~ In loving Memory~

Roger Del Russo

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Star-Ledger Staff : So how do you get to Carnegie Hall? For Roger A. Del Russo, you learn to sing doo-wop music as a high school student in Newark, and spend a lifetime perfecting that special brand of oldies music in venues throughout New Jersey and beyond. For one magic moment in 1997, Mr. Del Russo’s vocal group, The Cameos, reunited to sing before a full house at America’s premier concert hall. “It was the beginning of a whole new era for them,” said Mr. Del Russo’s daughter, Lisa Porada of Shrewsbury, who was in the audience. Mr. Del Russo, who founded The Cameos as a 17-year-old at Barringer High School at the be ginning of a lifelong enthusiasm for the harmonies of doo-wop music, died Monday. He was 65. A former resident of Randolph and Parsippany, Mr. Del Russo was diagnosed with lung cancer almost exactly a year ago, family members said. He died in the Atlantic Hospice in Morristown.

The Cameos have not existed continuously since they began nearly 40 years earlier, and they have gone through a series of name changes. But since reforming, they have played most weekends, at places small and great, from clubs to the Meadowlands. And the show they put on that day in Manhattan was a wonder to behold, to both the eye and the ear. “The singing was wonderful, but they had the whole package,” Porada said. Dressed formally, the five vocalists changed outfits — baby pink to canary yellow to powder blue, she said. “Every time I saw my father on stage, and especially at Carnegie Hall, it was an amazing experience,” Porada said. “We’d dance and sing (along with the music).” Born in Newark about six months before Pearl Harbor, Mr. Del Russo learned harmonies by singing on street corners, his daughter said. He also became high school sweethearts with another Barringer student, Enna Giammona, and they got married on Nov. 17, 1962. “She’s been his biggest fan,” his daughter said. To pay the bills, Mr. Del Russo was employed by Howard Savings and the Suburban Savings and Loan, as well as by Metromedia and AT&T. He retired in 2003 after 10 years as proprietor of the Beeper Factory in Middletown and Nutley. But Mr. Del Russo’s passion remained doo-wop singing, a style Mr. Del Russo learned as a teenager in the 1950s. An imposing presence at 6 feet and 210 pounds, Mr. Del Russo sang with a bass voice and was known as “Mr. Bass Man” with The Cameos. He was the only original founder to remain with the group through its four decades.

The Cameos were founded in 1959, when they recorded their signature tune, “Rock and Roll Arabian Knights.” At times, the group morphed into The Nic Nacs and The Daddy’os. Membership varied, with Mr. Del Russo as a common thread. Most recently, after a half-dozen years entirely inactive, the Cameos reunited in time to play Carnegie Hall. Throughout his yearlong bout with cancer, Mr. Del Russo faithfully answered the call to sing with the group, said Paul Stuart of Saddle Brook, The Cameos’ drummer. “That’s what kept him going for a whole year,” Stuart said. “He loved (singing). His doctors told him to go out and sing.” Mr. Del Russo performed until about a month ago. The Cameos are scheduled to play Gabriels in Wayne on Saturday. “His wish is for us to carry on,” Stuart said. The old saying says, ‘The show must go on.'” In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Del Russo is survived by a son, Vincent of Morris Plains; two granddaughters, Olivia and Victoria Porada; and a sister, Katherine Scott of Florida.
Mr. Bassman, You will be missed!


Victor Rodriguez
"Former Del Monico member"

It is with extreme regret that we must announce the news
of the sudden passing of our longtime friend
and fellow group member, Victor Rodriguez.
Victor “Rod” had a long history of singing and performing experience since the 1950’s
with top Doo Wop and Oldies groups in the tri-state area including The Delmonicos,
and John Kuse and The Excellents, just to name a few.
Victor was a proud, long time member of The Cameos as a 1st Tenor
and Lead Vocalist since his retirement from a successful career in the financial services industry.
Victor’s most recent appearance with his fellow Cameos was at the New Years Eve gala
at the Essex Manor in Bloomfield, N.J.
Well regarded in the tri-state musical industry, Victor brought joy
and happiness to so many through his vocal performances in hundreds
of small and large venues. Those closest to him knew that he was
a kind and loving person with a deep sense of spirituality and faith.
Please join us in keeping Victor’s family and friends
in your prayers at this difficult time.


Glenn Lee Hawkins

Glenn Lee Hawkins, age 65, of Saddle Brook, died on April 29, 2015. Born and raised in Middletown, NY, he lived in Garfield for 25 years before settling in Saddle Brook 32 years ago. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and worked as a computer software tester. He was currently employed by KPMG in Montvale for the past 7 years, and previously, he worked for ADP in Roseland for many years. Glenn was also a professional bass player and back up singer for over 45 years, and a former member of the band, The Cameo's, New Jersey's favorite oldies group. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Kathleen (nee Benanti), a son, Chris Hawkins, and his twin daughters, Jennifer Eager and husband John, and Joanne Hawkins. He is predeceased by his brothers, Lance and Keith Hawkins.