NEWS RELEASE (Feb. 27, 2023)
Rochester Music Hall of Fame announces 2023 inductees: Fred Costello, Garth Fagan, Majestics, Sebastian Marino, Tweet, and Brother Wease
Tenth induction ceremony is April 30 at Eastman Theatre
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Music Hall of Fame announced today the 2023 inductees:
• Fred Costello: Famed Rochester Red Wings organist and the longest-reigning sports organist in U.S. history
• Garth Fagan: Tony Award-winning choreographer who revolutionized modern dance and Broadway dance
• Majestics: Reggae-style Rochester band celebrating its 50th anniversary
• Sebastian Marino: Concert producer, songwriter, and lead guitarist with heavy-metal bands Anvil and Overkill
• Tweet: (Charlene Keys): Soulful vocalist and songwriter who had chart-topping hits and provided backing vocals on recordings for Missy Elliott, Madonna, and Whitney Houston
• Brother Wease (Alan Levin): Colorful and celebrated radio personality and community supporter and inductee of the National Radio Hall of Fame
During a press event this morning, board members of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame (RMHF) unveiled photos as the inductee names were announced and their music legacies shared. The 10th induction ceremony of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame will take the stage Sunday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Musical performances honoring each inductee will be announced in coming weeks. The lineup will include live performances by Fred Costello, The Majestics, Tweet, and dancers of Garth Fagan Dance, along with celebrity guest performers.
The Hall of Fame celebrates 54 inductees to date. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust continues as the ceremony’s presenting sponsor and returning as the ceremony’s popular house band is Prime Time Funk. Tickets for the April 30 ceremony and performance are on sale now at the Eastman Theatre box office and online at EastmanTheatre.org or RochesterMusic.org.
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame celebrates and preserves the legacy of music of Rochester natives or music professionals who spent their formative years in Rochester. The all-volunteer board of the non-profit Hall of Fame — of which most members are musicians themselves — have modeled this event after world-class music awards shows like the Kennedy Center Honors, the Grammy® Awards, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“Rochester has a rich and diverse musical heritage and we are proud to foster and celebrate that through the Rochester Music Hall of Fame,” said Jack Whittier, president of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
The 2023 Inductees
Fred Costello (pronouncer: kahs-TELL-oh)
The famed Rochester Red Wings organist has been entertaining fans at Red Wings games since 1977. Fred holds the title of longest-reigning sports organist in U.S. history! His musical background includes performances in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Hollywood, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. When he’s not high atop the stadium, his jazz group “Fred Costello & Company” is performing at local clubs and events OR you’ll find him at Costello Music Studio at the House of Guitars.
Among Fred’s past honors are being featured as top sports organist on NBC’s “Game Of The Week,” being elected to the Rochester Walk Of Fame in 1999, and receiving the prestigious “Spirit of the International League Award” in 2011.
Fred’s autobiography is titled “A LIFETIME OF NIGHTCLUBS & BALLPARKS” and focuses on his role on and off the baseball field, as a ball player AND organ player. Beyond of his longevity with the team, proof of his dedication to Rochester AND the Red Wings is his turning down offers by several teams to be THEIR organist – including the Sabres, the Mets, and the Yankees
Garth Fagan (pronouncer: FAY-gan)
The Tony Award-winning choreographer not only revolutionized modern dance but also Broadway dance with his groundbreaking work on The Lion King. Critics have hailed Garth Fagan as “a trail blazer” and “a wizard.” Through his work as a dancer AND choreographer, he developed the Fagan Technique … fusing the weight of modern dance with the vitality of Afro-Caribbean movement … the speed and precision of ballet … and the risk-taking experimentation of post modernism.
The native of Jamaica studied dance with many pioneers, including Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham. In 1970 he founded the beginnings of his Garth Fagan Dance company in Rochester. What started as a hometown dance troupe has evolved into an internationally acclaimed, contemporary American dance company that continuously captivates and inspires diverse audiences around the world. Garth Fagan has single-handedly made Rochester an incubator for world-class contemporary dance.
He has created more than 75 works for the theater and concert stage. The music he explores in his dances represents an eclectic blend of jazz, African, modern, and classical traditions. He has set to movement the scores of many composers, including Brahms, Dvorak, Vivaldi, Miles Davis, Philip Glass, and Wynton Marsalis. Fagan has been bestowed honorary doctorates from Juilliard, the University of Rochester, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. For his theater choreography he has earned the highest honor for American theater, the Tony Award, as well as the penultimate for British theater, the Laurence Olivier Award.
Majestics (pronouncer: much-JESS-tiks)
This Rochester band is celebrating its 50th anniversary of performing original roots music plus distinct versions of classic reggae songs. The three original members — Ron Stackman, Jim Schwarz, and Lou LaVilla — began performing together in 1972. The first band was named Bahama Mama, and the three founders have been performing under the name the Majestics since 1980. Originally a trio, they developed a fanbase in upstate New York — with Stackman on Hammond B-2, clavinet, and guitar, and Jim on bass and Lou on drums. They backed Lee “Scratch” Perry on a string of dates opening for The Clash in New York City, as well as recordings with Perry in Jamaica. In the mid 1980s, the Majestics added two members to round out their sound — Rudy Valentino on guitar and the late Brother Fitzroy James from Trinidad on percussion. Throughout the 1980s the Majestics toured throughout the Northeast opening for the most popular reggae acts in history, including Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Third World, Gregory Issacs, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, The Wailers, and Ziggy Marley. The Majestics also recorded an EP titled “Future Now,” which hints at the fact that, as some have said, the band’s clever mix of rock and reggae was ahead of its time. Today the Majestics are actively playing the Rochester music scene, the original trio is joined by Kevin Hart on guitar and Vince Ercolamento on saxophones.
Sebastian Marino (pronouncer: muh-REEN-oh)
Marino was a revered concert producer, a prolific songwriter, and talented lead guitarist who performed and recorded with heavy-metal bands Anvil and Overkill. Marino passed away unexpectedly on New Year’s Day at age 57 while working a music gig. He was a trusted friend to many musicians locally and nationally. Marino performed with several Rochester area bands in the 1980s before hitting international stages. He was with Canadian band Anvil from 1989 to 1995 and wrote half of the songs on the band’s 1991 album “Worth the Weight.” He performed on three of Overkill’s albums between 1996 and 1999.
Members of Anvil and Overkill took to social media to speak to Seb’s talents upon news of his passing. A post from Overkill noted, “The music world has lost one of the good ones.” After graduating from Cardinal Mooney High School, Seb studied classical guitar at Hochstein, MCC, and the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He taught private guitar lessons at his home and the House of Guitars. After years of touring and recording, Marino pivoted in the late 1990s to a different kind of heavy metal — erecting stages and providing lighting and sound for area musicians. He founded the concert-production company Audio Images Sound & Lighting in Batavia and produced live shows for music venues, festivals, and tours along the East Coast, including the Rochester Jazz Festival and Fairport Music Festival. Marino also worked nationally as a crew member on several rock tours, including Carl Palmer, Yes, and Asia. He was so pivotal to the sound and performance of some Rochester acts that they considered Marino a member of the band, such as Uncle Plum and the Skycoasters. Former lead singer of Uncle Plum, Elvio Fernandes, spearheaded the local groundswell to nominate Seb for induction into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
Tweet (Charlene Keys) (pronouncer: shar-LEAN)
Tweet is a soulful vocalist and songwriter who has had chart-topping hits. She also has provided backing vocals on recordings for Missy Elliott, Madonna, Whitney Houston, and more. Tweet grew up in Rochester as Charlene Keys and began her musical journey singing in church. She graduated from Rochester’s School of the Arts and teamed up with Missy Elliott and Timbaland and other aspiring artists to create music here in Rochester at Dajhelon Studios, as part of the Swing Mob Collective. Tweet was a member of the girl group Sugah before recording her first solo album, titled “Southern Hummingbird.” That album produced her biggest hit, “Oops (Oh My),” which reached no. 7 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2002 and hit no. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts.
Other hits followed for this Atlantic and Elektra recording artist, including “Call Me,” which was featured in a Verizon ad campaign, and “Smoking Cigarettes.” She continues to collaborate with Missy Elliott, whom Tweet considers her “guardian angel.” In 2003 Tweet was nominated “Best New Artist” by the Soul Train Awards and her latest album, “Charlene,” was named to the list of “Best R&B Albums of 2016” by Rolling Stone magazine.
Brother Wease (Alan Levin) (pronouncer: LEH-vin)
The colorful and celebrated radio personality has experienced immense success during an on-air career that has spanned nearly four decades. In 2021, Wease became the first-ever Rochester radio personality to be inducted in the National Radio Hall of Fame. He was earlier inducted in the New York State Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame in 2009. With consistent no. 1 ratings, Wease has regularly used his radio presence and popularity to do good for others and his community. He is the founder of Riding for a Reason, the Wease Cares Children’s Fund, and Kick Cancer’s Ass. Through his own past battle with cancer, he is proud to have never missed a radio show throughout treatment. Wease is presently the morning voice and ringleader of iHeartRadio’s Radio 95.1. He grew up in Rochester as Alan Levin and began the first of three tours of duty in Vietnam at 19-years-old. He began his on-air radio career hosting late night shifts in 1985 for WCMF radio, segueing to the immensely popular “Brother Wease Morning Circus.” At one time it seemed every car in Rochester was sporting a yellow-and-black bumper sticker that simply read, “WEASE.” He is revered as an iconic Rochester institution. A lifelong music fan, Wease helped emcee Woodstock concerts in 1994 and 1999. Well-known concert promoter John Scher called Brother Wease, “One of the greatest DJs in the history of the modern music industry.”
The Douglas Lowry Award
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame annually honors and supports a graduating high-school senior the Douglas Lowry Award. The honor recognizes students who have excelled in music and plan on continuing their music education in college. The 2023 winner will be invited to perform at the induction ceremony in addition to earning a $2,000 award for college expenses. Applications are being accepted now through March 17.
The Douglas Lowry Award is named for the late Eastman School of Music Dean Douglas Lowry, who advised and supported the RMHF from the beginning and was instrumental in the induction ceremony having a home at the Eastman Theatre. The Douglas Lowry Award application is online at RochesterMusic.org. Direct link: https://rochestermusic.org/douglas-lowry-award/
About the Award Artist
The creator and crafter of the inductee awards since their inception is Rochester artist Mark McDermott. He is the owner of Archigraphia, which specializes in one-of-a-kind metal sculptures, fine furniture, and architectural designs.
An electronic press kit with this release, photographs of the inductees, and links to video clips and sound files is online https://app.box.com/s/kmqaga7a45qutanpdq24ao0lzvhkglb0
Dresden Engle (585) 319-1812 email@example.com