The Baltimore Examiner
It’s 6 o’clock on a Monday evening at the Pikesville McDonald’s on Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore, so naturally the burger joint’s jumping. Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, but don’t hold the music. Gary Richman’s cutting loose with “The Way You Look Tonight,” and every customer in the place is loving it.
It’s their kind of song. One guy puts down his burger and fries long enough to ask a lady to dance. The guy walked in here with a cane. Now he’s up jitterbugging with the lady. Richman, who bills himself as The Singing Stockbroker, gestures their way.
The Eldersburg Eagle
The house is already jumping when Fred Ehrlich starts blasting some New Orleans jazz riffs through his weathered horn.
Singers, one in a tuxedo, another channeling Dean Martin, a third looking like Elvis Presley, start belting out lyrics.
A line of ladies who arrived an hour early to claim front-row seats is pounding on tambourines, bongos and maracas. By the time all the saints finish marching in, about 80 people, most of them seniors, are clapping, cheering, singing and dancing in the aisles.
It’s a typical Monday night at a Pikesville McDonald’s.
For the last 53 Mondays, the fast food outlet in the 1700 block of Reisterstown Road has staged free concerts by a growing roster of singers performing show tunes, jazz standards, spirituals and the occasional bit of Italian opera. As many as 140 people squeeze into the restaurant Monday evenings to shake off their aches and woes.
“It’s the wildest thing,” says John Crow, a recycling industry executive by day who croons through Frank Sinatra tunes at McDonald’s. “We get more audience enthusiasm and compliments here than any other venue we play. I had one man come up to me and say, ‘You people brought me out of my shell. You made me feel alive again.'”
The Baltimore Examiner
I have had the pleasure of hearing “the singing stockbroker,” and in fact our quartet, Stardust Memories, shared the stage with him on a couple of occassions. I am deleighted to know that Gary Richman, along with the McDonald’s in Pikesville, is raising awareness of the program begun by A Taste of Home Inc.. to send calling cards to members of the Maryland National Guard who are in harm’s way.