The Villanova Spires: Origins

Front row L to R: Ian Lipton, Jack Armstrong, Jack Blake, Tom Picardo (Director), John Sperger, Jim Quinn, Ron Sisca. Rear Row: Mike Collins, Santo Agolino, Jim Croce, Frank Romano, Mike Romano

Reverend Edward C. Doherty recalls: “I was appointed Moderator of the Villanova Singers in January, 1962. Father Syvinski, my predecessor, in acquainting me with the organization, indicated that the Spires, a specialty group within the Singers, had been started the previous Spring, i.e., 1961, and had performed a few selections at concerts that year. Subsequently, in speaking with some of the members of the first Spires (Spires Director Tom Picardo, Jack Blake, John Sperger, Santo Agolino, as best as I can recall), it was mentioned that a name for the group had been designated, i.e., The Spires.

“They certainly were well received at the Singers’ concerts in the Spring of 1962 as well as at all concerts while I was Moderator of the Villanova Singers until 1972. The rest is history!”

Front row, l to r: Tom Picardo, Frank Romano, Ron Sisca, Jim Quinn. Back row: Tim Hauser, Jack Armstrong, John Sperger, Jack Blake, Jim Croce


Before attending Villanova, Tom Picardo co-founded a doo wop group called The Criterions with his friend Tim Hauser. At Villanova, Tom and Tim performed in the Singers, and Tom was the founding Director of the Villanova Spires.

Jim Croce, Class of 1965, was a member of the Singers and The Spires (who used the name Coventry Lads when they were performing at events not sponsored by Villanova). After Villanova, Jim pursued a music career, and found great success. He died, tragically, in a plane crash at age 30, shortly before the release of his fifth album. Two of his singles, “Time in a Bottle” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” reached Number 1 on the Billboard chart.

Jim Croce, with guitarist Maury Muehleisen on the Helen Reddy Show, 1973 – NBCU Photo Bank


Manhattan Transfer: Tim Hauser, left, with his partners Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel, and Alan Paul

After graduation, Tim Hauser created  and performed in the group Manhattan Transfer. Tom Picardo sang and released albums (using the stage name Tommy West) as Cashman, Pistilli, and West; Cashman & West; and the Buchanan Brothers; and he released a solo album. Tom produced Jim Croce’s albums; he continues to produce music today.

Spires Today

Over the years, the Spires evolved from performing with guitars and bass to become an a cappella group. The Spires perform several numbers at each Singers concert, and perform in a cappella concerts and competitions.

The Spires, 2017


Visit The Villanova Singers History Timeline for six decades of Spires photos and music.

Meet the current Spires here!