Susan DeLuca grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with a passion for music. Music has always been prominent in her life, from early choral performances in church and elementary school, through glee club and musical theater in high school and college.
R&B is the genre that won her heart early on. Tunes spun by Porky Chedwick on WAMO back in the late 50s and early 60s had a profound influence on DeLuca’s developing musical taste. Her love of that music, a fascination with harmony and a cappella music led the way to DeLuca’s musical career with Pure Gold.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from The University of Pittsburgh, Susan’s singing took place primarily in her home while she was beginning her career as a high school business teacher, then raising her three children. She and her husband, Henry, would host large parties at their house in Shadyside and she and her guests would harmonize to their R&B favorites in the backyard.
One singing friend introduced another and, eventually, four or five friends ended up harmonizing in DeLuca’s living room on a weekly basis. It was suggested by friend, Mark Piscitelli (an original member), and DeLuca’s husband, Henry, that they sit in with their friends, The D.C. Band, at a Saturday afternoon jam session at the Razzberry Rhinoceros in Shadyside. They auditioned, they were encouraged, they won over the crowd and, as they say, “the rest was history.”
The group, dubbed Acappella Gold, performed 45 a cappella tunes a night at sold-out venues. Their followers were mesmerized by the sound of the human voice and the versatility of utilizing four or five lead singers. After three years, the group decided they could reach a larger audience if they added instrumentation—and Pure Gold was born.
Twenty-five years later, the group still includes several a cappella numbers in most performances. DeLuca attributes the longevity of the group to the talent, intelligence and goodness of its members. She considers them brothers.