Rochester Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
CANCELED for 2020 

Latest slate of inductees to be celebrated next spring on April 25, 2021 

The Rochester Music Hall of Fame has opted to push its 2020 ceremony until next spring, with the newest class being inducted on April 25, 2021 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago on April 26, 2020, the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees at first intended to postpone until fall. 

“With so many unknowns related to the pandemic regarding public gatherings, we believe it is the better part of valor to not reschedule in 2020, but to wait until next year,” said Jack Whittier, board president. “We want to ensure our inductees and our audience have the same incredible experience the Hall of Fame ceremonies have become known for.”

The plan is to honor in 2021 the five previously announced inductees. Guest stars joining the live event to honor the inductees will be announced a later date. The Rochester Music Hall of Fame’s inductees — now the Class of 2021 — are:

  • Dady Brothers, celebrated traditional folk musicians 
  • Mick Guzauski, multi Grammy®-winning sound and mixing engineer 
  • Nancy Kelly, iconic jazz singer 
  • Michael Laiacona, music industry innovator and founder of Whirlwind 
  • Roy McCurdy, renowned jazz drummer and percussionist 

Those who purchased tickets through the Eastman Theatre box office were offered refunds, including service fees. The board intends to put tickets on sale in November for the 2021 ceremony, allowing music lovers to purchase tickets as holiday gifts. 

The lead sponsor for the non-profit Rochester Music Hall of Fame, which is run by an all-volunteer board, is Canandaigua National Bank. To date, 49 musicians and music-industry innovators have been inducted.

What is still happening in 2020

The annual Douglas Lowry Award will still be granted to two graduating high-school seniors, who have excelled in music and plan on continuing their music education in college. The finalists will audition in late June and the 2020 winners will earn a $1,000 award for college expenses. The Douglas Lowry Award is named for the late Eastman School of Music Dean Douglas Lowry, who advised and supported the Rochester Music Hall of Fame from the beginning and was instrumental in the induction ceremony having a home at the Eastman Theatre. The award is underwritten by LVW Advisors. 

If public gatherings are allowed before the end of 2020, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame may host events at its home location at 25 Gibbs Street. These events would be part of two series: Books Backstage, which launched in 2019, and a new series celebrating local singer/songwriters.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be patient and kind.


“CLASS OF 2020”


Dady Brothers 

The Dady Brothers were a musical duo who performed professionally — and won the hearts of audiences and fans — for more than 40 years.

The music of John and Joe Dady transcends genres and generations by melding American folk roots and Irish traditional influences into an amalgam of sound that is uniquely their own. After entertaining audiences throughout the world for decades, Joe Dady passed away in 2019. Like his brother John, he was a highly skilled instrumentalist and singer. The Dady Brothers have garnered many awards and recognition for their talents and cultural and community contributions.

The instruments they’ve commanded include guitar, four- and five-string banjo, penny whistle, ukulele, fiddle, mandolin, bodhran, harmonica, concertina, and the uilleann pipes.

They have taken their talents to many diverse venues from the reaches of Alaska to Ireland from the Caribbean to Nova Scotia, performing more 5,000 shows at concert halls, schools, music festivals and night clubs. The Dadys hosted more than 20 guided tours of Ireland, escorting hundreds of folks on the tours of their lives.

Fellow musicians also appreciated The Dady Brothers, including Pete Seeger, with whom they’ve performed, and Dave Matthews who said, “I love these guys. Where can I get more of their music?” The late Bat McGrath, a fellow Hall of Famer, declared, “They’re the best acoustic act I’ve seen.”

Performance at the ceremony: John Dady will perform on the Kodak Hall stage, joined by musicians John Michael Ryan, Perry Cleveland, and Gary Holt.


Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly was born in Rochester, N.Y. and grew up in the suburb of Scottsville. She embraced music beginning at the age of four and studied piano, clarinet, drama, and dance with private instructors and voice at the Eastman School of Music. Today she resides in Fair Haven, a village east of Rochester on the shores of Lake Ontario, and has music schools in Rochester and Syracuse, plus hosts video lessons worldwide for aspiring and fellow artists.

During her four-decade career she has honed her trademark swing/bop style in front of audiences across the United States and internationally, from Singapore to Switzerland, France to Turkey, and tours of Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Jakarta. 

Kelly, who is known for her impeccable phrasing, performs regularly in New York City at The Blue Note, Birdland, The Rainbow Room, and Dizzy’s Jazz Club, as well as performances at Lincoln Center. She also works frequently in Los Angeles and Miami, taking the stage at jazz clubs and festivals and with symphony orchestras across the country. 

She was twice named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the Down Beat Readers’ Poll. Her six CDs have been critically acclaimed, including her debut CD, “Live Jazz,” which reached no. 11 on the Billboard charts. Her fifth CD held for several weeks in the Top 50 on the national JazzWeek charts and received rave reviews from critics worldwide. 

Performance at the ceremony: Nancy Kelly will perform on the Kodak Hall stage with her band — Dino Losito, Jimmy John, Danny Vitali, and Bobbie Militello.


Mick Guzauski (pronouncer: guh-ZOW-ski)

Nathan “Mick” Guzauski is a multi Grammy®-winning mixing engineer and sound engineer who has been personally hand-selected by numerous artists to mix their songs and albums — including Michael Jackson, Prince, Daft Punk, Eric Clapton, Marc Anthony, Pharrell Williams, and Janelle Monáe.

His work spans a wide range of styles, including jazzR&BLatinrockpop, easy listening, funk, and hip hop. He has mixed 27 no. 1 hit singles and numerous albums, for which he has won Grammy® Awards for Best Engineered Album as well as Latin Grammys®. In 2005, he earned an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series for his work on Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival (Great Performances).

Guzauski grew up in Rochester, and when in high school created a recording studio in his parents’ basement — as there were no local commercial studios where he could work. In his studio he used equipment that he built, borrowed, repaired, and modified. He did pickup engineer work with fellow Hall of Famers Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, and Lou Gramm. 

Around the same time, he met fellow Hall of Famer Chuck Mangione, an up-and-coming composer in Rochester, and engineered his recordings as well as mixed his live sound. When Mangione signed with A&M Records in 1975, he invited Guzauski to relocate to Los Angeles to engineer his new album — a recording with a 45-piece orchestra, with a rhythm section and soloists, at A&M studios. Guzauski engineered several albums for Mangione over the next few years.

During his five decades at the mixing board, he has worked with dozens of artists, including Earth, Wind and Fire, Burt BacharachDionne Warwick, MadonnaTalking HeadsJohnny MathisHenry ManciniPatti LaBelleStanley ClarkeBackstreet Boys, Quincy Jones, Kenny GGeorge Benson, Henry Mancini, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Celene Dion, Cher, Barry Gibb, and Whitney Houston. 

Performance at the ceremony: Artists will be announced soon for the musical tribute honoring Guzauski’s legacy.


Michael Laiacona (pronouncer: LIE-uh-cone-uh)

Whirlwind Music Distributors has kept the biggest rock tours and major events worldwide wired for 45 years — all from its headquarters in Greece, N.Y. The hometown company, founded and owned by Michael Laiacona, manufactures the world’s largest range of professional audio lighting and AC power interfacing products. In short, they are the guys that connect everything — from the guitar cord to the splitter snakes to the broadcast truck to the road cases they’re truck-packed in, to the portable power distribution that makes it all possible.

Clients using Whirlwind cables and connectors include The Pentagon, the White House, NASA, Disney World, major league sports stadiums and arenas, and rockers like Cheap Trick, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Laiacona started Whirlwind in 1975 after helping launch MXR, a company that made effects pedals for guitars, creating a variety of new and altered sounds heard on nearly every album recorded in the 1970s. Among Laiacona’s customers was John Lennon, who thanked him personally for the inventive product.

Laiacona is a musician himself, playing bass as a kid in a garage band and today as a member of local band Black Rabbit. Through his own work as a musician and traversing the country for MXR, he witnessed musicians and crews trying to build their own snakes and guitar cords, struggling to safely, and dependably, connect the amps, instruments, and speakers on the stage and to the sound booth stationed in the audience. He saw a need and launched his new business, first with guitar cables and grew it from there.

As the audio and visual business has evolved, so has Whirlwind, which is widely known in the music industry for quality and innovation. Laiacona and his team strategize with each client to provide a package of American-made Whirlwind products to meet their needs. Whirlwind’s equipment has a reputation for reliability and sturdiness, as the products are intentionally overbuilt, and designed to perform night after night, tour after tour, year after year.

Laiacona formed Whirlwind with his late wife, Bonnie Gardner in the early 1970s. The company started on Boxart Street in Rochester and moved their ever-expanding factory to Ling Road about 20 years ago. Today the company has more than 130 employees and for several decades Laiacona has employed hundreds of working Rochester musicians at Whirlwind.

Performance at the ceremony: A musical tribute to Laiacona’s legacy will be performed by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, and Grammy®-winning guitarist, Steve Stevens, who is the lead guitarist for Billy Idol.


Roy McCurdy

The list of artists with whom Roy McCurdy has recorded or toured is a stunning “Who’s Who” — Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Herbie Hancock, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Nancy Wilson, and Diana Krall, as well as fellow Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees Chuck Mangione and Gap Mangione.

A Rochester native, McCurdy began playing drums at age 9 and took lessons as a teenager with Bill Street at the Eastman School of Music, and at age 17 performed with Roy Eldridge and Eddie Vinson. He continued to be inspired and influenced by many jazz greats in the circles in which he played.

Early in his career, in addition to serving in the U.S. Air Force, he joined the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet and then traveled internationally and extensively as a member of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. McCurdy has recorded chart-topping albums with pop artist Kenny Rankin and appears on Rollins’s 1963 classic “Sonny Meets Hawk,” Adderley’s Grammy-winning 1966 “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and 1983 album “Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company.” He also has done studio work for NBC and contributed to several commercial jingles. 

Modern Drummer magazine noted that McCurdy opened the door for funk and fusion by emphasizing the backbeat and employing a definitive bass drum pattern.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, McCurdy described his love of performing music: “If everybody is playing together, if it’s happening right, then it would get to such a level that you would feel like you were floating, almost out of your body so that you could look down and watch yourself play. It’s a beautiful peak to get to.”

McCurdy serves as an adjunct professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California and serves on the faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. 

Performance at the ceremony: Roy McCurdy will perform at the ceremony alongside Rochester-based musicians — Dan Vitale, bass; Colin Gordon, saxophone; Dino Losito, piano; and Bob Sneider, guitar.


“CLASS OF 2019”

  • Jack Allocco – 11 time Emmy Award-winning composer and record producer.
    Performance at the ceremony: Jack Allocco and Prime Time Funk will accompany musician Gary Wright, who will perform his 1970s hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive” — for which Allocco has written the current arrangements. They will be joined by a 48 piece orchestra comprised of Nazareth College music students.
  • Al Jardine – Founding member, guitarist and vocalist for the Beach Boys.
    Performance at the ceremony: Al Jardine will perform hits of the Beach Boys, joined on stage by his son, his musical director, and Prime Time Funk.
  • Christine Lavin – Iconic contemporary folk singer/songwriter/guitarist/humorist and recording artist.
    Performance at the ceremonyChristine Lavin will perform a selection of her original songs joined by members from the Golden Link Folk Society.
  • Jeffrey Springut – Music promoter and owner of Rochester’s legendary Red Creek music venue.
    Performance at the ceremony: Orleans’ lead singer John Hall.
  • WCMF-FM 96.5 – Classic-rock radio station celebrating its 50th anniversary.
    Performance at the ceremony: An All Star Rock N’ Roll Supergroup, including Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from Guns N’ Roses on guitar; Phil Naro of Talas on lead vocals; Tony Franklin of The Firm and White Snake on bass; Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge on drums.
  • Also performing: Austin Giorgio

                                     RECEIVING A RMHF SPECIAL MERIT AWARD
  • Dave Kane – Long-time personality and WCMF midday host enjoying his 38th year on-the-air with the same station.

2019 Induction Ceremony Videos


RMHF All Star Supergroup: Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Phil Naro, Tony Franklin, Carmine Appice

Posted by Rochester Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 28, 2019


2019 All Star Rock N’ Roll Supergroup

Photo curtesy of Brad Howe and his Galaxy S10


“CLASS OF 2018”

  • John Beck – Percussionist and composer and Eastman School of Music faculty member for 60 years, where he is Professor Emeritus of Percussion.
  • The Campbell Brothers – Masters of sacred steel music.
      • Chuck Campbell
      • Darick Campbell
      • Phil Campbell
      • Carlton Campbell
  • Steve Gadd – One of the most accomplished and skilled drummers of his generation, performing in studio and on tour with various artists, including Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Eric Clapton.
  • Tony Levin – Veteran bassist who is currently a member of the Peter Gabriel band as well as King Crimson and Stick Men.Ferdinand Jay Smith III – Emmy-nominated composer and former DJ and manager.
  • Ferdinand Jay Smith III – Emmy-nominated composer, advertising mogul, rock band manager and former Radio DJ.

    2018 Induction Ceremony Videos


“CLASS OF 2017”

  • Samuel Adler – Celebrated classical composer.
  • Joe Beard – Blues guitarist and vocalist.
  • Gary Lewis – Guitarist, singer, recording star, 1960s hitmaker with Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
  • “Uncle Roger” McCall – Pioneer radio DJ who hosted the local music Homegrown Show.
  •  Lewis Soloff – Grammy Award-winning trumpeter for Blood, Sweat and Tears.
  • Greg Sullivan and The Penny Arcade – Legendary supporter of the local music scene and owner of The Penny Arcade, a popular music venue.



“CLASS OF 2016”

  • Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis – Saxophonist, composer
  • Howard Hanson – Musician, Composer and Educater 
  • Joe Locke – Vibraphonist, Recording Artist
  • James Rado – Actor, Playwright and Composer
  • The Rustix – R&B/blue-eyed soul band, Recording Artists
      • Chuck Brucato
      • George Cocchini
      • Ron Collins
      • David Colon Jr.
      • Vince Strenk
      • Bob D’Andrea
      • Al Galich
      • Bob Soehner
  • Wendy O. Williams – Singer, Songwriter, and Actress 


“CLASS OF 2015”

  • Ron Carter – Jazz bassist 
  • Henry Juszkiewicz – Gibson Guitar Co. owner/CEO 
  • Gap Mangione – Jazz keyboardist  
  • William Warfield – Bass baritone concert singer/actor  
  • Wilmer Alexander Jr. & The Dukes – R & B band
      • Ronnie Alberts
      • Monty Alberts
      • Doug Brown
      • Bob Egan
      • Ralph Gillotte
      • Wilmer Alexander, Jr.


        “CLASS OF 2014”

      • Duke Jupiter – Rock band, recording artists
          • Marshall Styler
          • Greg Walker
          • George Barajas
          • Earl Jetty
          • Don Maracle
          • David Hanlon
          • Rickey Ellis
          • Dave Corcoran
      • David Hochstein – Violinist
      • Emily Sibley Watson – Philanthropist 
      • House of Guitars – Music Store
      • WDKX – Radio Station

        2014 Special Merit Award Winners

        • Ethel Gabriel – Frst female record producer. & Grammy winner
        • Peter Morticelli – Musician, recording artist, record-company owner, record producer, production consultant, record-shop owner, booking agent, and personal manager.


        2014 Video


        “CLASS OF 2013”

        • George Eastman – Industrialist, philanthropist and music enthusiast
        • Lou Gramm – Singer/songwriter
        • Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. – Delta Blues singer/bottleneck guitar player
        • Bat McGrath – Singer/songwriter/guitarist
        • Mitch Miller – Musician/Singer/Conductor/Recording Star/Record Producer/TV Star
        • Nick Nickson – DJ
        • Jack Palvino – DJ
        • Don Potter – Singer/songwriter/guitarist/record producer


        “CLASS OF 2012”

        • Corinthian Hall – Entertainment / Lecture Venue  
        • The Performances of Jenny Lind – Singer  (The “Swedish Nightingale”)
        • Cab Calloway – Singer / Dancer / Band Leader / Song Writer
        • Gene Cornish – Guitarist / Singer / Song Writer
        • Doriot Anthony Dwyer – Pioneering female flutist
        • Joe English – Drummer / Singer / Band leader
        • Chuck Mangione – Flugelhorn player/ Composer / Band leader / Recording Artist
        • Charles Strouse – Broadway, Film and TV Composer / Lyricist
        • Jeff Tyzik – Conductor / Arranger / Composer / Trumpeter