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He sings just like Frank Sinatra.

But Sinatra couldn't race like Gary Quatrani.

Quatrani went from track to track, singing with Diana Ross at Caesars Palace, opening for Billy Idol and Russell Crowe at the Chicago House of Blues, crooning on cruises and putting out a CD.

"The many years I played sports helped tremendously today in my musical career -- increasing my stamina. Wind sprints and breathing techniques I developed in track helped me to let out a note for several seconds without straining my voice," says Quatrani, who was a sprinter and played football.

"Abdominal exercises I did as a football player have helped me to sing through the diaphragm rather than through my throat, allowing me to sing for several hours at a time without straining my voice."

Quatrani's move from sports to music was harmonious.

As a boy, he listened to Sinatra with his dad on the front porch of their Buffalo home.

"From that point on I was hooked," he recalled.

Hooked to the point where he'd listen to his father's records for hours and hours. His parents soon bought him headphones. Then they soundproofed his bedroom.

Yet Quatrani also spent plenty of time running track. The Cardinal Dougherty High School student won All-Catholic and All-Western New York honors. As a junior, he was state champion in the 100-yard dash with a time of 9.7 seconds. He was even a showman then, wearing color-coordinated tassels on his sneakers to imitate another of his idols, Mohammed Ali.

He has performances booked at John's Flaming Hearth, on Military Roadin Niagara Falls, He will also sing on New Year's Eve at Samuel's Grande Manor in Clarence and later at Harry's Harbour Place Grille in Buffalo.

"In sports, I always felt that I was an entertainer. I tried to make the position that I played, as a sprinter or a receiver, as exciting to the fans watching me as how I felt on the inside, on the track or on the field," he said.

He's channeled his love of sports in volunteer coaching, training local athletes in track and football.

And he can translate that back into his singing.

"In music, if I can remind the crowd of their youth by singing Sinatra classics and evoking his persona -- not imitating him -- it gives me the same feeling as scoring a touchdown or running across the finish line."

Have an idea about a local person whose life would make a good profile or a neighborhood issue worth exploring? Write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240, or e-mail

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