SPRING HILL — This past week, Tommy Mara drove to South Florida to visit his old friend Johnny Maestro.
It seems that Maestro, the original lead singer of the iconic 1950s doo-wop group the Crests and the one who recommended that Mara assume the same role in a re-formed version of the band, has been under the weather lately.
Mara, a Spring Hill resident who performs with the Legends of Doo-Wop, says time hasn't been kind to the original purveyors of doo-wop, many of whom are well into their 70s.
"Every couple of months, you hear about another one gone," Mara said. "It's a shame because the music is as popular as it's ever been, and they're not here to enjoy that."
At 54, Mara is practically a baby to the pop genre launched on the street corners and in the subways of New York during the early 1950s. But as lead singer with the Legends of Doo-Wop, he is still able to perform the music he has loved since his youth.
"Yeah, I like hanging out with these old guys," Mara, born Tommy Marasciullo, said with a laugh. "They're my heroes."
With the Legends of Doo-Wop, which includes Tony (Passa) Passalaqua of the Fascinators, Frank Mancuso of the Imagination, and Steve Horn of the Five Sharks, Mara has an opportunity to cover a lot of musical ground, performing such gems as Chapel Bells, Cara Mia, 16 Candles, Stormy Weather and Guardian Angel.
The vocal group, which will perform Saturday night at the Lake House in Spring Hill, is one of the most potent oldies acts working today. "It's unbelievable," Mara said. "We did two shows in Ocala that drew 800 people each. We probably could have sold out another one."
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.