Bend Roots Revival plays host to reunion of old friends after 50 years

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 9:03 am by Ben Salmon

Local musician and all-around cool dude Joe Leonardi was reunited with some of his old buddies from his hometown of Valley Stream, New York a couple of weekends ago. The three men — who hadn’t talked to or seen their friend in nearly 50 years — found Leonardi on Facebook a few months ago and flew to Oregon to see him (and his daughter, Anastacia) play the Bend Roots Revival.

Here’s an excerpt of my story on the reunion, which ran in the Community Life section of The Bulletin on Sunday:

The guys arrived on Sept. 23, and — as close friends tend to do — slipped right into their old ways. Each man glows when he describes the evening.

Frank Ragone: “We sat down on Friday night and (had) a wonderful dinner. We sat at the kitchen table and told stories like it was yesterday.”

Albee Allstadt: “Forty-eight years had gone by and we picked up right where we left off.”

Pete Porri: “You pick it up like you are back in high school. It’s a pretty incredible thing.”

Joe Leonardi: “I was blown away. This floodgate opened of memories and just sparked all of these things that I totally forgot about. It’s been a trip. I’ve just loved seeing these guys.”

For the three friends who have been gathering for years, the feeling is mutual.

“It was a special bond back there (in New York) and that’s why we’re here. It was something that was unique,” Allstadt said. “Joe was very special to us, so when his name came up, there was no question we were coming.”

Left to right: Albee Alstadt, Frank Ragone, Joe Leonardi and Pete Porri.

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