Denise's Memories

by Denise Ferri

The year is 1952. I moved from Newark to Belleville. It was like moving to Mayberry. I started second grade at School Number Eight and moved into the house three doors away. My teacher was Elsie Sandford. It was then that I met my first best friend in life Peggy Santiglia. Then in 1954 was when I met my other best friend Arleen Lanzotti. The three of us became very close. By the time we were in the fifth grade my favorite teacher Mrs. Eleanor W. Arthur decided to have a Friday talent show, and knowing the three of us were friends, put us together to sing for the show. We realized how much we loved to sing and harmonize together and decided that is exactly what we wanted to do with our lives. Thank you so much, Mrs. Arthur!

My dear father loved what he heard when we sang and wrote songs together. So without our knowledge, he wrote a letter to Ted Mack, who was host of the famous Amateur Hour which aired on TV in the 50s. A talent scout heard our audition, and soon we became a New York Brill Building girl group.

We were very blessed as early on we were introduced to and worked with some of the giants in the music business. One man, for example, was Don Costa, the "Puccini of pop." As I look back I realize what an honor it was to have a man of his caliber arrange the songs that we wrote. Other notables were Murray the K, Clay Cole, and Teddy Randazzo to name a few. We became Murray the Ks Dancing Girls, we were the originals, and at the age of 14 were asked by Murray himself to write and record some of his famous theme songs. Wow!, that was really something for kids our age. The Submarine Race Watchers Theme played hundreds of times on his legendary 1010 WINS Swingin' Soiree radio show, as was our signature song for Murray entitled "Meusurray."

I remember running home everyday from school to watch American Bandstand. Then, on March 8,1960, we were guest stars on the show. Then we went on to do shows like Connecticut Bandstand, Buddy Deane Show The Clay Cole Show and huge stage shows like the Brooklyn Fox and Brooklyn Paramount. we were living our dream and we were only in the first year of High School.

I treasure my memories with the Delicates and treasure my friendship with Peggy and Arleen that is still strong today. 61 years and counting.

We were so grateful that we had parents who loved and supported us. They encouraged us but never pushed us. The three of us would rather be together writing and singing than going on dates.

I would like to close this by expressing my special thanks and love to my Dad for writing that letter. Also, without him and his Polaroid camera, we would not have one single photo. And thanks and love to my Mom for chaperoning us and encouraging me and keeping a wonderful journal that included everything that we did in the business. I love you and I miss the two of you so much.

With love, Denise XO