Gino Silvi

Gino Silvi. Arranger, choir conductor, singer, saxophonist, clarinetist, b Sault Ste Marie, Ont, of Italian parents, 23 May 1914; d Toronto, 1 July 1993.

Silvi, Gino

Gino Silvi. Arranger, choir conductor, singer, saxophonist, clarinetist, b Sault Ste Marie, Ont, of Italian parents, 23 May 1914; d Toronto, 1 July 1993. He started his career in the late 1930s as a saxophonist and clarinetist, playing with Hamilton, Ont, and Toronto dance bands (eg, Morgan Thomas, Art Hallman) and in CBC orchestras under Howard Cable, Samuel Hersenhoren, and others. He began singing in 1949 with the Bill Brady Sextet on Toronto radio station CKEY, and soon took the vocal ensemble for his own. Silvi's groups of six or more singers recorded many jingles and were heard on such CBC radio shows as 'Trans-Canada Hit Parade,' 'Gino and Juliette' (summer 1954) and 'Dream Street' (summers 1955-9).

One such group, The Gino Silvi Singers, was formed in 1958 for CBC TV's 'Juliette' as an octet, the men (Alex Ticknovich, Rick Stainsby, Vern Kennedy, John Garden) identified on camera as the Romeos, and the women (Angela Antonelli, Fran Groat, Sylvia Wilson, Carol Hill) as the Four Mice. Augmented at times to as many as 30, the Singers also performed in the early 1960s on 'Sing, Sing, Sing,' an occasional program in the CBC TV series 'Parade,' and on 'The Wayne and Shuster Show'.

Under Silvi's direction the Romeos made the LP Rendezvous with the Romeos (Col FL-291) and in 1963 a group known as the Silvi Girls recorded for the CTL (CTLS-5023). Other singers to work with Silvi included Babs Babineau, Laurie Bower, Jack Duffy, Cleone Duncan, Bernard Johnson, Gordon Lightfoot, Margo MacKinnon, Margaret Stilwell, Billy Vancouver, and Freda Wright. Leaving radio work in 1965, Silvi taught instrumental music in Toronto schools until 1987.