Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 22, 2013

Rock with 'The Diamonds'

Hit group from 1960s will take you down memory lane Saturday.

By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Legendary hit-makers take the stage for a night of class rock and roll Saturday night at the Kokomo High School auditorium.

Kokomo Community Concerts presents its third show of the year – “The Diamonds.”

The original quartet rose to prominence in the 1950s and early 1960s with 16 Billboard hits including “The Stroll” and the hit “Little Darlin’,” which has sold about 20 million copies to date.

Mary Rusch, publicist for Kokomo Community Concerts, said that song has since been dubbed the national anthem of rock ‘n’ roll.

The newest quartet members, playing saxophone and trombone, backed by piano and drums, continue to expand their audience by performing in a variety of venues in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. In addition to their 33 appearances on American Bandstand, “The Diamonds” been awarded three gold records and have earned inductions into the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Rusch said it’s a show that the whole family is sure to enjoy even though it’s music from a bygone era.

“This group has staying power,” she said. “They have fun. They do a lot of clownin’ around on stage.”

This is Kokomo Community Concerts’ 57th season. For five decades, the organization has been trying to bring world-class entertainment to Kokomo. Rusch said the goal is to introduce people here to live music.

The group books entertainers from a variety of genres, including pop, classical, jazz and of course, rock and roll.

“The Diamonds” member Gary Owens said there’s something about this classic rock music that draws people in.

He said the group played for 1,000 people in Virginia Wednesday night.

“It’s mainly about the memories,” he said. “It takes them back to a happier time when they were teenagers and things were much simpler.”

For the most part, he said, it’s happy music. And the band tries to put on an entertaining show.

Decades ago, the group knew how important it was to entertain the audience. As the British Invasion came in, rock and roll slowed down.

“The Diamonds” stayed relevant by creating an entertaining show that includes four-part harmonies and even a little comedy, Owens said.

The group plays some of its own music and other popular songs from that era.

“It’s kind of a musical review of the 1960s,” Owens said.

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com