Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — OLCOTT — Call it a happy coincidence.
Graduates of Newfane High School planned a one-time all-class reunion for mid-July and members of King Harvest hoped to do a reunion concert at Olcott Beach.
By chance, the activities landed on the same day, so the town will be in a for a double treat on Saturday. The all-class reunion will be held at Krull Park from1-6 p.m. and over 200 alumni have responded. Ron Altbach and his old friends will put on a King Harvest Reunion concert at 7 p.m.
King Harvest had a top tune “Dancing in the Moonlight” in 1972. The U.S. band that formed in Paris got its name from song by “The Band” and recorded three albums. At a concert at St. Bonaventure University, Jay Leno once performed as a supporting act.
Ron Altbach, who was classically trained, continued in the music business playing with the Beach Boys.
He is now a merchant banker in New York City.
Altbach rounded up members of King Harvest, added the Stoll Brothers, and had a rehearsal in a Dan Dy’s West Buff garage on Lake Ontario to get ready for their two-hour concert which is free. Doc Robinson, Eddie Tuleja and Rod Novak, the core of King Harvest, have been joined by the Stoll Bros Band.
The Town of Newfane is setting the stage and supplying equipment.
“All we want them to do is come, hear us play and buy a drink at a local establishment,” Altbach said. “Supervisor Tim Horanburg and (John) Syracuse are really behind this and have done it right.”
Ron Altbach, is the son of the late Walter Altbach, a Newfane doctor. Ron graduated from Newfane High School and studied medicine at Cornell University. An accomplished musician, he favored music over medicine and moved to Paris where he studied classical music under a famed teacher, Nadia Boulanger.
Altbach and his college pals formed King Harvest and recorded “Dancing in the Moonlight” which was written by band member Wells Kelly’s brother, Sherman Kelly. The song hit the charts and has been covered by numerous artists, including Liza Minnelli. Dancing was was used in a 2008 Walmart commercial.
Band members came back to Newfane in 1973 and made the town their home for a year and a half.
Doc Robinson, lead singer; Eddie Tulega, singer and guitar; Rod Novak, singer and saxophone; and Albach make up the Olcott reunion band. Robinson joked, “It’s a gig. We’re getting paid thousands and thousands.”
Tulega came back from his home lives in Tasmania.
Albach, 65, lives in Olcott part of the year. While a child, he studied under Mable Bigelow in Newfane and later at the Eastman School of Music. He plays piano, electric piano, organ, percussion, synthesizer and horns.
Altbach doesn’s plan to attend the “Utimate Renion” but hopes picnickers will mosey over from Krull Park to catch the concert.
Brad Pixley, 1975 Newfane graduate, had the idea for the all-year reunion. Becky Schweigert, who is on the committee, called it a “Bring-your-own-everything,” picnic
Alumni from 1946 to the mid-1990s are expected. Local merchants have donated items for a basket auction and the proceeds will be donated to charity.
On Sunday, King Harvest Reunion will perform at the Lake Fest benefit for Mercy Flight.