There may be no better location for an oldies concert than Cochran Auditorium in Greater Johnstown High School.
For many locals, the early days of rock and roll bring back memories of muscle cars, poodle skirts and high school days, and for that reason, Joe Magistro chose the historic auditorium for The Golden Oldies Show, a concert to raise funds to fight cancer. The event takes place April 4 at the auditorium with doors opening at 7 p.m. and bands playing from 8 to 11 p.m. Funds raised go to Walk of Hope.
The event features six acts: The Buddy Dee Show, The Pittsburgh Belairs, That Oldies Band, Krazy Kat Daddies, The Moore Brothers Band and Kelly Hylton, an Elvis tribute artist. Former television news personality Marty Radavonic and Joe Rizzo serve as masters of ceremony.
Magistro, a retired Johnstown High teacher and member of That Oldies Band, has a very personal reason for promoting the show. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with colon cancer which, he says, “completely changed my life.
“Along with the chemotherapy, radiation, operation, and more chemotherapy came the depression and anxiety,” he says. He says he almost gave up and needed an outlet to take his mind off his problems.
“I decided to go back to my roots of music and formed That Oldies Band.
“With my daughter always by my side, a new band and lots of praying, I was able to cope with my stressful everyday life.”
That Oldies Band consists of Todd Shaffer, lead guitar; Bobby Wyandt, drums; Magistro, bass guitar; Jimmy Smedo, keyboards and vocals; and Joe Chon, lead singer. The newest member, Ginger Pollock, came on board last year and joins Chon and Smedo on vocals.
That Oldies Band plays hits from the 50s and 60s. Its members came from former local bands such as The Kindred Spirit, The Cavaliers, Runaways, Flood City Blues, Chordells, Reach N Back Cruzin, Buddy Dee and others.
Pollock says she is delighted to be a part of That Oldies Band. “I was karaoke bar singer who is now living her dream,” she says. “I have an appreciation for this music. It's a chance to hold on to the past. A lot of the artists who performed this music aren't around anymore. But their music lives on through artists like us.”
Magistro says Krazy Kat Daddies has a sound that every age group can relate to. Members include Gary Faidley of Richland Township, Vic Sabo of Windber and Mike and Joan Nardelli from Altoona.