George Cataldo, aka “The Silver Foxx”
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
When George Cataldo turns on the instrumental music on his karaoke system to sing along to the classic Italian song, “That’s Amore,” his face lights up.
“I just love singing,” he said. It is obvious that he means it.
A tall, slender man, the charming Westport resident also loves to share his talent at local senior centers, assisted living residences and private gigs, performing classics from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
And at age 89, he is having too much fun to even thinking about slowing down.
Although he loves music and always played different instruments growing up in New Bedford, it was not until he was 55, he said, that he actually started singing in public.
It was at an event in New York City shortly before he retired from a 30-year career with Sears Roebuck that he caught the singing bug, he recalled.
“It was a managers’ conference being held at a Japanese restaurant,” he said. “The disc jockey convinced me to try karaoke that night.”
As he sang the classic Dean Martin tune “Everybody Loves Somebody,” he discovered not only did he enjoy it but that he was good at it.
But before Cataldo became a local singing legend, his life was filled with service.
As a young man, he served in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after his stint was over, he joined Sears Roebuck, rising through the ranks to become a visual merchandiser. For 30 years he was a Brockton city councilor. He also served as an assistant to that city’s mayor and as president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Cataldo has also served as the national commander of the Italian American War Veterans. He chaired the advisory board at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton and was a football coach there for three years.
Cataldo was married to his sweetheart Colleen for 48 years, before her death in 1997.
“We had such a good time,” he said of his marriage. “She was so great. We really had a 50/50 relationship.”
“I always tell young people ‘you have to compromise. Do what she wants to do sometimes and then maybe she’ll do what you want to do some time.’”
The couple moved to Westport in a house that Cataldo helped to design. Sadly, Colleen was only able to enjoy it for a short time before she passed away.
Over the years, singing has given Cataldo a purpose, he said.
“I know she would want me to keep doing it,” he said of his wife.
Each week he drives the hour plus to Brockton and surrounding towns to perform at local senior centers and retirement communities. He also has a once-a-month stint at the Common Market Restaurant in Quincy. For each performance he dresses in one of his seven tuxes. For fun, he may put on a cap with a long gray pigtail on the back that also has his nickname, “The Silver Foxx.” He carries a small toy grey fox as a good luck charm as well.
His repertoire of songs includes ones made famous by many of the legendary icons of the ‘50s and ‘60s such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como.
“But I also like Michael Buble a lot,” he said of the Canadian pop star. “He’s really very good, too.”
Besides his gigs at senior centers and assisted living facilities, he will do the occasional party or store opening. He also goes to local karaoke nights to keep his voice limber.
Cataldo also has two other passions – golf and painting. When the weather is decent and if he is not performing, he will go to a local field and hit 100 golf balls. On occasion he will travel back to Brockton to play on a course there. And he has a small practice putting green in his home.
In his home, there are a number of paintings and sketches that he has done over the years.
But as much as he enjoys those hobbies, it is really performing that makes him the happiest.
“As long as I can, I will keep on singing!” he said.
To contact Cataldo, call 508-366-5500, ext. 14.