Photograph by Jim Dolan
Karl LaPorta, President
Karl has been a professional musician for over 40 years. He has been a Piano Technician for almost 30 years. Raised in a musical family – his dad was a piano and violin teacher – Karl’s dream, always, was to have a Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
Jack Whittier, Vice-President
Jack is a professional musician and is Chief Financial Officer of Palmer Food Services. He has served on several non-profit organization’s boards and committees, including The New York Wine and Culinary Center, The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children and Bivona Child Advocacy Center.
Gerald Brongo, Treasurer
Jerry has been a professional musician in the Rochester area for over 30 years, working on recording projects and playing keyboards for numerous bands throughout his musical career. He is currently a member of the 9-piece band, Brass Taxi. Jerry is the owner of a MIDI recording studio, Night Rhythm Productions, formerly located within Dynamic Recording Studios. He is also a Certified Public Accountant who owns his own tax practice and serves as Controller for Canandaigua Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Jerry formerly served on the Board of Directors for Hochstein Music School and has been instrumental in all areas of the RMHOF finances.
Donna LaPorta, Secretary
Donna, who has been married to Karl for 38 years, is a music lover and, of course, belongs to the same musical family as Karl. She has encouraged and supported Karl’s endeavor to achieve the RMHF from his very first mention of his vision for the recognition of Rochester’s greatest musical talents. Donna is the Town Clerk for the Town of Gates.
Bill is a professional musician and a local music history buff. His research has brought to light the names of long forgotten local musicians, past venues and momentous musical events dating back as far as the early 1800′s. Bill is retired from the United States Postal Service and now serves as the chairman of the RMHF Criteria and Selection Committee.
Alex was involved in the Rochester music scene for several years as a business manager for top local bands, and a promoter for both national and local shows. He has been involved in numerous fundraisers for several charitable organizations. Alex is also a business owner; A. Carroll & Associates plans corporate meetings / events and reward / recognition programs.
Bruce is a 35-year veteran of the entertainment and music business. He owns and operates Pilato Entertainment, Marketing & Media, LLC in New York, providing entertainment marketing, artist management, PR & promotion, advertising and project development for a number of domestic and international clients. He has worked with Emerson Lake & Palmer, Asia, Foreigner, Yes, The Tubes, and many others. In 2001, Bruce worked with ex-Beatle Ringo Starr in developing the original line-up for Ringo’s All Starr Band, as well as planning and marketing the All Starr Tour. As a respected music journalist, he has written for Variety, Gannett News Service, USA Today, Mix Magazine, and others.
Kathy was the first inspiration in helping get Karl’s dream of RMHF off the ground. Kathy is CEO of CUSTOMERicity, a women-owned marketing company that helps organizations get and keep customers. She is passionate about music, Rochester and big ideas so RMHF is a no-brainer for her. She is NOT a professional musician, but her son is a jazz vocalist and is married to Karl and Donna’s daughter.
Steve is a professional musician and plays in several different bands. Steve is also the band leader of the Time Bandits, one of Rochester’s longest running bands. Steve is an attorney, handling all of the legal matters for the RMHF.
Dave is Karl’s brother and is also an accomplished musician. He received the same music training from his dad. Dave is retired from his job of 30 years of service to the County where he worked in specialized budget and finance..
A founding member of the ten-piece band, Prime Time Funk, Jim Richmond was a child who entertained the neighborhood kids by imitating Elvis on his front porch. He led his own band, The Echomen, while still in high school, then went on to major in music at SUNY Fredonia. Jim’s serious vocal, songwriting and arranging talents have kept him in demand over the years, sharing the stage with acts including George Benson and Tower of Power, among others.
A communications and public relations professional, a long-time supporter of the Rochester music scene and a writer of a music blog, Rochester Music Scene (And Heard), Tracy has a passion to recognize, celebrate and honor the tremendous musical tradition of Rochester.
At the age of 19, Tony became a member of the A&M Records act Head East. He has been actively involved in the music industry ever since. Throughout the years he has served in a number of roles in the business, including: A&R, artist management, composer and producer.At the present time, Tony manages an award-winning songwriting team, is a voting member of the Recording Academy, serves as recording industry consultant to Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, and serves as President of GFI Productions, a full service recording studio that has hosted many notable contributors to the music industry, including, but not limited to, Chris Botti, Jeff Buckley, Trey Anastasio, Mick Taylor and Robert Moog.
Born in Rochester, NY Kevin first became interested in playing guitar when he was 10 years old. This happened in much the same way as it did for many kids his age, after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. At age 16, Kevin formed a band with some high school friends and he has been performing live and recording locally ever since. In the mid 80′s Kevin was a member of the highly successful band Reporter. In 1994 Kevin was a founding member of Perfect World which was an immediate hit on the local music scene and, for the next 12 years, remained one of Rochester’s most popular bands. Kevin currently divides his time between the popular trio, Small Town, as well as Rochester’s highly regarded contemporary country band, Goodness.
Scott Gudell is a combination of a passionate music fan and a historian/music critic. Shows attended at a young age included The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Count Basie, Son House and countless others. Traveling exposed him to live concerts from Berlin to Beijing to Buffalo…and back to Rochester. He eventually became more involved in media as a part time DJ, media sales rep and an author of approximately 1000 articles including interviews with entertainers such as big band leader Artie Shaw, rocker Little Richard and comedian Henny Youngman. With an extensive and extremely diverse LP and CD collection, he strives to combine entertainment with education.
Paul works at WDKX radio station Rochester, NY. He is a professional musician involved with music production and is active in local community musical organizations.