AT THE TABLE WITH: Connie Rainis

Connie Rainis
Connie Rainis

For Connie Rainis, singing is as easy as breathing. It fills every pore of her body. Her greatness joy is to share her music with others. Her specialty is jazz and the blues, but she sings it all.

When Connie’s parents divorced, her mother moved Connie and her four siblings from Long Island, N.Y. It was in Pottstown that 14-year-old Connie connected with a teacher who became her mentor. An untrained, naturally beautiful voice needed guidance and direction.

At a young age, she entered in the summer/community music fair circuit. Not only did she perform; she did all the jobs necessary to keep the theater up and running. She built and painted sets, along with being an expert gofer.

Connie claims to be “Pottstown’s first female bar singer.” Her talent has led her to sing the national theme for the Philadelphia Eagles and Flyers. She won competitions long before “American Idol” and “The Voice” hit television. Her large fan base extends far and wide.

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Connie even married a musician (actually two). But the competition in the world of music can be difficult even within a family. So as a single mom, she reared her two children as she continued her career.

With a family to raise, she had to find a full-time job to pay the bills. As the music business has its ups and downs, financial security it not always there. For 24 years, she has worked for Boscov’s, starting out in display and design in the Pottstown store. When she moved to Norristown, she transferred to selling in the Plymouth Meeting store’s furniture department. During all this time, she has kept singing.

This is where I first met Connie — as a chair on the floor caught my eye. As she wrote up the order, we began to chat. Later on, we connected on Facebook.

Connie and longtime friend Angela Falco can be found locally as part of The Falco Quartet. Among other places, they are often found performing at Wegman’s Pub, located near Collegeville on Route 29.

She has collaborated with another longtime associate, Jimmy DelOrefice. Together, they have worked on many projects. Currently, they are in the mixing stages of a song Connie wrote, “You’ll See The Light.” This song is a tribute to an associate connected to blood cancer research.

Connie Rainis is best described with these words: music, love and goodness!

This recipe is a favorite of Connie and her sister, Debbie, who lives in Pikeville.

CHEESEY ROASTED BROCCOLI BALLS

2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

½ medium onion (minced)

10- to 12-oz. bag frozen broccoli (defrost and drain broccoli extremely well; chop into very fine pieces)

¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs (beaten)

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender, and cool. Add chopped and drained broccoli and remaining ingredients. Mix together well. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. With wet hands or a small scoop, make into balls. Bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Let Bette Banjack hear from you: banjack303@verizon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.