By Daniel Loughrey, PPh Assistant Director of Foundation & Corporate Giving.
Featuring PPh Resident, Ken Venuti
Ken Venuti started singing when he was four years old. His father was a known vocalist, and perhaps Ken felt compelled to mimic his father at such a young age. By age five, he knew he enjoyed singing and he started to consider it one of his favorite pastimes.
Kenneth John Venuti was born to John and Katherine Venuti in South Philadelphia. His family relocated to Northeast Philadelphia in 1955 when they purchased a house in the Fox Chase neighborhood. John Venuti sang in the choir at Saint Cecelia’s and also performed at various events such as weddings, night clubs, etc. He was soon taking his son Ken along with him when it became evident that the boy could sing. Ken attended Saint Cecelia’s for junior high school and then went on to Cardinal Dougherty High School where he sang in the choir and also performed in some of the school’s theater productions.
After graduating from Dougherty, Ken joined his father in working at the Naval Depot in Lawndale. He would work there in logistics and data systems for 33 years, but singing remained his true passion. Sometimes he would sing with his father, and other times he would sing for his friend’s band. Nonetheless, he primarily performed on a solo basis. He followed his father’s blue print by performing at weddings and other private events in addition to local nightclubs and lounges. In the summer, he would even take gigs down in Wildwood, which had a thriving music scene.
Recently, Ken went out to sing at Paddy Wack’s on Welsh Road. Mary Ann Del Balzo-Cassizzi and Fran Bojazi from Care Management joined him, along with Fran’s mother and a few friends. One of Ken’s old stomping grounds, he was greeted like an old friend by the patrons. He performed his songs to great applause and enjoyed a few drinks and some conversation with his friends. Those types of experiences remind him of why he got in to singing in the first place…. The camaraderie, the environment, and the music. It’s the idea of doing something that you truly love, and for Ken, there is nothing he loves more than singing a good song.