In Memory of Cal Linley
December 24, 1945 - September 11, 2015

It is with great sadness that we announce that our longtime lead singer Calvin Linthicum, known on stage as Cal Linley, has died. Cal was hospitalized this past April with a throat tumor. Multiple issues ensued for Cal after that, and he finally died of respiratory failure on September 11.  

Cal leaves behind his wife, Athena, two sons, Richard and Bobby, and a very long musical legacy that has touched endless people in our area. He began singing with the Newports in 1961, shortly after the band began, and was the group’s original lead singer. Over the years, he launched several revival versions of the Newports, including the current band, which began performing in 2001. In the 1980s, he also started a band of employees of GSA where he worked, which performed for countless government events. His uncanny optimism inspired so many who thought the challenges would be too great to perform successfully.  

Cal will be greatly missed, and already is. He had a voice like no other. He lived to perform, and brought great joy to so many in that role. We in the Newports are grateful beyond words for the role he has had in each of our lives, and the dear friend he has been to all of us.


A Changing of the Newports Guard on Electric Bass

Jerry Pickeral

Our longtime bass player and friend Jerry Pickeral has recently had to leave us, after nine years of faithful service to the band. We wish him and Michelle the very best as they relocate more to Ocean City and take on new horizons with their lives. And we thank Jerry so much for contributing his extraordinary talent to the Newports for all this time!!! We are also very pleased to welcome to the Newports another exceptional bass player, Mike DeGraba, who began playing with us in April. Mike is well known in our area for starring in “The Math Dude,” a popular program on Montgomery County’s public access channel. Come see Mike play with us at La Mexicana on July 23, and you’ll find that he is also “The Bass Dude,” and a marvelous performer!!!

Mike DeGraba


Newports Tributed in Montgomery County Gazette

7/27/12: The Gazette of Montgomery County, Maryland ran a two-page feature on the Newports this week, with a batch of photos. To view it online click here. (If you click in the article's text, it enlarges and is easier to read; click again, and it shrinks). We're extremely grateful to the Gazette, to editor Kim Bamber, and to writer Karen Finucan Clarkson for this wonderful feature!!!


In Memory of Chuck Willett


It is with great sadness that we tell you that Chuck Willett died on December 19, 2011, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Chuck, and his brother Tom -- "The Willett Brothers" -- fronted the Newports in the mid-sixties, and brought extraordinary vocal talent to the band. Chuck also wrote or co-wrote four songs we recorded. On January 3, 2012, Gary Mitchell, host of "Time Machine" on Internet radio Top Shelf Oldies, twice tributed Chuck and the Newports, plus played their records "I Want You" and "Little Heart." -- listen. Chuck leaves behind his wife Mary, son James and daughter Erin, plus brothers Tom and Steve. He will be greatly missed by many, and already is.



Congratulations to Erin Willett!!!

With great pride, we also mention that Chuck and Mary's daughter Erin Willett has recently performed numerous times as a contestant on NBC's national talent program, The Voice. She made it through five levels of competition to the semi-finals, and gave an outstanding performance of "Without You" on the April 30, 2012 program. She made it all the way to the final eight -- an extraordinary accomplishment, especially given that 42,000 auditioned for the program to begin with. She also received strong praise from Blake Shelton and other judges during the semi-finals. We are so proud of you, Erin, and wish you all the best as you pursue your career in music from here!!!!!


The Newports
Damascus, Maryland


Celebrating Washington, D.C.’s Legendary Oldies Band