Golden hits coming to Orange

  • Tony Funches performs at Dinner by the River, a family-friendly social event in Orange, last year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2019 11:44:22 AM
Modified: 7/12/2019 11:44:10 AM

ORANGE — As the Green River Festival’s headliners take the stage in Greenfield on Saturday, another world-class-caliber concert will take place at Butterfield Park’s pavilion on East River Street.

Tony Funches, a former lead tenor with the 1950s-era The Platters, will step up to the microphone in Orange on Saturday, July 13 at 1 p.m. for a free concert. In the band’s prime, The Platters was a successful vocal group that helped form the early rock and roll era, charting dozens of singles like "The Great Pretender," a number one hit, and  "(You've Got) The Magic Touch."

Funches, who lives in the greater Boston area, joined The Platters when he was 23 after the band’s founder, Herb Reed, traveled from Los Angeles to New England. Funches spent more than 12 years with the band and performed hits like “Only You,” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

“If you’re in Orange, come and see him. You’re absolutely going to love him,” said Carol Evans of Orange, the concert’s organizer and Funches’ manager.

Evans says she met Funches while working in Boston as a social worker. Funches performed at many of the elder facilities she frequented for her work, Evans explained, and the two developed a friendship.

Their collaboration and shared passion for the well being of senior citizens continues today.

“One of the things he did say — if we set up a donation table, he wants the money to go back to the senior adults,” Evans said.

It’s not the first time Funches’ velvety vibrato vocals will float across the town’s common.

He’s performed locally a few times before including at Starry Starry Night, Orange’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration and in a concert last September. This time, Evans says he’ll be performing alongside another oldies group — Memory Laners, Funches' friends, according to Evans, which at one time performed with The Platters in their prime — drawing large crowds. 

"It was our generation when he was famous. Everyone loves him,” Evans said, noting that his daughter, Porsha Funches, a runner-up on the musical television talent show, “The Voice,” might also perform with her father.

In an interview published in the Recorder last year ahead of one of his previous local concerts, Funches said that while he still travels around singing many of the golden hits, he enjoys singing just about everything.

“Anything that I can get my hands on that will make them smile and they can relate to, (I perform),” Funches said.

Andy Castillo can be reached at

Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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