The Golden Voice of Lou Galterio
If the Rat Pack were alive today, Lou Galterio would be standing beside them. He’s that good. With his golden, mellifluous voice, he reminds us of a time when life was less complicated and Italian American singers topped the charts. This is what makes him such an endeared performer throughout Italian communities in South Florida. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Lou perform—and you’re Italian—it’s likely you will. His performance schedule is almost non-stop.
Italian organizations from Miami to Palm Beach rely on his heartwarming and robust rendition of the Italian national anthem, “Il Canto degli Italiani,” also sometimes referred to as “L’inno di Mameli” or “Fratelli d’Italia.” He performed last year at The Breakers for the annual gala for Il Circolo of the Palm Beaches — one of the largest Italian organizations in Florida. In May, he performed for Italian Consul General Marco Rocco and other VIPs in the Italian and Italian American business community at the 20th Anniversary dinner for the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, Southeast. He’s also a regular headliner at Jupiter’s Feast of Little Italy and the Taste of Little Italy in Port-Saint-Lucie.
He sings the U.S. national anthem, too, and flawlessly. Because of this he now gets many requests from non-Italian, community and political organizations. Mostly, though, Lou sings the classic songs that were made popular by Italian American artists in the 50’s and 60’s. These include Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon,” Bobby Darin’s “Beyond The Sea,” Dean Martin’s “Innamorata” and Jerry Vale’s “Al Di La.” When Lou covers these songs he does it so beautifully, and with such artistic precision, that he’s earned acclaim from people involved with this era — including Dean Martin’s daughter Deana, who he has performed with.
Given Lou’s success and popularity, the story of how he became a singer is full of charm and whimsy. Lou didn’t even realize how well he sang until he was 19 when, at the prompting of a vocal coach, he sang for her. She’d speculated that because Lou had such a distinctly pleasing speaking voice, he might also sing well. She was right and both of them were surprised by how many notes he could hit as she went up and down the piano keyboard. She offered him lessons and that’s when his training began.
From that point, Lou went on to sing at a semi-professional level for a number of years. He explains, “I was singing with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra as a member of their chorus but that was only up until 2003 when they folded. I didn’t perform anywhere for the next five years until a friend convinced me to audition for the National Anthem for the Florida Marlins.” Despite what he describes as a bad case of the jitters and stage fright, to his surprise, he was selected.
The Marlins performance was the first of this nature for him and became touching for more reasons than just that. ESPN was broadcasting the game and — although they don’t usually do this — that day they happened to film the national anthem, so they captured his performance, which his sister happened to see as she was flipping channels. She immediately called his parents who were able — through serendipity— to catch it. The story still brings tears to Lou’s eyes.
In 2008, when Lou was laid off from a corporate accounting job, he opted to pursue a singing career and has proven that when one door closes, another opens. Given that it’s only been three years, he’s done phenomenally well. He’s so popular that his personal and professional Facebook pages are maxed.
He attributes much of his success to his manager, Jerry Somma, who was so impressed with him at their first encounter that he asked, “Would you sing at my wedding?” Lou did. He sang “Ave Maria” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” Together they’ve carved a niche for Lou and only a handful of singers around the country can match his popularity in this genre.
Lou was raised in a large Italian American family in Fort Lauderdale. He explained, “I come from a family of seven children and I am the youngest. My father’s side of the family comes from Calabria and my mother’s side comes from Burgio in Sicily. Both of my parents were born in New York, so my parents are Italian American. My grandparents were born in Italy.”
Surprisingly, when Lou’s not singing, he’s running marathons. He explains, “I’ve been running for a little over five years and I love it. I’ve run five marathons, including New York twice. Last year I ran the Palm Beach Marathon and my first marathon was the Disney Marathon, which was fun.”
Because Lou has performed in so many Italian restaurants and venues in South Florida, we asked him about his favorites. He told us that he really enjoys Mamma Mia in Boynton Beach and Marcello’s La Sirena in West Palm Beach.
With the holidays approaching, Lou’s schedule remains hectic and the requests continue to pour in. In 2012, the craziness is bound to continue. He’s become a fixture at certain events and people request his appearance. In the meantime, he continues to expand his milieu of songs and has ventured into a duet arrangement with songstress, Lisa Dellarossa. At the recent Jupiter Feast of Little Italy the duo performed delightful versions of “The Prayer” and “Con Te Partirò,” amongst others.
Lou might have some time to rest during the holidays, but it’s unlikely. Besides, this is a man that enjoys the frenetic pace of performing. He hopes to do so one day in Italy where he can possibly also indulge his other passion for running. “I would love to run a marathon in Rome,” he shared.
Given the manner in which many of his dreams are already coming true, it’s likely he someday will.
In the video below Lou Galterio performs, “Innamorata” with the Florida Sunshine Pops Orchestra in the concert series, “Viva Italia – The Mob Hits.” The arrangement was done by Charles Calello, who worked with Frank Sinatra.
Learn more about Lou Galterio, and watch some of his performance videos, on his website, www.lougalterio.com.