Pat DiCesare is a concert promoter, songwriter, author and entrepreneur whose career began at the dawn of the rock-n-roll era.
From his success in bringing The Beatles to Pittsburgh in 1964, to his staging of one of the country’s first major outdoor stadium concerts, he is regarded as a concert industry pioneer.
Both independently and with his Pittsburgh-based company DiCesare-Engler Productions, he promoted every major entertainment act during the second half of the 20th century. His company was long considered one of the top grossing concert production companies in the country.
DiCesare began his career in the music business as a teenager in 1957, when he and his hometown friends formed The Penn Boys, a Doo Wop group. He wrote and produced the group’s first record, “Gonna Have a Party.” That same year, he wrote “I’m Spinning” and “You Say You Love Me” for TheDel-Vikings, who were by then a top act following the release of their two gold singles, “Come Go With Me” and “Whispering Bells.”
In 1958, DiCesare formed Bobby Records, naming it for Bobby Vinton, the label’s first recording artist.
While attending Youngstown State University in 1962, he promoted his ﬁrst concert independently when he presented The Four Freshmen at YSU’s Stambaugh Auditorium. Soon he was working for promoter Tim Tormey as a record “plugger” and assistant producer of the “Shower of Stars” concert series that featured top-selling entertainment acts.
On September 14, 1964, DiCesare and his mentor Mr. Tormey promoted the Beatles in concert at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.
In March of 1965, he and his boyhood friend Sonny Vaccaro founded The Dapper Dan Roundball Classic. It was the ﬁrst national high school championship basketball game, featuring the ten best high school all-stars from Pennsylvania competing against the ten best in the country. The event sold out the Pittsburgh Civic Arena every year and lasted over four decades.
When Tim Tormey left Pittsburgh in 1965 to join Dick Clark as his concert division manager, DiCesare continued on his own. Naming his company University Attractions (later known as Pat DiCesare Productions), he brought the top acts of the day to Pittsburgh — everyone from Janis Joplin and The Doors, to The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. He held the exclusive leases on The Civic Arena, Three Rivers Stadium and the 3,700 seat Syria Mosque.
This prompted Ed Masley of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to write, “If you expected to play Pittsburgh in the late ‘60s, pal, you either talked to Pat DiCesare or you stared home.”
In 1973 DiCesare invited Rich Engler to become a partner, and changed the name of his company to DiCesare-Engler Productions.
(Pictured Above: NICK CENCI, RICH ENGLER, & PAT DICESARE)
In 1977, they purchased the 3,500-seat Stanley Theater (now the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts). During the 7 years they operated the theater, Billboard magazine regularly rated it as the “Number One Auditorium in the U.S.”
Through 1998, DiCesare-Engler Productions filled every Pittsburgh area venue with acts of every genre: rockers such as Bruce Springsteen, punk acts like The Clash, country giants like Willie Nelson, and comedians such as George Carlin.
Pat DiCesare is now an author with several new publications in the works. His first book, Hard Days Hard Nights, recounts his experiences in the concert business. The book was named the 2014 Independent Book of the Year, was the Grand Prize Winner at the 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival and was the Runner Up at the 2014 Southern California Book Festival. It is for sale on Amazon, where it is currently at #2 in its category.