Althaus is an award-winning sports writer/columnist for The Examiner in Independence, MO.
Tony Dipardo: Life, Love, Music and Footballby Tony Dipardo, Patti Dipardo-Livergood, Bill Althaus
When Tony DiPardo was an elementary school student growing up in an impoverished section of downtown St. Louis, a music teacher moved into the neighborhood. He was looking for youngsters with a love of music. Although the DiPardo family couldn't afford lessons, the young teacher took Tony under his wing and Tony soon became the star pupil. He told the youngster,
When Tony DiPardo was an elementary school student growing up in an impoverished section of downtown St. Louis, a music teacher moved into the neighborhood. He was looking for youngsters with a love of music. Although the DiPardo family couldn't afford lessons, the young teacher took Tony under his wing and Tony soon became the star pupil. He told the youngster, "Tony, one day music is going to change your life." Not knowing what to think at the time, he kept working hard. If he wasn't lighting street lamps, doing his homework or helping to raise a younger brother and two sisters, the self-proclaimed "poor little Italian boy from St. Louis" was blowing his horn. Today, he is a Kansas City treasure known simply as "Mr. Music." Tony DiPardo: Life, Love, Music and Football tells the rags-to-riches story that will leave you laughing, crying and turning every page to discover DiPardo's journey from the streets of St. Louis to national billing with his big bands. His performances from the Muehlbach Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, were such a sensation that they were beamed across the nation, so fans could listen on their radios. During a stop in Kansas City. DiPardo auditioned a beautiful, talented vocalist at radio station WHB. Her name: Ann Ryan. She joined Tony's band on his 30th birthday, August 15, 1941. In May of 1942, they were married. Every national act that appeared in Kansas City for more than 40 years had one request: "Get me Tony DiPardo." His life changed forever when he met a young Texas millionaire who was bringing an American Football League team to Kansas City in 1963. Lamar Hunt asked Kansas City Mayor H. Roe Bartle who could serve as the team's banddirector. Bartle saidthere was just one man for the job, Tony DiPardo. The mayor said that DiPardo would lend instant credibility and recognition to the fledgling team. DiPardo and Hunt sealed the deal with a handshake, and 43 years later they still use that same handshake as the foundation for the longest running music act in league history. As the Hall of Fame Kansas City Chiefs owner said: "Tony DiPardo is the Kansas City Chiefs. In Kansas City, TD doesn't just stand for football. It stands for Tony DiPardo."
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