When the Moonmaids toured in the '40s, they never dreamed they'd still be singing

ARLINGTON -- Eighty-year-old June Bratone says her opening number will be It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp when she takes the stage next month.
She's just kidding, of course.
After all, Bratone and the three other Moonmaids come from an era when hits had names like
"There! I've Said it Again, Racing With the Moon and Tangerine."
But there's apparently still an audience eager to hear the swing quartet vocalize again, more than 50 years after they toured with Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra.
"We jumped at the chance," to play a series of Florida dates with legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and the Palm Beach Pops orchestra, said Bratone, a 1942 Arlington High graduate. "We're all hams."
Bratone, the daughter of an Arlington Baptist choir director, grew up harmonizing around the kitchen sink with her sisters.
But she was just a teen when Monroe called and invited her to New York City to try out with the Moonmaids, who, like Bratone, were veterans of the North Texas State Teachers College music scene that later launched the likes of Pat Boone.
She passed the audition and for the next several years criss-crossed the nation with the Monroe orchestra and the other maids, cutting more than 50 records on the Victor label and appearing on
Ed Sullivan's CBS television show.
"We had a radio show every Saturday night, wherever we were," said Bratone, who now lives in Pantego. "We really had a lot of fun."
The folks in Florida, where the Moonmaids are slated to do six nights beginning on April 1,
are expecting big fun.
"It'll be lot of full houses," at the 2,200-seat Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, said Pops spokeswoman Maureen Roschel, adding that the shows celebrate Pizzarelli's 80th birthday.
"He is definitely a legend."
The Moonmaids quit the road to marry and have children in the early 1950s, but they regrouped in the 1980s and performed into the early 1990s, when two members moved to North Carolina.
Although they hadn't sung together in years, dusting off their microphones to work with Pizzarelli again was a no-brainer.
"There are no wrinkles on talent," said Moonmaid Mary Jo Grogan, 78.
"I can't wait to hear the first chord," said Grogan, who lives in Dallas. "We giggle and laugh
just like we always did."
But, Grogan said with a laugh, the gigs ought to be billed as "The Antiques Road Show."