Our Board of Directors

Photo by Jim Dolan

Photo by Jim Dolan

RMHF Board of Directors 2015

Karl LaPorta, President
Karl has been a professional musician for over 45 years and a Piano Technician for more than 35 years. he spent 26 years in the offset printing business. 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 and through his efforts the dream has been realized.

Jack Whittier, Vice-President
Jack is a professional musician and 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. He is the Chief Financial Officer at Brothers International Food Corp and once served in that same position for Palmer Food Services.

Donna LaPorta, Secretary
Donna, who has been married to Karl for 41 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 retired from the office of Town Clerk for the Town of Gates.

Bill Hunt
Bill is a professional musician and a local music history enthusiast.  His research has brought to light the names of long forgotten local musicians, past venues and momentous area musical events dating back as far as the early 1800’s.  Bill is retired from the United States Postal Service and now serves as chairman of the RMHF Criteria and Selection Committees.

Steven Feder
Steve is a litigation law partner at Pirrello, Personte & Feder, and counsel to the Rochester
Music Hall of Fame. Once a full-time musician and band leader, he now performs part-time with longtime area group Time Bandits.

Jim Richmond
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, Tower of Power, Gene Cornish, Lou Gramm, and Grammy winners Terrance Simien and CJ Chenier among others.

Tracy Kroft
A development, 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).  She is an avid photographer, volunteers for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz
Festival and is on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.Tracy has a passion to recognize, celebrate and honor the tremendous musical tradition of Rochester.

Bruce Pilato
Bruce is a 40-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, Little River Band 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. He is also a University of Rochester and Nazareth College music education professor, and a voting member of The Recording Academy.

Tony Gross
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.

Scott Gudell
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 Boutté
Paul Boutté is a professional musician, songwriter, producer, and adjunct professor of music at SUNY Brockport. He is program director/host of “Sunday Morning Gospel” on 103.9 WDKX, and was producer and session musician with Edwin Hawkins, Missy Elliot,
Shaquille O’Neal, Jodeci, and more.

Steve Czubara
For twenty years Steve has worked with Whirlwind Music in Rochester brokering sales and providing custom audio and video equipment installations and products for such clientele as Radio City Music Hall, Julliard School of Music, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lenny Kravitz, Phish, Ani DeFranco and many more.   As a music lover with a thirty year passion for photography Steve has had photographs published on album covers, magazines and newspapers etc. featuring some of rock’s greatest stars including David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Elton John.  With an appreciation for the art of musical entertainment Steve has also promoted concerts from Rochester to Syracuse.

Jerry Falzone
A veteran of the road, Jerry Falzone spent his twenties traveling throughout the Eastern and Southern states and Canada with rock band Pearl. He spent the next five years as a talent agent for Rochester Talent Unlimited where he established road tours for local bands. He produced the TV show Beyond the Lyric with Debbie Randyn that featured local and national songwriters. Jerry Falzone has co-produced CDs for Debbie Randyn and Mason Tyler as well as three of his own CDs. Jerry is a songwriter with a Top Album Pick from Billboard Magazine (For Pearl’s first LP release), has established the Lake Shore Coffee House Series and Fandango at The Tango, a weekly concert series featuring local and national songwriters. Jerry is married to Kathy Anetrini-Falzone, works as a Senior Account Executive at IMS Direct and lives in Rochester.

Diane Baltadonis
For over twenty years Diane has been involved with the Rochester music industry as a volunteer and host of events that have featured renown performers such as Lou Rawls and Vic Damone.  In addition to her vocal talent Diane has studied piano, guitar, flute and oboe. She has shared her love of music at various talent shows, nursing homes and corporate events.  Currently she is a Sr. Administrative Assistant for First Niagara Bank.

Mike Dornberger
Mike s a professional musician who moved to Rochester from Los Angeles California in 2003. He has been the lead singer for bands in Florida, California, and locally including his current band Hallpass.  As the singer for Perfect World, he shared the stage with his good friend and RMHF founder Karl LaPorta.  Currently Mike is an associate Broker with Nothnagle Realtors and also a stage manager for the Rochester International Jazz Festival as well as other events. Since 2004 he has been happily married to his wife and high school prom date, Lori.

Cynthia Gray
Cindee’s passion for music and for preserving and promoting our rich cultural tradition in the Rochester community led her to the RMHF board. She also serves on several other non-profit boards and committees including CCSI, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and Heritage Christian Services.  She has spent most of her professional career at RIT in government and community relations and special events, and is currently the assistant vice president for the alliance between RIT and Rochester Regional Health.