MIDDLETOWN: WHEN THE SUN HITS YOUR EYE

dave delucaIt’s been called the Italian Decade — that pop-music moment between the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the British Invasion of the Beatles and their peers, a time when a resurgent Frank Sinatra staked his claim as Chairman of the Board, and when Dean Martin, Perry Como and Tony Bennett brought a smoothly passionate brand of crooning to radio airwaves, Billboard charts and nightclub stages.

Characterized by songs that range from old-country favorites like “O Sole Mio” and “Volare” to fun novelties like “That’s Amore” (“when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”), the music of the Great Italian-American Songbook is celebrated in style this Saturday, when singer Dave DeLuca brings his program That’s Amore to Middletown Township Public Library for a free afternoon concert.

Scheduled for 2:30 pm in MTPL’s Community Room, the set finds DeLuca (himself a composer and performer of original music, when he’s not donning a tux for tributes to the old-school entertainers of the pre-rock era) tracing a saga in song that runs “from the opera houses and piazzas of southern Italy to the barrooms of the Bronx and Hoboken, to the Copacabana, the Paramount Theatre, and the Vegas Strip.” In the process he evokes “the hardworking musicians whose voices were to become ubiquitous on jukeboxes and the radio, and whose names — some anglicized, some not — have become bywords for Italian-American success.”

There’s no charge, but seating is limited, and tickets (available from the library desk) are required for entry.