'Lover's Concerto' Coming to Watchung Hills

Barbara Harris and the Toys featured in free concert sponsored by township.

Barbara Harris remembers the day in 1965 she went into the recording studio with her bandmates in The Toys and recorded "A Lover's Concerto," a classic radio hit of the era based on Bach's Minuet in G.

"It didn't take us long at all," she said of the session—in fact, the song that would turn out to be the group's signature tune and biggest hit was done in a single take. "We just put a Motown beat to Bach."

She said the band quickly forgot about the song, heading out to California to appear in the TV show "Where the Action Is." Harris said the band's manager caually mentioned one day the song was charting.

"The next day, he came in our room and told us we had a Top Ten song," she said. "It was so cool." 

"A Lover's Concerto" peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's charts, and the group hit the charts again a year later with "Attack!," which reached No. 18.

The group disbanded in 1968, but reunited in 1988 and began entertaining audiences again—Friday, they will headline a free concert at the Performing Arts Center at Watchung Hills Regional High School at 8 p.m.

Harris has maintained a busy schedule with and without The Toys—she performs gospel, jazz, blues and R&B concerts throughout the area, where audiences still enjoy her crisp and clear vocals.

"I've dropped an octave or two, but when I need to, I can still get up there," she said.

She said The Toys will perform "A Lover's Concerto" Friday, as well as "Attack!" and some of the group's other popular songs.

The Toys will take the stage after local favorites Bob Marino and Barbra Lawson perform.

Marino has been a Warren resident for the past 20 years, and has become a local favorite after starting in community theater groups. Since then he has performed in many venues around the tristate area, and more recently he has been doing shows in Southern Florida. 

Lawson, a Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate, enjoys singing all different types of music from standards to rock and roll. Barbra also has an extensive theatrical background performing in many musical productions. 

The concert is free but donations for the Valerie Fund, which provides medical treatment for children with cancer and blood disorders, will be collected.

The snow date is March 1st and the concert will be held at the Stonecrest Church, 11 Technology Drive in Warren. Any questions, please contact Warren Recreation at 908-753-8000 x270.


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