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A 'Red-Letter'men Day

March 18, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

    It was 1977, the holiday season at the Holiday House in the Monroeville suburb, east of Pittsburgh, when Ann and Clyde Thomas went to see The Lettermen.

    "Maria" was the song being sung by the group, when one of the members put a microphone up to Clyde's mouth hoping for a few notes. They liked to go out into the crowd then, Ann noted.

    'Ladies and gentlemen, he's not a plant," the singer said of Clyde, whose "Lou-Rawls voice" belted out part of the song, Ann remembers.

    They invited him to come up on stage and sing with them. "He had a beautiful, baritone voice," Ann said.

    Then, in 1991, Clyde, who was a member of Wheeling City Council and on the civic center board, went to see The Lettermen in Wheeling, again.

    He took the photo that the Holiday House had taken and given to them back in 1977 with him to the concert, and had it autographed by The Lettermen's original founding member, Tony Butala.

    Did Clyde ever want a musical career?

    Well, Ann recalls, Clyde "had a dream back in college." He was part of a singing group at Ohio University, but when his football coach found out, he "informed Clyde that he was there to play football."

    Maybe it was good he stuck with football. He ended up in "Sports Illustrated" in 1960 when the OU Bobcats won the Mid-American Championship title.

    The Lettermen will be in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, March 19, at the Capitol Theatre, with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. Maybe they'll give a Ann a shot at the microphone this time.


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Blog Photos

Clyde Thomas with the Lettermen, 1977.