• The Contels  (Albion, PA)

    Personnel :

    Gene Vito "Lyon" (Lead Singer)

    George A. Nopio, Jr.(Tenor)

    Loren "Bugsy" Cope (Bass)

    Anthony "Tony" Mezzacapo (Second Tenor)

    Michael K.  D'Amico (Guitar)

    Gary Miller (Drums)

    Discography :

    1959 - Hey You / Lover's Dream (Warwick 103)

    Biography :

    After attending a performance given by the "The Four Coins"  Loren "Bugsy" Cope and George A. Nopio, Jr. decided to start their own group. Loren knew a younger singer and asked him to join the group. His name was Gene Lyon. He became their lead singer. They then added Michael K. D'Amico a guitar player. They were practicing when a gentleman by the name of Donald Hubert approached Nopio's parents and asked if he could manage the group . They were on their way. Doing hay rides and record Hops. their manager talked them into entering a talent show in Cleveland, Ohio. they were called "The Contenials". they took first place. They returned back to Erie and still felt their group needed another voice and while performing at the Tech Follies they met a man then doing comedy and asked him to join The Contenials. His name was Anthony "Tony" Mezzacapo and he provided the group with the sound and the harmony they were looking for.

    The Contels     
                                Gene Vito                                                                       The Contenials  (Gene,George and Bugsy) 

    They then had to return to Cleveland, Ohio Talent Contest as finalists. they piled into their managers vehicle and off they went. they took first place and received a recording contract. As they were leaving they received a call that a gentleman wished to see them so they went to his home. He told them that they could not call themselves "The Contenials" because he had a successful group in Florida that had that name. So they worked all the way home trying every form of the name and came up with the "THE CONTELS". The next day George called Cliff Shilling of the local radio station, WICU told him to please announce "The Contenials" were now "The Contels".

                                                                                                                                               Gene Vito

    The Contels recorded  on Warwick Label. They wrote their own songs "Hey You" and "Lovers Dream". Which Cliff played often on his show, as well as, booked them into the "Let's Be Friends Show" on TV and Sock Hops. Along the way they met a drummer named Gary Miller and added him to the group. The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra came to town and they toured Erie with them. On Saturday of that week they played Rainbow Gardens and while they pushed their record, they pushed ours. they returned to Rainbow Gardens to do a show with "The Five Jets" and "The Monotones". Then off to the Warner Theater to do a Rock Show with Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, "The Monotones", and Bobby Freeman.Their record was being heard and they were busy when they received word that their lead singer Gene would be moving to Kane, Pennsylvania and because he was only 13 years old, he had to go with his parents. If that wasn't bad enough, Tony was drafted and went to serve his country. they parted friends and all went our separate ways. 

    Songs :

    Hey You                                  Lover's Dream




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