This weekend, Billy Walton headlines second Tony Mart’s show at the Music Pier

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Billy Walton will perform at the Ocean City Music Pier as part of the Tony Mart summer reunion series Billy Walton will perform at the Ocean City Music Pier as part of the Tony Mart summer reunion series OCEAN CITY — Inspiring nostalgia for the heyday of Jersey Shore rock ’n’ roll, Tony Mart’s is presenting the second in a three-part series of summer concerts at the Ocean City Music Pier.

Tony Mart’s will host a summertime reunion Saturday, June 23 featuring Billy Walton, guitarist for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, with his own band, and a performance by Sweet Sensations featuring Iris Nadel, one of the few female bartenders employed by Tony Mart’s.

Carmen Marotta still gets choked up when he thinks about what his father, Tony Marotta, did for the Jersey Shore music scene. In the 1940s, Tony Marotta purchased a tavern on Bay Avenue in Somers Point with the idea of attracting business from nearby Ocean City, his son explained.

“It was obviously because of Ocean City that my father wanted to buy this old tavern on Bay Avenue, where there was nothing but 500 people and mostly clam diggers,” he said. “That opportunity lied in what happened with the fact that Ocean City was dry.”

Marotta said that in the 1950s and ’60s, Ocean City gained an increasing amount of college students in the summer, working “down the shore.”

“There was a hand-in-hand development between Ocean City and Somers Point – Ocean City and Tony Mart specifically,” he said. “They would all come over to Somers Point to party. That’s always been a relationship, a dynamic.”

Tony Mart’s thrived in that time with headliners like Conway Twitty, Bill Haley and His Comets, Duane Eddy and Del Shannon. 

In 1982, at the end of the Tony Mart-era at the Jersey Shore, some scenes from the film, “Eddie and The Cruisers,” were filmed at Tony Mart’s and in Ocean City.

“When you see that scene on Seventh Street where Eddie and Tommy Berenger are talking, words and music – that scene, that is the classic beach blanket bingo, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello. And that scene being in that movie was so important,” Marotta said.

Tony Mart’s closed that same year, and Tony Marotta passed away just a few years later. But 30 years after the Jersey Shore institution shut its doors, Tony Mart’s, under the leadership of Carmen Marotta, is still putting on shows with Tony Mart’s Presents, including the Somers Point Beach Concert Series – celebrating its 20th year – and this summer’s Music Pier reunion shows.

“Naturally, when we started doing the nostalgia shows, I never really wanted to do Ocean City, but everyone kept saying Ocean City is part of your history,” Marotta said. “I didn’t want to do it because it was dry; but it’s such a natural.”

On May 26, Tony Mart hosted a tribute to Chicago at the Music Pier. Shows on June 23 and Aug. 18 will be more about “the heart of Tony Mart’s,” Marotta said.

“Billy Walton is a lot like Eddie Wilson,” Marotta said of the Southside Johnny guitarist.

“He’s got it all. He’s a great performer, a singer, a phenomenal guitar player.

“His band is really hot.”

Walton will be performing his own songs along with some of Southside Johnny’s hits, a tribute to Jersey Shore sounds like Springsteen, and songs from “Eddie and The Cruisers.”

“We also have another band performing, Sweet Sensations, features Iris, one of the few barmaids that Tony Mart’s ever had,” Marotta said.

There will be a classic dance contest and trivia as well. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and will be available the night of the show.

Advanced tickets are available at the Ocean City Music Pier box office. For more information call 653-6069, or the box office at 525-9248 or 525-9300. See Somerspointbeachconcerts.com and tonymart.com.

 

More weekend events

Craft Show

The Ocean City Exchange Club Craft Show will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, June 22 at the Music Pier. For vendor information, call 610-368-6656.

 

Relay for Life

The 2012 Relay for Life of Ocean City will begin 4 p.m. Friday, June 22 at Ocean City High School, Sixth Street and Atlantic Avenue, and last through Saturday, June 23. This is an opportunity to not only honor cancer survivors and remember those who lost their battle, but also to raise funds and awareness to help save lives. See relayforlife.org or call 484-343-8194 for more information and to register.

 

Gardens Civic Association yard sale

The Ocean City Gardens Civic Association will be hosting its annual “It’s Finally Summer” yard sale 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 23 at the Cardiff Triangle off the Gardens Parkway near the Longport Bridge. The proceeds benefit the scholarship fund, island beach beautification, and other humanitarian efforts. Homemade refreshments will be sold.  Adequate parking is available. All are welcome.

 

Boys Choir performs at St. Peters UMC

The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, “America’s Ambassadors of Song,” will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 23 at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, Eighth Street and Central Avenue. Call 399-2988 for tickets, advance sales at $10 each or six for $50. Price is $15 at door. Children 12 and under are free. The program will showcase the voices of 80 boys complemented by a men’s chorale.

 

Sailing Foundation open house

The Ocean City Sailing Foundation will hold an open house 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 23 at the Bayside Center, Fifth Street and Bay Avenue. The open house will provide information on various sailing classes and a free 15-minute sail on the bay. Call John at 226-9219.

 

Antique Auto Show

An Antique Auto Show, featuring over 300 vintage vehicles, will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 23 at the Tabernacle grounds, Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue. A boardwalk parade will take place after 2 p.m. For more information, call 432-5347.

 

Habecker and Campolo at Tabernacle Sunday

Eugene Habecker speaks at the 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. services Sunday, June 24 at the Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave., with music by the worship band from Presbyterian Church of Toms River with Michael Barozzie. Author Tony Campolo speaks at the 7 p.m. service. Habecker is president of Taylor University in Upland, Ill. He has written several books, including “Rediscovering the Soul of Leadership.” Sunday evening, Campolo speaks and also brings the staff choir from Camden’s Urban Promise. An informal song service, ranging from hymns to new praise and worship songs, precedes each service. Greg Field is song leader with Carolyn Lothian on the concert grand Steinway piano and Jeff Seals on the four-manual Allen organ. Paul Berges, drummer, joins on the upbeat tunes.

 

Pops present Opening Night with Debby Boone

The Ocean City Pops present Opening Night with Grammy award-winning artist Debby Boone 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 24 at the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Hear a program of nostalgic hits, topped with Reflections of Rosemary, a compilation of songs from Boone’s new CD – a tribute to her late mother-in-law, Rosemary Clooney – plus Billboard’s No. 1 1970s favorite, “You Light Up My Life.” The event is sponsored by CapeBank Charitable Foundation. Tickets are $30/$25 available at the Music Pier Box Office; see www.ocnj.us or call 525-9248.

 

Magical Mondays at Gillian’s to benefit CASA

Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City kicks off Magical Mondays on Monday, June 25 with $20 unlimited ride wristbands from 1-4 p.m. Half of the proceeds benefit CASA, a non-profit organization who recruits and trains community volunteers to be court advocates for children living in foster care. To purchase wristbands, contact Gillian’s Wonderland Pier at 399-7082 or call CASA at 601-7800 for more information.

 

July Jubilee

The July Jubilee begins 11 a.m. each day, Monday, June 25 through Friday, June 29, at the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. This is a fun-filled week of contests leading up to July 4, complete with taffy sculpting, treasure hunts and more. For more information, call 525-9300.

 

‘It Had to Be You’

The Ocean City Repertory Theater, 813 Asbury Ave., presents “It Had to Be You,” by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, a comedy play 8 p.m. Fridays, June 22 and 29 and Saturdays, June 23 and 30; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, June 24 and 31. It is Christmas Eve. Theda Blau (Jennifer Johnston), an out of work actress and aspiring playwright is loveless and jobless. But today, she decides to do something about it, when a producer/director Vito Pignoli (Yaron Urbas) comes into her life. Tickets are $15. For reservations call 457-6686 or see www.ocrep.org.

 


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