime

Delta Pi, we have good times, Delta Pi

 

Repeat first stanza twice.

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