OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Highland reader eager for bus trip to see Bobby Vinton

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-10-28T00:00:00Z 2014-05-18T19:11:14Z OFFBEAT: Highland reader eager for bus trip to see Bobby VintonPhilip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Last Saturday's one-night concert by crooner Bobby Vinton at the Stardust Event Center in Michigan City was a certain sell-out.

In fact, it was sold-out for more than a month prior, so I didn't even bother including it in my column.

Lorraine Wicks of Highland was among the many Times readers who contacted me, lamenting that they didn't manage to snag tickets in time.

"I wanted to see Bobby Vinton and had hopes that there might have been a bus trip to see his show, but never found any such trips," Wicks said.

"While growing up, I remember when his song 'Mr. Lonely' was such a big hit and it was right during the time of the Vietnam War. My brother was sent over to Vietnam and I remember my mom playing this song over and over."

I have some good news for Lorraine and other Times readers.

Vinton, who turns 78 next year, is coming back to Chicagoland for two very special concerts on Valentine's Day, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, to perform 1:30 and 7 p.m. shows at the beautiful Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill., next to Hollywood Casino. Tickets are $49 to $64 at ParamountAurora.com or call the Paramount box office at (630) 896-6666.

Last week, I spoke with Melissa Striedl, director of Paramount's Group Sales Department and she said currently, there are 27 tour groups booked for Vinton's Valentine's Day concerts, with still more availability for other groups and individual seats. The theater, which opened in 1931, is very ornate, and can seat up to 1,888 people.

As for any local tour groups who have already arranged an outing to see Vinton's 2013 Valentine's Day concerts, I haven't located any close organizations with bus trips. The nearest I've found is a group sponsored by a bank in Worth, Ill. However, maybe this column might encourage a closer group opportunity for a bus trip. I know our Times affiliated Golden Timers group often hosts bus trips, but I'm not certain if all of their 2013 dates are booked.

When I spoke to Vinton earlier this year, he said he has drastically cut back on his tour dates, agreeing to only about one booking per month now. But Chicago, he says, is always a top choice consideration.

"One of the reasons I love playing shows in the Chicago area is because that's where I first earned my entertainer's name 'The Polish Prince,'" Vinton said.

"It was the late Mayor Daley who helped me get that name when he and his wife Sis decided to see me in concert when I was in Chicago instead of meeting with visiting royalty from Europe as was promoted in the media. So the next day after the concert, I had all of these Chicago newspapers giving Mayor Daley a bad time for picking me, who they called 'The Polish Prince.'"

Helping out

Extended applause (or should I say A-paws) to Melanie Derwinski, 10, of Crown Point, the daughter of Darlene and Jim Derwinski, for helping raise money (all on her very own) for the family in Valparaiso who take in injured animals to mend before their return to the wild. She read my story earlier this month about Dr. Larry McAfee, one of the local veterinarians who depend on the help of Glenn Wiles and his family for this important mission. Good luck, Melanie, with your charity project!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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