From Scars to Stars'
George Tortortelli leads a life of vigor and verve.
In the 1950s, he was a professional boxer trained by the renowned Ralph DeJohn. In the early-60s, George quit the fight game in favor of working as a professional musician, although he continued teaching the sport and boxing in exhibitions for many years.
To document his dual pursuits, Tortorelli's writing a book aptly titled From Scars to Stars: From the Ring to the Stage.
He excelled at both punching and playing.
As a prizefighter, Tortorelli compiled an impressive record of 48 wins and 4 losses, good enough to become 1958's Central and Western N.Y. Golden Gloves Middleweight Champ.
And as a bandleader -- using the stage name George Orelli -- he worked at all of Central New York's top nightclubs, from Andre's Tic Toc Club to Lorenzo's to Three Rivers Inn where he often accompanied stars such as Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante and Connie Francis.
The 78-year-old former Syracusan who has lived in Miami, Fla., for four decades, returns to his old stomping grounds from 8 p.m. to midnight this Friday, June 11, for a dinner-dance and show at the Ramada Inn, 1305 Buckley Road; $20 includes 7 p.m. dinner; 299-8716. The reunion will feature the Tommy Rozzano Band, vocalists Danielle Rausa, Nick Mulpagano and Tom Tortorelli, a dance contest featuring Arthur Murray champions Josh and Heather, and Orelli will act as master of ceremonies.
"It's going to be a tribute to yesterday's nightclub and supper club owners," Orelli said. "It'll be a throwback to the kind of entertainment that we don't have now."
For several years in the early-60s, Orelli and his lovely wife, Rosalinda, entertained right here in Liverpool at Three Saints, run by George Schreiner at 105 First St.
They were featured there nightly with combo including Ted Losito, Howard Dunning, Ed Goodness and Pete Buttaro.