Jazz Singer Fondly Recalls Growing Up in Winthrop

Thursday, October 27, 2011
By Cary Shuman

Jane Campedelli may be living in Jacksonville but her heart will always be in Winthrop.

“I went to Winthrop High School and graduated in 1964,” said Campedelli.

Just after her graduation, she started singing with jazz groups at well-known clubs throughout the Boston area and on jazz cruises.

Campedelli, whose mother Lorraine Gifford Campedelli taught her how to sing, first began performing in Winthrop with some of her high school classmates in a Do Wop group called the Meridians. “We used to do record hops and school dances,” said Campedelli. “From there I started singing with the Larry Cooper Orchestra, the Heritage Jazz Band, and the East Bay City Jazz Band.”

The talented vocalist is back in her home area and will be performing this Sunday, from 3 to 7 p.m., at the Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown.

“This event is something I sort of started myself,” said Campedelli. “I wanted to bring some of the musicians that used to play at the Sticky Wicket in Hopkinton. They all play with different bands but not together, so this is the essence of this jazz reunion. It’s bringing some of the musicians that I sang with in the Boston area together.

Campedelli worked at American Airlines at Logan Airport and transferred to a supervisory position with the airlines in Jacksonville in 1986.

She continued singing jazz at performances on the East Coast and in the Sunshine State.

“Mainly in Florida I was affiliated with the Sweet Adeline’s choral group and sang in an international medalist quarter, La Fiesta,” said Campedelli. “We traveled extensively to Asia and Australia and did a lot of shows.”

Campedelli has since retired from American Airlines and now plays keyboard and sings for the assisted living community in Jacksonville. She also performs at Dixieland jazz festivals in New England.

Her love of song began with her mother inspiring her to appreciate music. “My mother worked at Brothers Restaurant and Claire’s Restaurant in the Center and at Swett’s Bakery for many years,” said Campedelli. “She was pretty well known around town.” (Her mother passed away in 1987).

What are her memories of growing up in Winthrop?

“I remember the people and the close community we had and being able to walk from one place to another and say hello to people,” said Campedelli. “We always used to be down at the Wall [Winthrop Beach] and we’d be singing. I have wonderful memories of neighbors and friends. I always go back thinking about my hometown because it’s not like that in Jacksonville. There are 17 high schools in Jacksonville.”

Campedelli said she’s looking forward to seeing some of her former junior high and high school classmates including Angela Caruccio, Francine D’Anna, Louise Warwick, and Jeannie Spinazzola.

“Those are my lifelong high school buddies and friends so I’ll get to see them and that’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Campedelli. “And Nonny Hayes is part of my extended family. Nonny and my mother were very friendly and worked at Swett’s Bakery together.”

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