2017 Billy & The Barons
Joe Spereno was the initial inductee into the reestablished Oswego Music Hall of Fame.
Joe and best friend, Sam Domicolo realized their love for music instantly. This love for music created a bond of friendship that lasted over sixty years. Joe and Sam went on to play in the “Satellites” group. Joe sang and played sax at that time.
He also played with other local groups, the “Thunderbirds” and others during the 1950s and 1960s.
Joe's education was extensive. After graduating from Oswego High School in 1964, he earned a Bachelor's Degree from Fredonia State and a Master’s Degree from Albany State. After serving in administration at Oswego State, he then became the, Activities Director at Oswego State. Next, his career took him to, Brockport State as the Entertainment Director.
Eventually, Joe became part of the music industry, moving to NYC. He worked as an agent with Phillip Morris. Joe, moved permanently to Los Angeles, and represented talents such as Isaac Hayes, Tom Petty, Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane, Ozzy Osborne, Gladys Knight and the Pips, ELO, Chuck Mangione, Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Liberace, etc…
In recent years, Joe loved to volunteer at such functions as Dream Halloween, for children affected by AIDS, and he also dedicated his time to Special Olympics the Marina Del Rey Boat Parade.
Joe was a philanthropist and he loved his home town of Oswego; hence the birth of the, "Oswego Music Hall of Fame, Inc.", and "Keep The Music Playing" program. Joe would have been very proud to raise money for local youths interested in music. Joe will be forever missed, but, the Oswego Music Hall of Fame, Inc. will endeavor to keep his love for music alive, in our area children, giving us all the opportunity to, "Keep the music playing", while recognizing our wonderful local musicians, and allowing us to dance to, and sing their songs forever. The goal of enabling our youths to realize their love for music, and to hopefully, one day be giving this prestigious award out to some of the very school children we helped along the way.
Joe moved from the Oswego in the 1960’s, however, he never lost his love for family, his life long friends and home. He visited frequently to be with family and friends, as that's where his heart was. His untimely death, May 11, 2015 has left an empty spot in the heart of everyone that knew him. He will be forever missed.
The OMHF honors many special musicians, who have kept Oswego dancing, singing, and smiling for years. These musicians are presented the “Entertainment Award" in their musical genre. We have reserved one prestigious award in honor of Joe Spereno, the “Joseph P. Spereno Hall of Fame Award”.
Bio coming soon.
Vinyl "Copenhagen", written by Charlie Davis
John Richard “Dick” Workman, 93, a resident of Oswego, passed away on Thursday April 9, 2015. Born in 1927 in Oswego, he was the youngest of three sons of the late Walter and Vina (Muskell) Workman, who ran a second-generation family flower shop at 87 West Bridge Street.
Dick was a member of Beta Mu Gamma men’s glee club chorus in high school, but was also a very talented artist and cartoonist. Encouraged by numerous mentors, after graduating from high school in 1938 he enrolled at Syracuse University as an art major, but ended up getting vocal training and ultimately graduating from Crouse Music College.
Dick performed on the radio in Syracuse for a brief period, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following basic training, he was allowed to come home on Christmas leave but before he could alert his family that he was back in the area, he was invited to sing White Christmas over WFBL radio in Syracuse – that’s how his mother found out he was home for the holidays.
That same Christmas, Dick married his junior high school sweetheart, Rachel Turkington, and then Dick returned to the Army to be deployed to the South Pacific, where he saw combat in New Guinea.
After the war, Dick was hired as a full time vocalist with the Jim Deline Gang, a program that was born at radio station WFBL in Syracuse in the 1940s. In 1949 Deline and the Gang moved to WSYR and, by 1951, the Gang was performing three shows a day out of WSYR’s new studio located at 1050 James Street: a 9:15 AM morning radio show, followed by a noon time television show, and then another radio show at 1PM. Dick and Rachel always resided in Oswego, and Dick commuted to Syracuse daily.
The Jim Deline orchestra consisted of prominent local musicians Sox Tiffault, Jimmy Hogan, Carl Mano, Myron LeVee, Claude Bortel, Herb Fetrinelli, Sid Wilcox, Kenny Drum, Randy Miller (later Norm Coleman) plus many others through the years.. The band was a direct copy of Ted Heath's Swingin' Dance Band of the 30's & 40's. Vocalists appearing with the band included Dick Workman, June Gardner, Fran Walsh, Gayle Huber, Patti Hammond, Charlotte Hale, and Eileen Wainer along with the locally renowned Bigtree Sisters (Norma, Jean and Sandy).
During his singing years, Dick had an opportunity to meet quite a few national celebrities of the era (too numerous to mention), and was asked to perform at various CNY community events. At one time, Dick appeared as a contestant on the nationally syndicated Arthur Godfrey Show in New York City, and another time, he and the Deline Gang performed with the Grand Old Opry.
Dick Workman retired from the Deline Gang in 1955, returning to Oswego to take over the operation of Workman’s Flower Shop after his parents retired. He was the third generation proprietor of the flower shop, and continued that role until he, too, retired.
Joseph (Joe) Spereno, was born on January 17, 1921, the only son of Catalina and James Sperino (aka Vincenzio Sparandeo) . He graduated from Oswego High School in June of 1941, where he was well known for his singing and dancing talents. Joe's great love for his country, prompted him to immediately joined the, United States Air Force after high school.
It was during his stint in the Air Force, that Joe's singing abilities were discovered. Joe was quickly recruited by the, "Special Services Division", of the United States Air Force, (a very distinguished honor). While serving with the Special Services Division, Joe played and sang with such entertainers as, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, to name a few.
Joe never talked about the days he played and sang with these famous entertainers, he was very humble about that. Joe's family never knew this, until 1969, while visiting an old, "Air Force buddy", Sully. While both families sat at the table eating dinner, Sully, started reminiscing about the fun they had back in the days of the service. He talked about playing and singing for all those famous celebrities. Joe instantly told, Sully that he's never told his children anything about that part of his life, so the list is short, but it would have been much longer, had Sully not been stopped.
Joe’s voice can be heard on two vinyl 78 records. I'll Never Let a Day Pass By (From "Kiss The Boys Goodbye"") lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Writer(s): Frank Loesser, Victor Schertzinger and Time Was.
On June 16th, 1945, right out of the service, Joe married his long time sweetheart and love of his life, Mary Margaret Raby. Joe and Marg were swimming at flat rock, 5 years earlier, and he tried to kiss Marg, and told her that he was going to marry her one day! He was a true man of his word, they lived happily for almost 50 years, until, Joe's passing.
In later years, Joe was best known as a local tailor, and the proprietor of "Spereno's Tailor Shop". In the early 1950's, Joe bought the tailor shop from, Jake Kosoff, and ran that shop until the building of the new Bridge Street bridge, it was located at the very end of the bridge, next to the, WOSC Radio station building. "The Shop" was a well known meeting place to many local Oswegonians, many people would go there daily for coffee and all the local chatter.
Joe's love for music has carried on through his children, and grandchildren, he taught them all how to love music.
Joe was a wonderful father, grandfather, and friend to many in the Oswego Community. His smile and laughter will long be remembered by many.
*Below pictured is the key that was presented to Joseph Spereno at the 1990 Harborfest ceremony by then Mayor, John T. Sullivan Jr.
*Shared below are two audio vinyl recordings of Joseph Spereno on vocals.
Please excuse sound quality from vinyl to digital.
*Time Was: Vocals by: Joseph Spereno
*I'll Never Let A Day Pass By: Vocals by Joseph Spereno
Bio coming soon
Bio and photo coming soon