Mingo to honor Rob Parissi on Sunday

MINGO JUNCTION – An event to honor Rob Parissi has been in the works for five years.

A dinner honoring Parissi, who formed the group Wild Cherry and wrote “Play That Funky Music,” is at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mingo Junction Knights of Columbus as part of the Mingo Junction Community Days.

Francesca Carinci, who is part of the planning committee, said the event never really came together until April, when the Mingo Business Association began making plans.

Bob Pizzoferrato, who played in Wild Cherry, contacted Parissi about the dinner honoring him.

Carinci, who legally represents Parissi in Ohio, said she also contacted Parissi about the event.

The dinner will include Parissi establishing a scholarship for Indian Creek High School students.

The keynote speaker will be Terry Stewart, who served as president and chief operating officer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from 1999 through 2012.

Wild Cherry has a display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jim Freiling of the Mingo Business Association said Stewart agreeing to be the main speaker shows the respect that Parissi has in the music industry.

Resolutions from surrounding communities, the Jefferson County commissioners and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be presented to Parissi for his musical achievement.

“Today, we join the Mingo Business Association in recognizing your impact on popular music over the years. It is a wonderful thing to see your community rally behind you with pride for your talent and what you have accomplished, and it is my hope that you will continue to be a positive influence in the lives of your many admirers. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, you have solidified a place for your music in history, and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future,” the resolution from Kasich reads.

The Mingo Junction Community Days will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday with train and pony rides for kids and food and drinks. The band All Ends Well will play at 6 p.m., followed by Never Wake at 8 p.m., and Double Take will close the evening.

There will be a parade at 1 p.m. on Saturday featuring the Indian Creek High School Band. The Mingo Junction Women’s Club will hold a Little Princess Aracoma and Little Chief Logan pageant following the parade. Entertainment on Saturday will begin at 5 p.m. with Hank Vincent and Stonestreet Station, followed by Spinng Jenny at 7 p.m., US Kids at 9 p.m. and then Parissi will take the stage around 10 p.m.

Parissi will be accompanied by the Indian Creek High School Band in performing “Play That Funky Music.” US Kids will be the backup band and Spinning Jenny will provide vocals when Parissi performs songs from his latest jazz album, “The Real Deal.” A song on the album, “Right Beside You,” has made it onto the charts.

Copies of the CD will be distributed free throughout the Mingo Junction Community Days.

Carinci said it will be an “amazing experience” for the Indian Creek band to play with Parissi.

She noted said a national recording label is interested in Parissi’s latest album.

“He doesn’t play that much live music. He said he is past that. This will be a rare live performance to showcase the whole event,” Carinci said.

She said Parissi wanted to get all local people involved on stage, adding that musicians from all over the country were willing to help with the performance.

Freiling, in reference to Spinning Jenny, said, “The next generation of Mingo talent will be backing him on vocals.”

Carinci said she first met Parissi when she was 19 years old and waitressing at the former Aquanaut club.

“Sam Abdalla (the club owner) was yelling at me and Rob jumped off the stage, still holding his guitar, and told Sam to quit yelling at me,” she said.

Carinci said Parissi has never forgotten his roots in the Upper Ohio Valley.

“He still has his heart very much in the Ohio Valley. He still considers this home. He still considers himself an Ohio Valley boy. He has great affection for his town,” she said.

Tickets for the Parissi dinner can be purchased through Freiling at (740) 317-1963 or jfreiling@comcast.net or by calling Carinci’s law office at (740) 284-8008.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)