The Crests featuring the Voice of Tommy Mara
As a kid, Tommy Marascuillo grew up singing Italian songs and as a teen, he discovered rock. Then, while working in his father’s pizza parlor in Queens, he discovered doo wop. He joined a group called “Bubba and the Bubbles” and a career was born. Tommy Marascuillo moved to Florida and became Tommy Mara. He became good friends with Johnny Maestro, the original lead singer of The Crests and eventually joined the group. After Maestro’s death in 2010, and with his blessing, Mara became lead singer for the Crests.
“I will never be able to sing like Johnny, but I will do whatever I can to keep his music alive,” Mara said in an interview before a 2014 appearance at The Villages. Fans may beg to differ, as they have named Mara “The Pavarotti of Doo Wop.”
The Crests began in 1956 and were the first interracial doo wop group. They quickly became doo wop powerhouses with hits like “Step by Step,” “The Angels Listened In,” “My Juanita,” and “Sixteen Candles.” They were known for their high energy, great harmonies and outstanding musical arrangements. They remain true to the group’s original sound while adding a touch of “now.”
Mara is known both for his vocal prowess and his sense of humor. The shows are what you’d imagine it would be like if several hundred (or thousand) people were in his living room and he decided to entertain for a while. Jay Siegel of The Tokens said that Mara “is as comfortable on stage as he is in his own living room. He’s always positive, always makes us laugh and most importantly, he delivers on stage.”
Although Mara brings humor to his shows, he is very serious about the music. In that 2014 interview the singer, who does a lot of charity work in addition to his performing, spoke about why he continues to sing. “I don’t do this for the money,” he said. “It’s about singing and looking out in the audience and seeing the people’s faces and how they respond. If I can bring back that one special moment that a person remembers but hasn’t thought of in years, I feel I’ve done my job. I’ve had people tell me that I’ve touched their hearts and brought back memories of loved ones they’ve lost. Nothing means more to me than that.”