Tony Orlando
The Eisenhower Center
By Lydia Lowe
(photo by James Lowe)
     Yes, Tony Orlando, minus Dawn, performed of all places at The Eisenhower Center in Abilene Kansas this past Saturday. And he hasn’t lost one bit of his sex appeal or musical talent.
     Tony was in Abilene to celebrate Eisenhower’s 124th birthday.  Ironically, he also sits on the board of directors for The Eisenhower Center.  Joining him in Abilene along with other board members was Eisenhower’s youngest granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower.  There were festivities all day long and Mary Jean served as the master of ceremonies for the day.  She introduced Tony, whom she has worked with and known for over 16 years.
     The Eisenhower Center was all decked out in flags and many of the trees were sporting yellow ribbons, of course, because of Tony’s song, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree”.  Before Tony took to the makeshift stage which were the steps of the Eisenhower Library, Mary and Tony presented awards to three navel officers who had distinguished themselves from their peers on board The USS Eisenhower.  It was very moving. Later on, during Tony’s set, he also recognized those in the audience who had served any branch of the service from WWII to Afghanistan, making sure to recognize those who had served in Vietnam.   
     Tony sang all his hits, he said there were really only five #1’s.  And he sang all of those and spent time also keeping the crowd entertained with stories about his life, his music career, and his family.  He also spoke about visiting returning troops in the hospital.  The songs he sang were: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree, Candida, Knock Three Times, He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You), and Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose. During a couple of his songs he pulled two women from the audience and brought them up on the steps with him to sing a couple of his songs due to the fact that they knew all the lyrics.
     After the concert, Tony spent time with the audience signing everything they’d brought with them, including yellow ribbons that fans had taken off the tree’s on the grounds.  He took pictures and chatted with every person individually.  This guy is a class act all the way.