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Big Band Tunes Serenade Downtown White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Rino Di Fabio, 75, of White Plains, spends so little time in downtown White Plains that he only knows a few avenues by name. However, Di Fabio knows exactly where to find the free Dancing Under the Stars concerts the city has sponsored in Renaissance Plaza for the past eight summers.

"Music from the '40s, '50s, and '60s appeals to me a lot, that kind of music is the real thing," said Di Fabio, while attending the 1940s-themed concert this Wednesday. "I love big band music. That music is gone forever. I guess everyone knows that but me. Well, it won't be dead as long as I live."

Di Fabio, who moved to White Plains from Italy in 1986, joined about 80 others in Renaissance Plaza for the opening concert in White Plains' free Wednesday concert series. Hal Prince Music and Big Band Sounds played classics, including "Rock Around the Clock," "Besame Mucho," and "Fly Me to the Moon," for the crowd at Renaissance Plaza. Applause, snaps, and cheering harmonized with the tunes. However, attendees were reluctant to dance. When a couple joined the toddler dancing near Mamaroneck Avenue, a musician yelled "couple number one" in support.

Di Fabio, who used to play the accordion and guitar in New York City before his arthritis set in, asked a few other attendees to dance in vain. Though, he said he was content listening as well.

"What they play these days is 'eeh,'" said Di Fabio, who now sings with Betty Listedrio's piano accompaniment at the Stony Hill Inn in New Jersey. "I like the Big Bands like Duke Ellington and Ray Anthony."

Dancing Under the Stars attracted other musicians like drummer Richard Sinkin who stayed in White Plains after his shift at the Burke Rehabilitation Center .

"I love it when they do this," said Sinkin, 49, of Mount Vernon, who came to the concert with his wife. "I don't live here but we decided to take a later bus home ... we came out to enjoy some music and I'm definitely going to come back for all of them."

After a preview of the 1940s this Wednesday, the Dancing Under the Stars series will feature music from the next decade every Wednesday through August 10. All concerts are hosted at Renaissance Plaza from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Who has the best music in White Plains? What kind of music do you like and where do you go to enjoy it? Have you ever attended the Dancing Under the Stars concerts? Email your thoughts to and we'll feature your responses in later coverage.

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