Sha Na Na celebrating the ‘60s and Christmas

In some of the most famous words of the 1960s, “Rock and Roll is here to stay.” The band Sha Na Na believe that’s still true.

The group will be celebrating rock and roll and Christmas at a set of concerts later this week at the Seneca Allegany Casino. Sha Na Na Rockin’ Christmas, according to band member Jocko Marcellino, is a combination of rock and roll with traditional Christmas music, and even an appearance by Santa.

“It’s really a combination of the rock and roll and doo wop we do all the time. We make you do the hop, we make you do the twist and all those great dances from the era. We sing songs from ‘Grease.’ We do ‘Sandy,’ which my piano player wrote. … Then the second half of the show is a Christmas celebration. We do the rock and roll Christmas songs. Then we have more traditional songs, which we will sing along with you all. It’s a nice holiday show, so you celebrate the rock and roll and doo wop and then we celebrate Christmas,” Marcellino said during a telephone interview with the OBSERVER.

Marcellino, who is originally from New England and now lives in the San Diego area, said he is excited to come back east. He said he enjoys coming back for the winter but is ready to go back to the West Coast. He said to come out here, he will be bring out the “heaviest coat” possible.

“I do like a little white Christmas while I’m there. I like visiting it for about a week then I’m spoiled out here having 70 degree weather all year round,” he said.

Sha Na Na has been performing for more than four decades. In the new year, they will celebrate their 45th anniversary as well as the 45th anniversary of Woodstock, one of their first performances. Sha Na Na also performed in the movie “Grease” and have six songs on the movie’s soundtrack.

Marcellino said it was such a privilege to have a career that has lasted so long. He was impressed by the impact the movie “Grease” still has in today’s pop culture.

“It’s an amazing thing about how much they celebrate this film. It just has the longest legs and we’re so privileged to have six songs on the soundtrack. … Grease is the word and rock and roll is here to stay. As long as that’s true, we can keep doing this,” Marcellino said.

The group will play five “action packed” shows during Dec. 4-8 at the casino. Marcellino said the concert is something several generations can enjoy, especially families. Younger concert goers will even sing along to the songs, Marcellino has noticed.

“Rock and roll and doo wop is what families share over three or four generations. These songs and the Christmas songs are everybody songs. We’ll celebrate together,” he said.

Marcellino said performing is still wonderful to do, even after all these years. All the concerts, he said, will leave audience members dancing and singing in the aisles.

“Be there or be square. Come and help us celebrate rock and roll and Christmas,” said Marcellino. “We leave them dancing and singing in the aisles. It’s a good time.”

For more information on the band, visit www.shanana.com where their two recent albums are available for purchase. For tickets to the concert, visit senecaalleganycasino.com.

Comments on this article may be sent to smcdonnell@observertoday.com