Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Singer-songwriter Fred Parris, center right, sings his enduring doo-wop hit “In the Still of the Night” with Vinny Mazzetta, who played saxophone on the original recording, and 125 students from St. Bernadette School in New Haven at a Feb. 22 celebration held at St. Bernadette Church to mark the 60th anniversary of the recording of the song on Feb. 19, 1956 in the church basement. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) See Brian Slattery's video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrqYX3KwEiY

Al Denby, Jim Freeman, Ed Martin and Mr. Parris, all African-American singers from the New Haven area, were looking for a place to record the song with producer Marty Kugell.

Then-altar server Mr. Mazeta suggested the church basement at his parish, St. Bernadette, near Morris Cove; and the pastor, Father Charles Hewett, agreed.

A lifelong musician himself, Mr. Mazzetta just happened to be available that day and was pulled in to play saxophone.

The group produced the song that day on reel-to-reel tape. 

Mr. Mazzetta still lives in Morris Cove and is active at St. Bernadette's. Mr. Parris lives in Hamden with his wife Emma.

Father Frank Carter, current pastor of St. Bernadette's, cooked up the plan of having a 60th anniversary event after bumping into one another at a store.