D.C. ) - Vietnam Veterans of America will host the first reunion of the Ding-a-Lings at VVA’s 13th biennial National Convention on Saturday, July 21, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois. Three of the four original Ding-a-Lings—Michelle DellaFave, Wanda Bailey, and Susie McIver—will perform at the Saturday night Awards Banquet, marking the first time in 37 years that the singer/dancers have appeared together.
The Ding-a-Lings were created in 1970 when the producer of the Dean Martin TV variety show chose four women from the ranks of Dean’s Golddiggers—the dancing, singing troupe of women who performed in the show. That year the Ding-a-Lings took part in the 1970-71 Bob Hope USO Christmas tour, which included many stops entertaining the troops in Vietnam.
“We believe the Ding-a-Lings’ reunion will resonate with all Vietnam veterans attending the Awards Banquet,” said VVA National President John Rowan. “They will show off the same spirit they had three decades ago performing for the troops in the war zone in Vietnam. They are excited about getting back together, and we look forward to the reunion very much.”
DellaFave, Bailey, and McIver will perform one of their old numbers at the Awards Banquet, the culminating event of the five-day Convention. The event also will include arts awards presentations to Vietnam veteran Bill Nelson of HBO and the singer Nancy Sinatra, who also entertained the troops in Vietnam.
An estimated 700 delegates from local chapters will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests at the VVA National Convention in Springfield, Illinois, which begins on Wednesday, July 18. The delegates will set the organization’s course for the next two years, elect national officers and the Board of Directors, hear from an array of speakers, attend information sessions, and take part in special events.