The famous Dick Contino leaves an impact
By Katie Jones
Famous accordionist, Dick Contino, will make his fifth appearance in Mandan at the Mandan High School Auditorium on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m.
The public can meet Contino at Meriwether Trade and Gift Shop on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Performing alongside Contino are musicians Corky Bennett, Pete Contino, Darin King and Special Guest Dedire Contino. King is a local bass guitarist, who recently moved to Mandan.
Since 1948, Contino has released 12 albums, selling over 6 millions copies. He is known for many classic songs, including “Lady of Spain,” “Granada” and “Tico Tico.”
However, Contino gained notoriety for his appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, playing 48 times total. He is also known for his Las Vegas and Atlantic City acts, as well as his acting career, landing roles on the big screen and daytime television.
Bernie Hetzler’s late husband, Bob Hetzler of Mandan first called Dick Contino’s house several years ago after a friend found his number online.
To his surprise, Contino’s wife, Leigh Snowden, answered the phone. After chitchatting, Hetzler asked to speak her husband. Contino answered the phone and there was an instant connection between the two. They ended up talking on the phone for over an hour.
Bob was blind the last 11 years of his life said Bernie, “Talking to Dick Contino really brought him out of his shell and influenced his mental spirit. From there on out, they became good friends over the phone.”
In 2009, Bob and Bernie hired Contino to perform in Mandan.
“Dick would stay in Mandan and eat at our house,” stated Bonnie. Since Bob’s passing, Bernie has continued sponsoring the annual concert and remains good friends with Contino.
Tickets to the show are $10.00 and are available at the door. Pre-show tickets are available at Meriwether Trade & Gift Shop and Frieds Restaurant in Mandan.
During the “meet and greet” on Saturday Contino will be available for signings. On hand will be CDs, tee shirts and an autobiography available for $15 and pictures for $1.
A DVD of the event will be available for anyone who signs up for a copy, at the door of the auditorium, before the event.