Saturday, January 7, 2017

HISTORY OF SYRACUSE MUSIC "OFFICIAL SITE" - CHAPTER 178- SYRACUSE VOCALIST DON FORBES BECOMES THE 18TH SINGING RINGMASTER FOR RINGLING BROTHERS & BARNUM BAILEY CIRCUS IN 1958. Also with Tommy Dorsey & Les Elgart Orchestras

Another in a long line of great Syracuse vocalist is Don Forbes.  Forbes a Syracuse native was born on December 4, 1929 and educated attending Central High School. He was the stepson of famed jazz singer and bandleader Johnny Kamels  John Camerota). Don Started his singing career at age 15 and became one of the areas top commercial vocalist. He would continue his education studing voice at Syracuse University.

Don fronted his his-fathers band for parts of three years (1946-48) playing weekly at Lugi's Club Flamingo and Club Rendezous before great a big break joining the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1952. That led Don to become narrator in the Hollywood motion picture "The Sea Around Us".

He returned to Syracuse to sing lead with his father's band the Johnny Kamels and Kamels Caravan in 1954. A year later was performing with the Johnny Francher Band. In late 1954, at age 24 he was spotted by famed bandleader Les Elgart while performing at the Hotel Syracuse. December 1954 he joined the Les Elgart Orchestra as featured vocalist.

This led Don into the recording world appearing as lead vocalist on the Elgart Bands Columbia Records albums- "For Dancers Only", "The Elgart Touch:, "More or Less", "The Happy Fella" and the 45 rpm single "Ever Since You Went Away" b/w Night Train" released January 14, 1955. The Elgart Band with Don Forbes also performed at the Hollywood Palladium (Feb 1955), the Statler Hotel in New York and back in Syracuse at the War Memorial on October 12, 1956. This event was sponsored by the Syracuse Fire Department.

Don was heard playing such Syracuse area clubs as- Lugi's, White Elephant (Canastota) , 3 Rivers Inn, Flamingo Club and Andre's Tic Toc Club,

He then became the 18th singing ringmaster for the world famous Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circus during there 1958 season. Ringling Brothers released a circus music album on Cricket Record in June 1959 with Don Forbes singing four songs (Children of All Ages, Encore, The Drums Majorette and My Heart Beats in Time To Your Music).

Don also recorded a number of 45 rpm singles for other labels including "My First Emotion" for Syracuse's Premiere Records (1959), followed by "Four Walls, No Love" on Neptune Label (1960) and "Will You Be My Only Love" for York Records (1960). He would entertain fans across the USA and in Puerto Rico playing such popular night spots as the Copacabana in New York City and the Playboy Club in Chicago (1962), During his early career Don Forbes also recorded for London and Muzico Record labels.

Forbes returned to CNY for ten days in late September 1963 showcasing his vocal talent with national recording artist Brenda Lee at Three Rivers Inn. With family still in the area Don returned again on January 19, 1966 to appear on WSYR's  Denny Sullivan Gang television program.

Don Forbes was married to Syracusan Vivian Falkawitz. Then residing in Bradenton, Florida Don Forbes passes away on March 3, 2010 at age 80.

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