Frank Sinatra is a big deal for Vincent Romano. “Thanks for the great music,” he wrote on his Facebook page, Vincent Romano Sings the Songs of Sinatra. “You changed my life.”
In an interview, he explained how that change involves singing Sinatra’s best, mostly at retirement homes. “Seeing all the people get up, dance and relive their glory days is something special.”
The Exton, Pa., resident was 5 or 6 when he ﬁrst recalled hearing Sinatra’s “Summer Wind. “It has a special place in my mind,” he said. “From there, I just listened to more Sinatra songs.”
He was 15 when he began thinking about the community service requirement at Downingtown East High School. By then he had studied music and had performed with multiple school choirs.
His father, Mike, suggested sharing his love of Sinatra. “He had the bright idea of going around to different retirement homes and singing this type of music. After a few times, I got hooked.”
So hooked that he continued singing even after his school suspended the community service requirement, in light of the pandemic. So hooked that he’s continuing to sing as a college student.
His first gigs were for free, but now he charges most places, noting that he still performs for free at Camilla Hall, the retirement community for the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To help create his crooning persona, he favors a gray suit, a white button-down shirt, a blue tie and a fedora. “Unfortunately,” he said, his eyes are brown, not ol’ blue.
Vincent, now 20, has logged more than 100 gigs singing Sinatra and other classics of the Great American Songbook. He has about two dozen songs in his repertoire. And he’s adding ones popularized by Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti), Tony Bennett (born Anthony Dominick Benedetto), Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley and Michael Bublé.
He’s signed up for the My Way Sinatra Sing-Off Contest in June at Sinatra Park in Hoboken, N.J. “Even if I don’t get in, I’ll probably head up there and explore Sinatra’s old stomping grounds.”
It’s tough for him to pick a Sinatra favorite. “Summer Wind,” “New York, New York,” and “Fly Me to the Moon” are all “really fun ones.” And then there’s Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.” “My dad thinks I sound very Italian and very romantic, so that’s another favorite.”
“I don’t just love Sinatra,” he said. “I love rock ’n’ roll, like Queen and AC/DC, and pop, but there’s something about the crooner stuff and doo-wop that has the old-time charm.”
The ﬁrst gigs were for free, and now he charges most places, noting that he still performs for free at Camilla Hall, the retirement community for the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to give back to the nuns for all the charity work they’ve done.
His father functions as his manager, and as he works on his marketing degree at East Stroudsburg University, he’s working to improve the marketing of Vincent Romano Sings the Songs of Sinatra.
His Italian heritage goes back to his great-grandfather, who emigrated from Venafro, a town in the Molise region of Italy to South Philadelphia. That heritage is expressed not only in music, but also the classic family Sunday dinners and a dream trip to see distant relatives who live outside Rome.
Vincent is a triplet. Brother Ryan studies accounting at West Chester University, and sister Angelina studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
“When I visited Tel Hai retirement community in Honey Brook, I was ﬁnishing up singing my ﬁnal song ‘My Way,’ ’’he wrote on Facebook. “A lady came up to me with tears in her eyes telling me that ‘My Way’ was the song her and her husband danced to at their wedding and that he’d just recently passed. The fact that this song meant so much to someone touched me greatly and reinforced why I do what I do. Keeping this music alive and bringing back people’s feelings and memories of the past greats is something I love and hope to keep doing for a long time.”
“I’d I love to be on ‘The Voice’ or ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ” he said. “I dream of touring, or having a Vegas show would be really cool. I don’t know if I’ll get that far, but that’s a dream.”