For the past four years, Val Peters has sung the praises of his hero and inspiration, the late, great Frank Sinatra. Literally.
Though Sinatra often referred to himself as "a saloon singer," he was much more. The skinny kid from Hoboken, N.J. grew up to become the voice of a generation and one of the great popular song stylists of all time.
Since January 2003, Peters has been performing a 90-minute tribute, Sinatra, An American Icon at venues from Syracuse to Saratoga and even down in sunny Florida.
Forty years ago, Val Peters worked as a big band singer with a Utica orchestra led by his cousin, Sal Alberico. Though blessed with a natural singing voice, he gave up the insecurities of show business to marry and raise a family.
Peters, who lives off Caughdenoy Road in Clay, worked in sales, manufacturing and marketing for four decades, but after his daughter Michelle asked him to sing at her backyard wedding reception in Liverpool two years ago, the show biz bug bit him again. Now Peters earns standing ovations for his all-Sinatra program.
Peters, 62, performs Sinatra, An American Icon, at The Mohegan Manor, 58 Oswego St., in Baldwinsville, on Friday and Saturday March 23 and 24. Cocktails and free appetizers will be served from 6 to 8:30 p.m. followed by the 9 p.m. performance. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $20 at the door or $150 for a table of 10; 857-0079.
The recently redesigned show gets a jump-start from a supercharged medley of tunes including "Fly Me to the Moon," "Luck Be a Lady" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
While Sinatra was raised on the mean streets of Hoboken, Peters grew up in Utica's Little Italy.
And so I was always fascinated by Frank Sinatra, he remembers.