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The Crystal Ballroom, Connecticut, Remembered, Reported by Robert Nevin

Email from Robert Nevin to me:
Iman, this is not formatted as a post, so I don’t expect you to use it. I just wanted you to see the kind of acts that came to Crystal Lake Ballroom. I have no doubt that he saw each and every one of the acts listed here. He went to Crystal Lake far more than I did.
nd what a list! Check out #21 & 22! And yes, #31. I’m sure I was there.


EMail from Robert Nevin to his brother Sonny Nevin:

I distinctly remember seeing Gary Bonds and Chubby Checker there. I believe I also saw Jackie Wilson. I know I passed up a chance to see Stevie because I wanted to go over Gary Mattis’ house.
What do you remember about Crystal Lake? What shows did you see?

Email From Sonny to Robert

It’s funny that you bring this up.About 14 months ago I called the (SURDELL FAMILY).They owned the Crystal Lake ballroom where all of the shows took place.I wanted to speak to the father who still owned it . I spoke to the the grandson who was very nice.I asked him he if he could ask his Grandad if he had any knowledge of where the the flyers(which were the 8×10 b&w photos of the performers) could be found.He informed me that the Grandfather had alzheimer’s and wasn’t able to respond to questions.the Grandson was very nice and thanked me for asking and remembering his grandfather.
They were friends of Mom’s and we got in for free at all the shows.
I will list all of the perfomers that I saw there..

1)Gary Bonds-(Quarter to Three)
2)Chubby Checkers.(real name was Ernest Evans)(The Twist)
3)Little Eva (Locomotion)
4)Fats Domino(Blueberry Hill) Aunt Caroline took his watch off of his wrist and had him come to the
house on Brooklyn st.and gave it back.
5)The Coasters(Charlie Brown)
6)The O’jay’s(Love Train)
7)The Emotions(Best of my love)
8)Jay and the Americans(Come A Little Bit Closer )
9)Dion(Run around Sue)
10)Soomon Burke( Everybody needs somebody to love)
11) Little Stevie Wonder (Finger tips part1&2)He was14 @ the time,and so was I.
12)The Contours(Do ya’ love me?)
13)Major Lance(Monkey Time)
14)Mary Wells(One who really love you)She died of throat cancer.(how ironic)
15)Paul and Paula(Hey Paula)
16)The Dovells(The Bristo Stomp)
17)Roy Orbison(I’m cryin’)
18)Ruby and the Romantics) Our day will come)
19)the Orlons(South Street)
20)Sam and Dave(Hold on i’m comin”)Who started out as Don & juan i think,not sure
21)Patsy Cline(Crazy)
22)Brenda lee(I’m sorry)
23) Dodie Stevens(Pink Shoe laces)
24)Marvin Gaye(What’s goin’ on–Too may to list here)
25)Little Richard(Tutti Fruitti)
26)Gene Pitney(Town without pity)
27)Dick &Dee dee(The mountains High)
28)Screamin’ J. Hawkins(I put a spell on you)
29)The Moonglows(Your love is like a seesaw Baby)They played at Notheast School in Rockville and had a dance contest that I won.The prize was a paper 45 record with their autograph…big deal at the time!
30)Bobby Rydell(Volare)……Hated that song!
31)Jackie Wilson(Lonely Tear drops)

I could go on and on—–But it’s 2:40 am ,and I’m getting tired.
I hope this list helps bring back a flash of the good days when music had positve lyrics.And when life was still an adventure.
Take care Beebs,
Talk to ya’ soon,Luv’ ya’


  1. Barry DeCarli on November 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Geez, to think I grew up in Ellington in the 50s and 60s and the only singer I ever went to see at the Crystal Ballroom was Gene Pitney who was a friend of my brothers. I sure missed a lot of great groups and singers.

    • Carol Jo (formerly)Bartlett on February 10, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Are you related to Tony DeCarli – my brother is Jim Bartlett
      Now Gene Pitney sang “Town Without Pity” and “we” said he was singing about Rockville.
      Oh, I know I have a number of pictures and flyers and to think of the price we paid and now for me to go see
      Smokey Robinson; I will be paying ____; and I am going to see him the 14th at MGM National Harbor.
      Very SAD what has happened to Rockville, CT

    • Dick Lamothe on April 4, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      I’m from Agawam Mass. and remember going to the crystal lake ballroom with my mother, brother and my 17 year old sister in 1958 to see The Crests do 16 candles. I was 10 at the time. My mother at the time had a brand new turquoise 1958 Ford Fairlane convertible, such a beautiful car. Those were the days

    • mike fontanella on June 25, 2020 at 11:52 pm

      are you related to Teddy went to HS with him
      BF before i moved in 73
      Mike Fontanella

  2. Robin Scribner on November 16, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    OMG… i never got to go to Crystal Lake Ballroom! We never got to go to concerts… sure would have been nice. Thanks for sharing!

    • C. Peterson on September 11, 2022 at 4:08 pm

      I remember the LOW ceiling at Crystal lake,
      great 50s cars outside, the ocassional parking lot fisticuffs (Springfield kids vs Hazardville!!). I was 15 and so lucky to go there.

  3. Janice Cothran on February 18, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I remember most of these – me and my bff ( Janice Berzenski )went almost every weekend – awesome place for a 14 year old to go ! I loved it – heaven for a teenaged girl – met my 1st husband there at 16!
    Janice(Arsenault) Cothran

  4. J. Angell on July 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I am actually related to second generation Surdel (child of owners who worked there and for many years, it’s all he’d talk about. Want to find more written history or photos

  5. Janice Arsenault Curtis Cothran on August 25, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I went to the Crystal Lake Ballroom every weekend I could get a ride ! I met my first husband there when I was 16 ! I had more fun there then i ever had in all my teenage years ! Im so grateful for having it in my life !
    Janice ( Arsenault )

    • c on May 19, 2022 at 12:32 am

      Is Eddie Arsenault your brother ? Carol Bartlett

  6. greg on May 5, 2019 at 9:21 pm


    Robert N.

    I heard the Ernie Rock Band – played there – Rockville – based band..

    I heard Too Much Too Soon played the ELKS – I used to listen to them on Laurel St. – I think that’s where Kevin lived?

    Do you have any information on them?

    • ROBERT NEVIN on May 22, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Greg,
      Sorry I’m getting back to you so late.
      TMTS played a reunion gig at the Elks Club a few years back. It was a great time! Since then, my brother David passed away and the band members have resumed their separate careers. I never saw Ernie Rock Band. Who was in the lineup?

  7. Regina Surdel on June 12, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    My father and Mother started the business in 1945. They and it for 20 years and sold it to Pagani caterers in 1965. I saw many of the acts you listed even though I was very young.

  8. Charlie Rees on April 16, 2020 at 10:19 am

    I was a singer and guitarist in the house band in the lounge in ’75, it was a country band named Plum Creek. As a trio we warmed up for Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass in the ballroom in ’74. Our bass player was the house sound man, Les Doorman. Chris Cope on steel guitar and Rags Abrahamson and me, Chuck Rees on vocals…great times

  9. Charlie Rees on April 16, 2020 at 10:22 am

    I was a singer and guitarist in the house band in the lounge in ’75, it was a country band named Plum Creek. As a trio we warmed up for Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass in the ballroom in ’74. Our bass player was the house sound man, Les Doorman. Chris Cope on steel guitar and Rags Abrahamson and me, Chuck Rees on vocals…great times

  10. Bob Orlowski on September 6, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    What were the names of the Pagani’s? I believe it was two brothers, yes?

  11. Bob Orlowski on September 6, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    I used to hang out there in the early ’70s. I have one of the flyers mentioned above, from about 1972. It’s basically a photocopied ad meant to be stapled to a telephone pole. It mentions NRBQ, Clean Living, George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers, and Little Feat.

  12. Adrian Poucel on December 10, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    I was just wondering ,how much did the Ballroom sell for when it closed,Thanks.

  13. Worth Wagers on December 9, 2022 at 4:28 am

    So amazing!

    Where was the ballroom at the intersection of Rts 30 & 140?

    Where the Elementary School is now?

    Thanks for any response.

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