Jimmy Beaumont was only 17 when he co-wrote The Skyliners biggest hits Since I Don’t Have You and This I Swear. Their songs were released nationally Februrary 16, 1959 and marked the beginning of a long and successful career for the group, but especially for Jimmy who still thrills audiences with his beautiful Doo Wop ballads, Jazz influenced standards, and Rock & Roll classics. Jimmy possessed a surprising talent and experience beyond his teen years having been influenceed by listening to Frank sinatra in his mom and dad’s livingroom. He continued to grow and evolve musically as his music interest moved toward “group” harmony, especially the tight harmonies of The Moonglows.
Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners first appearance was at The Apollo Theater in Harlem where they would appear seven more times. Alan Freed invited them to appear on his 1959 Easter stage show with Jackie Wilson, Fats Domino, and Bobby Darin. Dick Clark took them on the road with his “Caravan of Stars” tour and featured them on Bandstand and his Saturday night television show numerous times.
After 50 years, Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners continue to record based on Jimmy’s early infuences and love of music.
Donna Groom began singing at 18 months and learned to play the piano at 2 and a half. She also learned to play the pipe organ and played regularly for service at 9 years old. Her formal training was with concert pianists Barbara and Audley Wasson in Dayton Ohio and Joseph Esposito Jr. in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. These studies took her through many years of performances and competitions, some of which she was a first place winner. One of her accomplishments was performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the symphony orchestra at 15.
After attending Duquesne University on scholarship, she joined “Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners” as the female lead vocalist.
Ms. Groom is also a professional studio musician and singer. She has written and recorded many TV and radio jingles, both local and regional. She has a CD in Japan titled ìMind Cruisiníî, and was a featured guest artist on several others. Donna has acted as vocal contractor and/or background performer on several of the popular PBS “My Music” series, ranging from Doo Wop to country. She was also consulted and helped with post-production.
Donna graduated cum laude from Duquesne University with a degree in organ and sacred music. She has held music director positions in several churches in the area and is currently serving at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Evans City, PA. She is also on the faculty at Lincoln Park Performing Arts School as a vocal instructor. Ms. Groom was awarded the Henry N. Mancini Achievement Award in 2003. She is a member of the American Guild of Organistís Pittsburgh Chapter where she holds the Colleague certificate. Donna is also a member of AFTRA and a past president of the Lions Club aiding in programs and medical research for the blind.
Nick Pociask was born, raised and lived a large part of his life in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Nick had an aunt and uncle in the business that played guitar and sang country music. From a very early age (4 or 5), Nick would listen to them sing and play. He was hooked. Eventually his desire ended in his neighbor teaching him to play the guitar. In high school, Nick joined a group called “The Prophets” and after that, “The Yesterday”. He sang and played rhythm guitar for these groups. Nick took a break from music, but resurfaced in the early 80′s in a group called “Class Reunion”. One more change would occur until Nick joined “The Skyliners”. That would be with a show band called “Magic Moments”. Nick remained with that group until he was asked by Jimmy Beaumont to join “The Skyliners”. Nick Pociask sings bass, baritone and at times, lead for “The Skyliners. He has a 4 to 5 octave range and loves to “hurt himself” by singing falsetto.
Nick now lives more in the country and finds great solace in the beautiful scenery and wildlife that Pennsylvania has to offer. Along with his wife, Sheila, and Golden Retrievers, Luke and Charlie, Nick states, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
With the death of the group’s long time manager, Joe Rock, Nick assumed the role of the business manager of the group. He now does the bookings and all the duties that go with it.
Rick Morris is a multi-talented, singer, entertainer, writer and arranger of various styles of music. Born and raised in a small town 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, he started his music career at the young age of five. He was always singing or entertaining folks in one way or another. Rick was involved in the music program all through high school. Childhood friends still joke how he organized numerous small bands singing at various venues in his pre-teen and teen years.
By the age of 20, Rick was performing professionally in night clubs. He and several friends created a very popular 70′s Vegas-style show band that traveled the Eastern United States for eight years. The band, Shades of Times, entertained millions in hotel lounges and showrooms from Florida to New York. The Shades performed 50 weeks a year with two nightly shows, consisting of production show songs, as well as three dance music sets. Their genre included sounds of oldies such as the “The Inkspots” to what was current disco 70′s dance music. Rick’s personal show performances included comical skits of Elvis, Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, Barry White, and various other popular impersonations.
In 1981, lady luck found Rick the opportunity to audition for the original world famous 50′s group “The Skyliners”, whose hit recording of “Since I Don’t Have You” is a doo wop classic. The renowned group was searching for a lead and backup vocalist to replace an original member. Rick auditioned and received the position. The legendary manager of the Skyliners, Joe Rock, was quoted as saying, Rick was the best replacement, and with his vocal ability and stage presence, it was like striking gold.
From 1980 through 1993, Rick toured all over the country with “The Skyliners” performing at large concert venues and sharing the stage with legendary performers such as “The Platters”, “The Drifters”, “The Temptations”, ” Little Anthony” and other Doo-Wop and Motown legends. ” The Skyliners” appeared numerous times at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Constitution Hall, as well as the Greek Theater in LA to name a few. This experience provided Rick the opportunity to learn from some of the best singers of our time and hone all of the skills he needed to become the well rounded entertainer he is today.
Rick retired from the Skyliners in 1994 but not from the entertainment industry. He continued to entertain for his love of music and to satisfy many of his long time fans. He would capture the mood of the artist and song he was portraying and hold an audience with his stage presence. His venues at that time included show rooms; political fund raisers; festivals; supper clubs; various night clubs and any special event where a true professional and talent were required.
In 2010, Rick, and his wife Diana, moved to Las Vegas to pursue new adventures and lady luck found him again. The Skyliners were looking for a new replacement and Rick got the call again. He is now performing with them once again, traveling all over the country, loving and cherishing every minute of it.
Drummer for the Skyliners for more than 26 years, Mark has turned more than a few heads in the music industry. Jimmy Beaumont said, “Near the end of a show a few years ago, I turned around and Mark was playing with his right arm in a cast! He literally played that show (and for 5 more weeks) with one arm in a sling!”
But what put Mark in the elite class as a drummer is his 11 cymbals in 1. This is an instructional video demonstrating his unique style of getting 11 different sounds from one cymbal. It has sold worldwide and has brought him attention from cymbal companies, schools and some world famous drummers. Mark says, “It can really make your day when you get a letter from New Zealand saying you have influenced some drummer’s style”.
Mark’s two brothers were both with The Skyliners for 20 odd years until Terry’s death in 1996. His brother Dale recently passed away with a similar heart problem. Along with The Skyliners, the three brothers backed name acts like The Diamonds, Little Anthony, The Coasters, The Drifters, Sam and Dave, to only name a few.
Why with the Skyliners for so long? Aside from loving the music, Mark says “Jimmy Beaumont is fun to work for. Unlike a lot of front men he is very musical. He trusts my judgement on how I play a song and if he wants a particular song played a certain way… I trust his…”.
Mark has said many times “In a way I’m living the dream I had as a 12 year old kid… playing the drums for a living!”