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The Lettermen take the stage at the Suncoast

Jan 29, 2002 3:38 AM

The Lettermen legend continues Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Suncoast showroom. For tickets, call (702) 636-7075.

The Lettermen first appeared in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn in 1958, where original founding member, Tony Butala, and the rest of the group played the part of the Rhythm Boys in the review, “Newcomers of 1928.”

The Lettermen’s first single was “The Way You Look Tonight.” The song shot to No. 13 on the Billboard chart. The group’s second single “When I Fall In Love” hit No. 7. The next year, “Come Back Silly Girl” reached No. 17.

The 60’s and early 70’s saw The Lettermen score 20 charting hit singles, including “Theme From ”˜A Summer Place’” and “Hurt So Bad.”

Over 40 years, the trio has gone through personal changes. Dononvan Tea joined in 1984 and his tenure has been the second longest other than Tony Butala. Tea was born in Houston, Texas and started singing professionally at 17 when he won an international vocal competition in England.

The most recent member is Darren Dowler, who joined the group in 1995 and added to the group a renowned ability to impersonate a multitude of musical celebrities.

The Lettermen have also appeared in most of the major sports arenas in the United States with their touching acappella rendition of the National Anthem. People Magazine voted the group “one of the best ”˜anthem-singing’ groups in baseball.”