Robinson Brothers Bring It Home To Litchfield

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Robby and Rex Robinson came home to Litchfield Saturday and presented their Homecoming Concert II as a special fundraiser  for St. Francis Hospital and Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois.

The brothers brought with them a group of All Star performers to round out the group. Expressing his enthusiasm, Robby stated, "We're so glad you came out for us as we came home. It is extra special, with extraordinary friends supporting a great cause."

Robby is best known  as keyboardist for Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, playing with them  since 1978.  His brother Rex, the bass player also played with The Four Seasons for more than 20 years. 

They both credit their mom Barbara Quade with initiating their musical development.  Band directors Harry Reinhold and Roger Maulding also played roles in the boy's lives. Robby stated that his piano teacher, Helen Niemann from Mt Olive, was extremely important. The brothers lead the audience in singing "Happy Birthday" to Quade for her 90th birthday.

Both Litchfield natives played in rock bands throughout central and southern Illinois during their early years.

Some of the bands they played in were, The Far Cryse, Seadog, Patch among others and were very popular in area venues 50 some years ago.

Chuck Wilson, another Litchfield native, played drums, and was with Robby in a local band The Sonics in the mid 60's. That band evolved into the Far Cryse, and Chuck and the Robinson boys toured the US with their band Patch for a couple of years, 

The All Star cast included Joey Dee, famous for his hit "The Peppermint Twist". Chris Montez, while still in his teens recorded "Lets Dance" in 1962.  He is noted for touring England in 1963 and having The Beatles as his lead act before performances.

Steve March-Torme, an extraordinary vocalist, came to Litchfield also on the last Robinson Homecoming tour.  His father is Mel Torme.

Travis Cloer, a Broadway star, who is noted for playing the role of Frankie Vallie in "Jersey Boys" longer than any other actor, supplied stellar vocals.

From Blues Brothers fame, trombonist Tom "Bones" Malone and "Blue Lou" Marini, world famous tenor saxophone player.  Malone played with the house band for the David Letterman Show for 25 years and Saturday Night Live for a decade.  Marini was a member of the SNL band as well as a member of  Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Doc Kupka, who has written most of the hits for Tower of Power, and been with the band for 50 years, played baritone sax.

Bobby Burns, trumpeter for Earth, Wind and Fire filled out the horn section for the night.

Fino Roverato, guitarist and singer who played Saturday night, was  in The 5th Dimension, Thomas Dolby, and Jay & The Americans.

Craig Pilo, drummer, who played with the brothers on their last appearance in Litchfield, has played for a variety of diverse acts including Jefferson Starship, Maynard Ferguson, Edgar Winter and Pat Boone.  He is also a composer and his music has been heard on hundreds of TV shows.

Oscar and Grammy winner Tata Vega, one of the great voices in Gospel music, was a featured singer.

Most of the band members had a connection to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, playing with the band at some time in their career.

A crowd of nearly 700 filled the outdoor tent for the night of music. A reporting of the total contributions will be published soon.

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