Published Thursday, April 17, 2008 | 3:02 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 | 4:24 p.m.
If You Go
What: Fundraising concert for Norman Kaye
When: Noon Sunday
*Where: Orleans Showroom
Tickets: $20 minimum donation; 365-7075
Nelson Sardelli (host)
Rick Vittallo Jr
Gary Olds Trio
Loretta St. John
Paul Xavier Campanella
Jerry Lopez & Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns
The Las Vegas Tenors
The Las Vegas Players
***list is tentative***
When the call went out for help for ailing lounge legend Norman Kaye, the response was fast and widespread.
Dozens of vintage Vegas performers reacted, offering their assistance to raise funds for the 85-year-old former performer and real estate agent. One of the first to answer the call was entertainer Nelson Sardelli, who arrived in Las Vegas in 1965.
“Norman was one of the first men my manager introduced me to,” Sardelli said. “He was also my best man. My wife has never forgiven him for that. We go back way back. He’s an icon, a pioneer, one of the first lounge acts here in Las Vegas.”
Kaye hit town with the Mary Kaye Trio several years before Louis Prima and his troupe arrived at the Sahara in 1954.
Sardelli began organizing a fundraising effort and more than 40 entertainers volunteered their services for a concert to be held Sunday at The Orleans.
The casino, owned by Boyd Gaming, is providing the showroom, paying for the technicians and printing the tickets. “That’s worth, conservatively, about $10,000,” Sardelli said.
The entertainment fans will see is priceless. The long list includes
Sardelli (host), Clint Holmes, Charlie Callas, Sammy Shore, Pete Barbutti, Peter Anthony, Artie Schroeck, Linda November, Jerry Lopez & Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, Dennis Bono and Lorraine Hunt-Bono. The concert could last three hours or so.
“It has turned into a really big show,” Sardelli said. “We structuring it as
much as we can. We shall be organized chaos at its best.”
The theater holds more than 700 people.
“General seating will be 20 bucks,” Sardelli said, “but if the heart dictates, put some money in the jug.”
Kaye, poet laureate emeritus of Nevada, is recovering from a stroke. He is in a rehab center but his medical benefits have run out, Sardelli said, and he is in danger of being evicted if he can’t pay the $128 per day. Money is needed to pay the daily rate until Medicaid or some other source of assistance can be enlisted.
Kaye’s wife, Barbara, says her husband had a stroke almost four years ago and recently began suffering from delayed effects.
“When he had the original stroke it affected his left side some, but didn’t seem to have many permanent side effects,” she said.
But he began to deteriorate earlier this year. He fell down the stairs at his home on Feb. 1 and had to be rushed to the Mountain View Hospital, where doctors discovered his kidneys were shutting down.
After everything could be done for him in the hospital he was placed in a rehabilitation center.
“Norman used to have lot of money and property in Vegas,” said Barbara, his wife of almost three years. “He has lost every dime and every piece of property.”
She says the couple has been living on Social Security.
“There have been small improvements, but I can’t say when he will get out,”she said.
However, she plans on taking him to the benefit.
Jerry Fink can be reached at 259-4058 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.