Almost a decade, ago entertainer Curt DiDomizio was singing, including some Elvis songs, while hosting karaoke when an elderly woman approached to tell him he sounded like "Neil Diamond doing Elvis," he said.
She requested he try singing a Diamond tune.
"And I'd never done a Neil Diamond song so I asked her, 'Well what do you want to hear?' and she said, "'September Morn,'" and I sang it and the place just went crazy and, thanks to her, Real Diamond was born," he said.
Real Diamond, featuring Curt DiDomizio as Neil Diamond will play June 7 and 8 at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.
Real Diamond, the 10-piece band with DiDomizio on lead vocals, which formed in 2008 and has toured the country to sold-out crowds, is coming to Altoona.
The Jewish Memorial Center, 1308 17th St., is presenting the "Real Diamond, A Tribute to Neil Diamond" concert at the Mishler June 7 and 8.
Cal Bragonier, the center's executive and athletic director, said the non profit center has hit financial hardship, enough to fear closure, and the concerts are an attempt to raise funds.
If you go
What: "Real Diamond, A Tribute to Neil Diamond"
Where: Mishler Theatre, Altoona
When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8
Tickets: $25, which includes a box office handling fee. Tickets are available at the Mishler box office or online at www.mishlertheatre.org.
The show is presented by the Jewish Memorial Center, and 100 percent of the proceeds will help keep the center open.
"I tried to look for a fundraiser and I had seen this group before and I knew how good they were and I thought if I brought them in that if we could sell the place out both nights, which so far
hasn't happened, that we could raise enough money to make sure that we stayed opened for quite awhile," he said last week.
The show is for a good cause, he said.
"It will be note for note. You can close your eyes and you will think you were hearing Neil Diamond sing," he said. "I think if people like Neil Diamond they will be happy they came and hope that he comes back again next year."
All of the proceeds raised go to the center, he said.
"It's a great show. It's very energetic. People are singing and I get many emails from people saying, 'Boy you brought back such memories,' and they've run out and bought Neil Diamond records because they didn't realize how much they loved his music and it really does, it really sparks that renewed feeling of how much people really loved his music," DiDomizio said. "It's going to be a great show."
The 10-piece band includes horn and piano, and the show covers four decades of Diamond's biggest hits, DiDomizio said.
"We cover some of his first songs, his older songs from the '60s, and then we hit into the '70s and late into the '80s, the Jazz Singer album," he said. "And we cover all of his biggest hits from love songs to 'Song Sung Blue' to 'Forever in Bluejeans' and 'Longfellow Serenade.' All the big hits."
DiDomizio's favorite Neil Diamond song to sing is, "I've Been This Way Before," he said.
"Incredible, incredible love song," he said. "Very powerful. That's my favorite."
DiDomizio, who has never met Diamond, but did get to meet his wife, Katie, said he knows Diamond's career extensively. He is working on a screenplay about Diamond, Elvis and drummer, Ron Tutt, who played for both singers, he said.
He considers Diamond "one of the greatest songwriters in America," he said. Diamond had longevity.
Diamond wrote songs such as "Red Red Wine," made popular by UB40 and "Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon," famously used in the movie "Pulp Fiction," he said.
"From gold albums to triple golds to platinum, he just always had a pulse on what people wanted to hear and what they loved," he said. "And God bless him 72 years old he's still touring. He's kind of like the Beatles. They just keep getting bigger and bigger. They don't go backward. They go forward."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.