The Letterman


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About The Letterman

The nation first heard of The Lettermen early in 1958 when their name appeared on the marquee of the Desert Inn Resort in Las Vegas, playing in the revue, The Newcomers of 1928, in the main showroom. Tony Butala, Mike Barnett and Talmadge Russell had put together an astounding conglomeration of talent. Although they have had their share of recording success, The Lettermen pride themselves on their live performances. For over 35 years this popular singing trio has been captivating audiences at public events, private conventions and many special charities such as The American Lupus Society for which they are the national spokespersons. The universal appeal of The Lettermen and their sound has resulted in successful world tours–Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico, France, South America, Canada and even Saudi Arabia. The Lettermen have appeared in most of the major sports arenas in the United States with their touching a cappella rendition of the national anthem. A classic act that should not be missed. Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Tony Butala began singing at the age of 8 in Pittsburg, and within a few years, moved to California to become a member of the famed Mitchell Boys Choir. His movie credits, through this affiliation, include “On Moonlight Bay”, “White Christmas”, “Peter Pan”< “War of the Worlds”, and “The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T”. Early vocal combinations, including one with Connie Stevens, eventually led to Tony developing the well-known Lettermen “sound” in 1959–a signature sound that has remained intact ever since. Through the years, that Lettermen “sound” has adapted well to the changing trends in music. An avid vintner, Tony devoted time and energy to his 40 acre vineyard in Napa Valley when not on the road with the Lettermen. Four grown children and a new wife add to his non-stop lifestyle. Donovan Tea was born in Houston, Texas and started singing professionally at 17 when he won an international vocal competition in Gilford, England. After touring Europe and singing in such prestigious places as the Sistine Chapel, Notra Dame Cathedral and Westminster Abby, he returned home to sing in the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Master Chorale. At 18, Donovan became a lead singer for The Young Americans, opening for such performers as Sammy Davis Jr., Rich Little and Tony Bennett. He even did a show for then President Gerald Ford in Washington, D.C. While with The Young Americans, he guest starred on NBC’s holiday special, “Merry Christmas, Fred, From the Crosby?s”, performing a tap dance with Fred Astaire and singing back-up with Bing Crosby on “White Christmas”. At 22, Donovan left The Young Americans to become a solo act, performing in nightclubs and on cruise ships as a guest entertainer for Princess Cruise Lines—“The Love Boat”. He than answered the call to Las Vegas, where he was featured in two main room extravaganzas at The Dunes and Stardust Hotels. It was in Las Vegas that Donovan and The Lettermen first crossed paths and he became a member of the group in the Fall of 1984.Donovan’s three favorite things in his life are his wife Darla, songwriting and golf. When not touring, he divides his time between Las Vegas and Nashville. With musically talented parents, Darren Dowler was destined to be a singer, actor, dancer, guitarist and songwriter early Darren started performing professionally in nightclubs and theatre right out of high school. A small first television role in 1984 in the well-known soap “As the World Turns” led to more prominent roles in the series “Swamp Thing” and “The Adventures of Superboy” and character roles on MTV. His headline talent was displayed in one of the hottest nightclub acts in the country at the famed “Club R” in Orlando. Darren’s talents are infinite– from doing television and radio voice-over work–including the star voice in an animated children’s series, “The Reppies”–to the ability to impersonate a multitude of music’s top celebrities, from Sammy Davis, Jr. to Michael Bolton! Most recently, Darren had starring roles in several productions in Reno, Nevada. Adept at all musical styles, Darren became the newest member of The Lettermen in the Fall of 1995.