Fleming to sing at McCain service

Gary Craig Rochester Democrat and Chronicle USA TODAY NETWORK

Internationally beloved opera singer Renée Fleming, who grew up in Churchville, will sing the Irish standard “Danny Boy” at a memorial service for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain.

McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, had requested that Fleming sing the song, according to her manager, Dannielle Thomas.

“She is very honored,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be a beautiful service.”

Fleming is scheduled to sing at a memorial service for McCain at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday.

Fleming, a Grammy winner and Tony nominee, is also a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.


Nashville Folk Singer With Rochester Ties

by Scott Gudell

Ross Falzone has released five CDs as a self-proclaimed “folk singer / social justice activist.” Now based in Nashville, he got his start decades ago in Rochester as an assistant engineer and performed on the HBO theme music song which had its origins in Rochester when he worked with recent Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee Ferdinand Jay Smith III. Falzone’s two most recent releases are Love Is Everything and We Are All Gypsies.

The title cut of Love Is Everything opens the 2016 disc with a casual clarinet, some tasty gypsy guitar and moves forward at an easy going pace. That’s followed by a lonely, late night piano as it gently introduces “Baby Where Are You Tonight.” Falzone picks up the pace with the perky “Cecilia’s Kitchen” and the bawdy “Trouble In Paradise” which allows the horns a brief yet potent flash at the songs mid-point.

We Are All Gypsies is his 2018 collection. “The Spell,” co-written with Ferdinand Jay Smith III, echoes all of the 1930s carefree gypsy jazz elements of that era, capturing the vintage sound and feel of Django Reinhart as well as the modern styling of Stephane Wrembel. “You and Me” is a casual stroll through a similar gypsy sound and style while “My Piano and Me” could find a comfortable resting place on a children’s CD. Falzone aims to include a cover on most of his releases and he gets sassy and funky on Delbert McClinton’s “Better Off With The Blues,” complete with more bawdy horns, followed by a quick trip to New Orleans via “Lucky Me.”

Falzone donates all of the proceeds of disc sales to charity so try to track down a CD, buy it and help out as much as you can. Go to for more info.



Funk it Up
Local favorite Prime Time Funk in prime of career — and still smiling

By Jana Eisenberg

Prime Time Funk


Rochester Music Hall of Famer, David Corcoran dies

The RMHF Board of Directors would like to express its deepest condolences to the family and friends of local drummer and vocalist, David Corcoran.  Mr. Corcoran was inducted into the RMHF in the Class of 2014 along with his Duke Jupiter band mates.  He was 64.

Duke Jupiter drummer, David Corcoran performing at the 2014 RMHF induction ceremony



Students from Greece Athena and Harley School honored at Music Hall of Fame




The Rochester region is known for its love of the arts. It’s a pipeline for young artists to pursue their dreams. Local music legends were lauded at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sunday night, including big names such as percussionist John Beck, drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Tony Levin.

Before they became legends, they were young musicians with a passion and a dream. The Rochester Music Hall of Fame realizes the importance of nurturing future generations of musicians with its Douglas Lowry award, given to to area high school seniors pursuing music in college. Lowry was dean at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester who passed away in 2013. Each of the two winners received $1,000 and a chance to perform at the induction ceremony.

The winners this year were cellist Ben Doane from The Harley School, a private school in Brighton and musical theater vocalist Mark Mitrano of Greece Athena High School.

Mitrano, 18, the winner of numerous local and national awards, will be attending University of Michigan come fall, majoring in musical theater. The young prodigy started vocal lessons at 4 years old and is currently a senior high honor roll with distinction student, recently wrapping up his role as Quasimodo in Greece Athena’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Mark Mitrano

As a sophomore, Mitrano was named Rochester Broadway Theatre League Stars of Tomorrow best actor. He then went on to represent the Rochester nine-county region in New York City and was named best vocalist in the National High School Music Theatre Awards that draws musical theater talent from high schools around the country. In 2017, he was a National YoungArts Foundation winner in theater

Doane, 17, has been learning the cello since he was 6 years old and will be attending Eastman School of Music in fall. In the summer of 2017, he attended the Perlman Music program. The young musician also studied cello at the Heifetz International Music Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. From 2014 to 2017, Doane was the principal cellist of Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Recently, Doane won the Rochester Philharmonic League Aldridge-Tinker scholarship to continue studies in music.

Ben Doan

Before a sold-out crowd of over 2,300 people at Eastman Theatre on Sunday night, Doane performed a cello solo titled Julie-O by Mark Summer. Mitrano reprised his role as protagonist Jean Valjean in the musical Les Miserables with his rendition of “Bring Him Home.”

“As well as giving me valuable assistance in applying for college, this award was an incredible opportunity for me to share my music in Rochester’s best-known performance hall,” said Doane.

Mitrano said he was very honored to be chosen for the Lowry award. “It was heartwarming to be part of such an event that brings artists of all styles of music together to share their passion and joy,” Mitrano said. “It was an experience I will never forget.”

Their performances at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremony showcased the promise of youth in our artistic community.




A Music Lovers’ Oasis

Forefront Audio is celebrating the grand opening of its new retail space at
1472 Monroe Avenue in Rochester (Brighton), New York. This music lovers’ oasis features everything for the casual listener to the passionate audiophile.

This is a life-long dream of owner Lance Shevchuk. His infectious passion for music and high quality sound far exceeds his 25 year experience delighting music and video enthusiasts. For Lance, it’s all about truly understanding customer needs and offering meaningful solutions for life enhancement, via engaging audio and video systems. His proven promise of “We Listen & Deliver” has been a lasting benefit to music / video novices and aficionados over the years.

Forefront Audio highlights carefully selected, best of class products, for every budget, to ensure maximum enjoyment and value. Lance is highly focused on meaningful consultation, a fun purchase experience, simple to creative design installation and long term service excellence. Moreover, Forefront Audio happily and uniquely offers in-home demonstration, which is critical to educated customer decisions.

From analog to digital, tubes to solid state, wired to wireless and single component to whole house systems, Forefront Audio is fully immersed in enhancing personal music / movie connections. They continue to earn customer trust and build long term relationships through honesty and integrity.

Treat yourself and check it out! Hours of operation: Tuesday / Thursday, 10AM – 3PM, Friday, 3PM – 8PM and Saturday, 10AM – 2PM. All other times will be cheerfully accommodated by appointment  (585) 216 – 5881.


        Congresswoman Louise Slaughter dies at 88

The Board of Directors of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame are saddened to learn of Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter’s, passing.  We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Mrs. Slaughter worked tirelessly on behalf of the western NY region and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus she was a strong supporter of the Arts and a friend to the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.

The one time blues and jazz singer, Louise Slaughter, addresses the audience of the 2015 Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre.

During her college years in Kentucky, Miss Dorothy Louise Macintosh (3rd from rt.), was the featured vocalist with Tinker Baggarly and His Orchestra.


(On the “Board” Walk: RMHF Publicist, Dresden Engle)

Crafting A New Musical
Eddie Money’s
Debuts in Rochester, New York

by Scott Gudell 2/5/18

Sales exceeded 28 million records. There were close to two dozen hits in the Top 100 music charts during the 1970s and 1980s including “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise”. Add a few Grammy nominations, countless road trips and numerous concerts along the way. Fast forward to 2018. Former cop Eddie Money, a true rock star born in Brooklyn in 1949, has come to Rochester, teamed up with RAPA’s Jim Vollertsen and been in rehearsal crafting and perfecting Two Tickets To Paradise – The Musical here in Rochester since the fall of 2017. The world premier will take place from Feb 14 – 18 at the Kodak Center Theater. (200 Ridge Road West) and will feature a full orchestra, a rock band and a cast of twenty people including Alec Nevin who will play a young Eddie Money. Then there’s the ‘official’ publicist for the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, Ms. Dresden Engle, who is scheduled to perform in the play as Money’s supportive mother. As Ms. Engle points out “Eddie’s mom was the world to him. There are a total of three heart-wrenching songs between mom and Eddie — all Broadway-style ballads Eddie wrote for the musical — that cement for the audience how close they were.” She went on to say “Eddie told me (recently) that I’m playing her just as wonderful as she was. That was a relief and an honor to hear.” In addition, Money himself will narrate the musical and guide the audience through the evening. “For me, the musical captures that most important time when you’re starting out before you get jaded” Money said.

There will only be five Rochester performances and then, maybe a trip on the road with Broadway in its sights. As Ms. Engle stated “I worked closely with Eddie on the script and now I’ll be working with Eddie to promote the production on national tour following the Rochester debut. Sure, we talk about taking it all the way to Broadway. This musical is Eddie’s dream, and we’re all excited to help make his dream come true, while at the same time he is making all of our dreams come true as well.”

Here’s your chance to be part of the beginning, here in Rochester, where it’s all starting. Call 585 254 0073 for updates and additional info.


Striking a chord, NIH taps the brain to find how

(Democrat & Chronicle)


Lauran Neergaard


WASHINGTON – Like a friendly Pied Piper, the violinist keeps up a toe-tapping beat as dancers weave through busy hospital hallways and into the chemotherapy unit, patients looking up in surprised delight. Upstairs, a cellist strums an Irish folk tune for a patient in intensive care.

Music increasingly is becoming a part of patient care — although it’s still pretty unusual to see roving performers captivating entire wards, like at Med-Star Georgetown University Hospital one fall morning.

“It takes them away for just a few minutes to some other place where they don’t have to think about what’s going on,” said cellist Martha Vance after playing for a patient isolated to avoid spreading infection.

The challenge: Harnessing music to do more than comfort the sick. Now, moving beyond programs like Georgetown’s, the National Institutes of Health is bringing together musicians, music therapists and neuroscientists to tap into the brain’s circuitry and figure out how.

“The brain is able to compensate for other deficits sometimes by using music to communicate,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, a geneticist who also plays a mean guitar.

To turn that ability into a successful therapy, “it would be a really good thing to know which parts of the brain are still intact to be called into action — to know the circuits well enough to know the backup plan,” Collins added.

Scientists aren’t starting from scratch. Learning to play an instrument, for example, sharpens how the brain processes sound and can improve children’s reading and other school skills. Stroke survivors who can’t speak sometimes can sing, and music therapy can help them retrain brain pathways to communicate. Parkinson’s patients sometimes walk better to the right beat. But what’s missing is rigorous science to better understand how either listening to or creating music might improve health in a range of other ways — research into how the brain processes music that NIH is beginning to fund.

A peek inside

“The water is wide, I cannot cross over,” soprano Renee Fleming belted out, not from a concert stage but from inside an MRI machine at the NIH campus.

The opera star — who partnered with Collins to start the Sound Health initiative — spent two hours in the scanner to help researchers tease out what brain activity is key for singing. How? First Fleming spoke the lyrics. Then she sang them. Finally, she imagined singing them.

“We’re trying to understand the brain not just so we can address mental disorders or diseases or injuries, but also so we can understand what happens when a brain’s working right and what happens when it’s performing at a really high level,” said NIH researcher David Jangraw.

To Jangraw’s surprise, several brain regions were more active when Fleming imagined singing than when she actually sang, including the brain’s emotion center and areas involved with motion and vision. One theory: it took more mental effort to keep track of where she was in the song, and to maintain its emotion, without auditory feedback.

Proof may be tough

Indeed, Jangraw notes a saying in neuroscience: Neurons that fire together, wire together. Brain cells communicate by firing messages to each other through junctions called synapses. Cells that regularly connect — for example, when a musician practices — strengthen bonds into circuitry that forms an efficient network for, in Fleming’s case, singing.

But that’s a healthy brain. In North Carolina, a neuroscientist and a dance professor are starting an improvisational dance class for Alzheimer’s patients to tell whether music and movement enhance a diseased brain’s neural networks.

Well before memory loss becomes severe, Alzheimer’s patients can experience apathy, depression and gait and balance problems as the brain’s synaptic connections begin to falter. The NIHfunded study at Wake Forest University will randomly assign such patients to the improvisation class — to dance playfully without having to remember choreography — or to other interventions.

With senior centers increasingly touting arts programs, “having a deeper understanding of how these things are affecting our biology can help us understand how to leverage resources already in our community,” said Wake Forest lead researcher Christina Hugenschmidt.

Unlike music therapy, which works one-on-one toward individual outcomes, the arts and humanities program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center lets musiciansin- residence play throughout the hospital. Palliative care nurses often seek Vance, the cellist, for patients anxious or in pain. She may watch monitors, matching a tune’s tempo to heart rate and then gradually slowing. Sometimes she plays for the dying, choosing a gently arrhythmic background and never a song that might be familiar.

Julia Langley, who directs Georgetown’s program, wants research into the type and dose of music for different health situations: “If we can study the arts in the same way that science studies medication and other therapeutics, I think we will be doing so much good.”

This Associated Press series was produced in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.

Cellist Martha Vance plays for a patient at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Music increasingly is becoming a part of patient care. TOM SAMPSON/AP


(On the “Board” Walk: Tony Gross)

Steam – Claudia Hoyser

by Scott Gudell 10/17/17

Purring away – sometimes day and night – is GFI, a recording studio in rural Wayne County New York. Veteran musician and producer Tony Gross, the man who heads up the studio (and is a current board member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame,) has been spinning the knobs and sliding the faders while still attacking the guitar and hitting the stage every once in a while for a long time – since his mid-teens. One of his latest projects is helping launch the career of 23 year old Claudia Hoyser. Together, they’ve put things in motion with the release of a five song EP called Steam.

Ms. Hoyser confidently bursts out of the studio with a sassy and flirtatious “Drinkin’ With the Boys,” the EPs attention grabbing opener. Yeah, she can go toe-to-toe with the boys but it’s also a song about spending some fun, frivolous time with close friends – male or female. The title cut, “Steam,” may use the steel tracks of various trains as its starting point but the message of “Steam” is to follow your dream. The next song up had an interesting twist: when Tony sent a rough version of “No Matter What it Costs” to a friend at a radio station in hopes of getting some professional feedback, the station-man was ‘all in’ and basically said ‘don’t change anything’ so the original uncut version is the one we get. The song keeps edging a girl with a country spirit closer to a rock and roll center. She stays feisty on “What Kind of Man” before wrapping things up with the start/stop, ‘what the hell, let’s keep going’ energy of “Red Light’s Turning Green.”

Hoyser, with hints of a young Shania Twain (whose recent 2017 comeback recordings’ may soon share air-time with Hoyser) has been showing up on a number of radio station playlists and has been hitting the road for a number of shows. As Hoyser has said “Country music is all about roots. It doesn’t matter where those roots are from. We all have stories to tell and that’s a strong part of my sound, the ‘storytelling’ part” which she’s doing one stage and one song at a time.


(On the “Board” Walk: Jerry Falzone & former member Kevin Hart)

Presenting…New Music from
Rochester Music Hall of Fame Board Members

by Scott Gudell 8/7/17

From day one, the board members of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame have been a diverse group. Their “day jobs” include working in sales, accounting, law, banking, college’s and even as a mailman. Others, whether professional artists or “after hours” experts, include music producers, musicians, photographers and more. All of the board members, as you would suspect, are passionate about music plus several have recorded and released their own albums. Here’s a solo disc from a current board member (with help from another current board member) and one from a former member:

Chasing Ghosts – Jerry Falzone
                                                                 (self released)

He may have started out in Pearl, a hard-rock band that earned national press in the early 1980s in magazines such as Billboard, but Jerry Falzone has settled into softer west coast country rock in the last decade. The high water mark was 2012’s Just Before The Storm, with a wealth of stand-out originals such as: “Sweet Virginia,” “Come Back Now” (with guest vocalist Jerry Engler), “We Will Meet Again” and the title cut. A few years later, Liar’s Moon followed with another all-original outing, but he shook things up by sneaking in a sax, violin and cello on a few cuts.

Falzone’s latest disc, Chasing Ghosts, carries on the tradition of softer country music meets folk rock ala bands such as Poco, the Eagles and singers such as Jackson Browne. Falzone has rounded up some of the usual suspects who helped him in the past including Ken Colombo (piano), Bob Martin (guitar), Greg Andrews (drums), Pearl’s Debbie Randyn (background vocals) and Kate Lee (violin). The sound is big and the arrangements are bold right from the beginning as the disc opens with the glorious “It Feels Like Heaven.” Later, the sax shines on songs such as “Built to Last” and “Cold Cold World,” followed by stand-out songs such as the “Without Love.” Falzone drops in a Neil Young cover (“I’ve Been Waiting For You”) and comes in for a landing with the evocative, haunting title song at the very end. Throughout the disc, Falzone’s vocals are pure as spring water and soar like summer clouds whether running solo or harmonizing with others. With love as a common theme on most of the songs, more complex lyrics would be a welcome guide into the cryptic world of relationships.

All three discs have a polished, sparkling production but Chasing Ghosts adds more of a pop sheen than in the past. Passionate lovers of folk rock will still chose Just Before the Storm as their favorite CD but this disc is a nice addition to this decade’s trilogy.

Science – The Majestics
(self released)

Science – The Majestics

Reggae has pulsed through Ron Stackman’s blood for decades. He was a founding member of the band, Bahama Mama, in the 1970s. That eventually mutated into Big Roots in the 1980s with their nine or ten man roster (depending on the night) which eventually paved the way for The Majestics. The Majestics have just released Science, their latest CD release.

Tight, nimble and oh so casual, The Majestics consist of Ron Stackman (keys and guitar,) Jim Schwartz (bass,) Lou Lavilla (drums) and Kevin Hart (lead guitar) plus Brother James on percussion and a four piece horn section with yet another Rochester Music Hall of Fame board member, Jimmy Richmond. “We don’t sound like Jamaicans when we play” Stackman had said year ago, “we were brought up on rock.” “The Science disc is a mix of tunes written by Ron Stackman, Jim Kraut (from Bahama Mama) and a couple of old deep cut reggae gems” former Rochester Music Hall of Fame member Hart stated in an email. Regardless, the purity of the reggae sound and style carries through with the disc, one which is built on deep, rich bass and steady, reliable percussions as the disc clocks in at a brief 30 plus minutes.

The horns majestically announce the arrival of the group as they open with “Love is the Greatest Science.” Happy, light and upbeat, the song is followed by a deep dose of melancholy as the band calls out an “Untrue Girl” on the second song. Jim Kraut’s “Buck Rogers” is mystical, hypnotic and elusive while The Majestics capture the instrumental essence of former Paragon member John Holt’s mid 1970s hit, “Up Park Camp.” There’s danger and deception in the grooves of “Caught You Red Handed” while the band takes us home with a studio enhanced dub version of “Buck Rogers.” Rochester, a US city about as far north of Jamaica as possible, is home base for the Majestics and a handful of other top ranking reggae groups. Together, they continue to prove that this is a rich musical town with a rich sound.

CD Release Party: The Majestics are releasing their new album, Science
Aug. 19, Sat. 7 PM Three Heads Brewing,
186 Atlantic Ave, Rochester, New York


Rochester Music Hall of Fame visits School #33

A large group of students enrolled in a summer learning program at School #33 in Rochester, attended a musical performance and presentation sponsored by the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.  For the second time, representatives of the hall of fame spoke to the fifty or more students gathered in a classroom, about careers in music.  They brought along one of the hall of fame’s 2017 Lowry Award winners, Sam Nitsch, to inspire and entertain the kids with his musical talents.  He was a big hit!

RMHF president, Karl LaPorta, described the students as respectful and engaged listeners adding, “we love talking to so many smart kids who are very interested in music and in careers in music in some capacity.”  Also on hand to help with the presentation were Jim Richmond and Tracy Kroft.  

School #33 classroom with RMHF reps. Karl LaPorta, Jim Richmond, Tracy Kroft and Lowry Award winner Sam Nitsch


To help honor and induct trumpeter Lew Soloff into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame: Class of 2017, several musicians took part in the live ceremony, including Blood Sweat and Tears vocalist David Clayton Thomas and his musical director George Koller. Both gentlemen have relatively new CDs available. Here’s a look at them…

Canadiana – David Clayton Thomas

(Antoinette Records)

by Scott Gudell

Americana is a type of music that has its roots in early folk and country music of the states and has come to represent the “new” earthy country style, sans the ‘twang’. The Canadian mirror image of that is Canadiana and Toronto based David Clayton Thomas (DCT) has just released a thirteen song CD that salutes the rich writing and singing talent that is found throughout Canada.

Although DCT is an incredibly writer, having written some of Blood Sweat and Tears monster hits, he chose to cover songs by a dozen other Canadians while including only one DCT original. By now most people realize that The Band was a Canadian group so the CD opens with DCT’s spirited version of Robbie Robertson’s “Ophelia.” Many of the other covers are earthy and grittier than the originals as he cherry picks classics such as “Early Monnin’ Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot,) “Both Side Now” (Joni Mitchell), “Heart Of Gold” (Neil Young) and “Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen.) These, and other well-known performers, have topped the music charts in of both countries and helped define the sound and style of the last few decades.

Regardless of whether you’re from the US or from Canada, these versions are alluring and ultimately a passionate tribute from an important vocalist of our time.

Secret Space Program – George Koller

(Self released CD)

by Scott Gudell

As an “in demand” bass player, George Koller has appeared on countless recordings and has worked with world class talent such as Holly Cole, Eartha Kitt, Phil Woods and even Peter Gabriel. Secret Space Program is the latest disc with Koller (bassist/singer) as the leader.

The CD opens with “Where Did They Go,” a rousing, briskly paced original that hints at the probing lyrics and style of Moses Allison while “What Might Have Been” is a much quieter, more reflective lament. Koller’s version of “Cool Water,” originally a 1930s country and western song, is an amazingly serene gem that would be suitable in a film noir movie. Other songs slow things down even more with lullaby that hint at the easy going style of singers such as Michael Franks.

Koller (and Thomas) were great additions to the 2017 Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremonies on April 30, 2017. Here’s hoping they both make a return visit to the area.


 ‘Chasing Ghosts’ with
Jerry Falzone & Liar’s Moon

Album review:


Shaffer, Clayton-Thomas celebrate with 2,000
at Hall of Fame

Paul Shaffer



Honoring Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees

GJS1GEVA“The Show Must Go On”: A Tribute Concert for Larry Swist – 8/6, Buffalo, NY – See more at:




“Life Is Good” for Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly


Danielle Ponder: Live at Three on 3/3

by Scott Gudell
(Freelance Unlimited)

The back story is almost as dramatic as the tidal wave of sounds cascading from the stage whenever singer Danielle Ponder performs.  She grew up in the inner city in a family that always revered and respected music.  She’s the daughter of a preacher man yet she’s had family members jailed.   She’s a public defender by day and a musician by night and throughout it all, she’s as positive, upbeat and focused as can be. As she told Jeff Spevak in the fall of 2016 for an article in the daily paper, “I write about heartbreak and romantic love, or I write about social and political issues, or personal freedom…”   She routinely and confidently takes complete control of a club or concert hall for several hours (including a memorable salute to 2016 Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee and James Brown alumni Pee Wee Ellis).  Although Ms. Ponder generates the high wattage power from the stage, it’s ultimately the audience’s responsibility to capture the energy and to use it in a positive manner going forward.

Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People took the stage at Three Heads Brewing right at 8p on Friday March 3, 2017.  What started out as a brisk, cold night turned into a fierce storm a few hours later…both inside and out. Served up with brisk, cold beers and ales with musical names such as Strawbeery Fields Lager, Rochestafarian Scotch Ale and Ring of Fire IPA, Ponder and her tight band went for it right from the beginning with “Something Funky.”  Channeling the soul of Aretha, the style of Amy and the potency of Adele, Danielle Ponder built layer upon layer of sight and sound to create an intoxicating presentation.  From 60s gospel and soul to 70s reggae, right up to today’s rap, Ponder pushed, prodded and propelled.  With compelling originals such as “Three Word Revolution” (there’s that ‘three’ again) to “All I Know” (“I wanted you/ you needed me / you told me you’d be better”), Ms. Ponder turned in a passionate, blistering show.

When it came time for an extended encore, Ms. Ponder unleashed a dynamic version of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and used the glory of a gospel sound to confirm and uplift.  She bravely guiding us away from guns pulled from the gutter, weapons that destroy and denigrate our people and our society.

Was the audience with her?  Yeah!  Does she…and the people…have the power?  After a show like that…triple Yeah !!!


Record Theater founder Lenny Silver dies


Leonard Silver


Rochester icon ‘Java Joe’ dies at 68 (D&C)

To most, he was “Java Joe”  more…

Joe Palozzi



The RMHF is saddened to hear of the passing of great local drummer Ralph Bushey. Ralph was a talented, versatile drummer who could play anything with anyone. Ralph would at any one time be playing with a half dozen bands. He was also passionate about local music. We all also remember Uncle Ralph’s Magic Sauce, which was another of Ralphs great talents and passion along with cooking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ralphs family and friends.


Ralph Bushey


Musicians with local ties snag Grammys


La Muralla salsa orchestra brings the rhythm


RMHF 2016 alumna performer, Dee Ponder
“Is a voice for justice” (D&C)

Dee Ponder performing at RMHF 2016 Induction Ceremony


News from the Clubs = Abilene Bar and Lounge

by Scott Gudell

A consistent, long time supporter of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame (RMHF) has been Danny Deustch and his club, the earthy, roots oriented Abilene Bar and Lounge. They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2018 and, year in and year out, they host strong local, regional and national acts. Although the club originally focused on Americana music and it’s still at the core of what they present, they continue to evolve and offer a wide variety of other sounds and styles as well.

One of the artists recently presented by Abilene was Kim Simmonds, one of the founding members of the iconic British blues rock band Savoy Brown. The Friday, Jan 13, 2017 show was presented at the Penthouse at One East Avenue as part of Abilene’s “on the road” series. It was a casual, solo performance as Simmond’s relied on his harp and two acoustic Gibson guitars (note: Henry Juszkiewicz, the current CEO of Gibson, was raised in Rochester and was officially inducted into the RMHF in 2015). Simmonds presented the crowd of about 75 people a sort of ‘MTV Unplugged’ meets “home concert” evening of songs and stories. He performed a newer number called “I Can’t Stop the Blues” as well as classic Savoy Brown songs such as “Hellbound Train” while casually interspersing stories from the early British Invasion in-between the notes. His version of “Train to Nowhere” (originally sung by Chris Youlden) was presented with a blues drenched slide followed by a Mississippi Fred McDowell song, “Shake Em On Down,” insuring that the entire evening stayed focused on the blues.

Looking forward, Abilene is bringing a number of top notch artists to town. Thursday, February 23, will feature one of these artists who’s also been a long time supporter of the RMHF, John Mooney. Another passionate blues artist, Mooney’s style is fierce, focused and can fire up a crowd with his slide and steel guitar. He was a protégé of one of THE founders of American blues, Son House (who lived in Rochester for many years and was inducted into the RMHF in 2013.)

You’ll be able to catch a rollicking Commander Cody in March, the alluring and intriguing Eilen Jewell in April and Americana master Dave Alvin in May. Interestingly, Alvin wrote the song “Abilene” which was part of the inspiration for Danny’s club. Having seen each and every one of these artists in concert over the last few years, I highly recommend you pick one or two and check them out. You can confirm times, dates and venues by going to

Rochester Music Hall of Famer, Lou Gramm,
says it’s time to hang up the MIC

Lou Gramm performing at
2013 RMHF induction ceremony


Singer, Brianna Collichio,
inspires as she copes with CF

Brianna Collichio of Spencerport will sing the national anthem at Bills/Jets game


A Rochester Family Business

Northfield Music
50 State St # 15, Pittsford, NY 14534
Phone: (585) 586-4662


Tamra Cherubin
Rochester’s Own, Soul/R&B singer-songwriter


Radio Visionary and Founder of WDKX,
Andrew Langston, Chased his Dream

Andrew Langston


RMHF Saddened by The Passing of Danny Mayer


The Rochester Music Hall of Fame would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and bandmates of Danny Mayer as they mourn his recent sudden passing.

Mayer was a beloved and highly acclaimed musician in the Rochester area best know for his 16 years as the lead vocalist for the rock/metal band, CATCH 22.

Danny was a unique talent, a wonderful person and a devoted father.  He will be dearly missed by the Rochester music community.




Melia in Concert / Montage Music Hall

by Scott Gudell

by Scott Gudell

The Montage Music Hall hosted a pre-Halloween show on Sunday October 30, 2016 as former Runaways Lita Ford roared into town with a tight, full assault band dedicated to sustaining the hard rock of the 1980s and 1990s.  Opening the show was Rochester’s Melia (plus an early appearance by a separate band, Rock-n-Roll Social Club).

Melia has performed sporadically in and around the Rochester area for several years, but has also ventured out of town to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, New York City and more. She also grabbed a few awards at Indie Music Channel Awards events in LA. Melia is celebrating the release of Skeletal Remains, a potent four song EP (mastered by Eastman School grad Bob Ludwig). The new disc is crisp, in-your-face, vibrant, bold and, as she has said, it has a “dark, bittersweet theme throughout the EP.” “Charge Like a Bull” cracks the EP open with its razor sharp rock and roll attack and it keeps rumbling from there.

In keeping with the Halloween theme, Melia painted half of her face in a dramatic black/white skeleton design for the show, echoing the cover of her new EP. She aggressively took the stage dressed in all black and ripped into “Charge Like a Bull” followed by another song from the EP as well as a handful of older songs such as the bitter “Just a Bride” and the withering “Soundproof Walls.” She’s learned a thing or two from Lita and the Runaways (with a bit of Avril Lavigne punk princess tossed into the mix) with Melia’s confident “take no prisoners” stage approach. Many opening acts fight to grab the attention of the crowd impatiently waiting for the headliner but Melia hit the crowd hard with fresh, updated rock sounds and earned their allegiance. The crowd may have journeyed out into the dark night to pay tribute to Lita, but Melia made sure she methodically recruited a few new people into her growing army of fans.

Click on Album Cover
melia **************************************************

Long Time WXXI Jazz Radio Host
Tom Hampson Has Passed Away

Tom Hampson

Tom Hampson


Best Wishes from The Cowsills
do ss 7cowsills ********************************************************

MS. LaRue performing at 2016 RMHF Induction Ceremony

MS. LaRue performing at 2016 RMHF Induction Ceremony

Florence LaRue of 5th Dimension fame sends note
to RMHF expressing sincere thanks

Ms. LaRue performed the song “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” at the RMHF 2016 induction ceremony held in April at Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall in honor of Class of 2016 inductee James Rado (co-author of the Broadway musical HAIR).

The pop vocal group, 5th Dimension, of which LaRue was an original member,  recorded the song which peaked at number one for six weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the spring of 1969.



Giant Panda debuts at # 1 on Billboard Chart

Click on D&C to read more

Click on D&C to read more

Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad - photo by JOSUE RIVAS

Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad                       (click on image to hear song)                                                   photo by JOSUE RIVAS


Rochester’s own, singer, songwriter and meditation Guru, Alana Cahoon, releases new CD

Click on image to learn more

Click on image to learn more


Upstate recording studios and local businesses support music production tax credit


Supporters of New York is Music, a coalition of more than 200 music-related organizations, gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Rochester and GCR Audio Recording Studio in Buffalo to call on the New York State Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit (A10083A/ S7485A) and support the creation of jobs in the music production and recording industry in New York state.


Dossenbach meant music in Rochester

Hermann (1868-1946) and Theodore (1870-1924) Dossenbach: Brothers of German immigrant parents, they settled in Rochester with their family in the early 1870s and went on to become prominent figures in the music scene here. Hermann taught music, and he founded the Dossenbach Orchestra in 1900. It became the Rochester Orchestra in 1912, continuing as a group until 1919. He also founded a music school that was the precursor to the Eastman School of Music. Theodore began the Rochester Park Band, which he led until his death in 1924, after which Hermann led the group until his death in 1946.
Herman Dossenbach and the Rochester Park Band perform on Aviation Day, June 1, 1928. They are on a portable bandstand designed and patented by Hermann's brother Theodore Dossenbach.

Herman Dossenbach and the Rochester Park Band perform on Aviation Day, June 1, 1928. They are on a portable bandstand designed and patented by Hermann’s brother Theodore Dossenbach.

Theodore Dossenbach

Theodore Dossenbach


RMHF Board members visit The Children’s School #15

RMHF Board members visit The Children’s School #15

  Now it’s the Four Rs

Summer school for the kids at The Children’s School of Rochester, school No. 15  in the city offers instruction in the basic Three Rs—Reading, Riting and Rithmetic, but a new R has been added.  The fourth R is Rmhf as in, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. RMHF president Karl LaPorta with Board members Tracy Kroft and Jim Richmond gave a history lesson on local music to the kids on July 24th at the request of  Curriculum and Instructional  Practice Specialist, Mary Frenzel.  The children thoroughly enjoyed the presentation which included discussion on local luminaries such Cab Calloway and Chuck Mangione, a short video of clips taken from the Class of 2012 hall of fame induction ceremony and live musical performances by LaPorta and Richmond.  Cab Calloway seems to have piqued their curiosity the most according to Frenzel,  “…We already have several kids wanting to research Cab Calloway further!” Hall of fame Board members are available for similar presentations for students of all ages.  Inquires can be made on the contact page of this web site.