#998: Apple Green by June Valli
In 1928 June Foglia was born in the Bronx, New York. Both her parents spoke Italian. Her dad, from Naples, Italy, worked as a plasterer during the day and was a part-time street singer. He taught her to sing and they listened to opera together all the time. June could hit double high Cs and go way down below an F and still be clear. She worked as a bookkeeper after her high school graduation. June was very shy and “discovered” quite by accident. In late 1950, June’s mother couldn’t attend a friend’s wedding, so June went to represent the family. The big Italian wedding was held on the second floor of a rented hall on Fordham Road, just off Arthur Avenue. After the ceremony, someone invited June up to the microphone. Although she was terrified, never having sung in public before, June managed to get through a couple choruses of the one song she knew well enough, “Stormy Weather”. Well, that “Stormy Weather” brought a lightning strike. Sid Gilbert, uncle of comedian Abe Burrows, was at the same wedding and was so impressed with June’s singing he arranged an audition for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts T.V. show where she won. She subsequently appeared on Perry Como’s and Ed Sullivan’s TV shows.