Class of 2017

RMHF Class of 2017

Samuel Adler

Samuel Adler (b. March 4, 1928) is the composer of more than 400 published works, including five operas, six symphonies, 12 concerti, nine string quartets, and five oratorios, all which have been performed across the globe, including the New York Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, and recorded on several labels. He is professor emeritus with Eastman School of Music, where he served on the composition faculty from 1966 to 1995 and as chair of the Composition Department. He most recently has been a member of the composition faculty ?at The Juilliard School.

His compositions have been commissioned by orchestras worldwide as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, and the City of Jerusalem. Adler is the author of three books on choral conducting, sight singing, and orchestration. Born in Germany and raised in Massachusetts, he was educated at Boston and Harvard universities. Adler has given master classes and workshops at hundreds of universities and festivals worldwide and has served as conductor with many major symphony orchestras. Past awards for his impressive work include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Eastman School’s Eisenhard Award for Distinguished Teaching, Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists, and the Aaron Copland Award by ASCAP for Lifetime Achievement in Music. In 2008 Adler was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Joe Beard

Joe Beard (b. Feb. 4, 1938) is Rochester’s legendary blues guitarist and vocalist. He has many times toured the United States as well as Europe and has sat in with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and his idol John Lee Hooker. Beard performed at the inauguration gala of President George H.W. Bush.

He grew up in Ashland, Mississippi, surrounded by aspiring and veteran blues musicians, singing at an early age and taking to the guitar when he was 17. After settling in Rochester in the mid-1950s he formed the Soul Brothers Six and also befriended famed classic blues guitarist Son House, who was his neighbor in Rochester (and now a fellow inductees in the Rochester Music Hall of Fame). Beard and Son House began playing together, including a concert for students at the University of Rochester in 1968. Beard’s music is rooted in the delta and early urban blues of Memphis, Detroit, and Chicago. Critics and fans say his songs have a storytelling quality about them. Beard has recorded several acclaimed blue albums, incuding the critically acclaimed “Blues Union” with musician Ronnie Earl in 1996, which won Offbeat Magazine‘s Blues Album of the Year award.

Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis (b. July 31, 1936) topped the charts in the1960s with his band, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, with eight gold singles and 17 Top 40 hits, plus four gold albums and 45 million records sold worldwide.

The son of a famous father — comedian Jerry Lewis — Gary Lewis sought fame in the music industry and anonymously secured his first gigs at Disneyland as a drummer and vocalist. In 1964 the band took their first single, “This Diamond Ring,” straight to number one. They followed their second hit, “Count Me In,” with several more Top 10 songs, such as “Save Your Heart For Me,” “Everybody Loves A Clown,” “She’s Just My Style,” and “Sure Gonna Miss Her.” In 1965 Gary Lewis was named Cash Box magazine’s “Male Vocalist of the Year,” winning the honor over other nominees Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. He and his band accumulated an impressive five appearances within two years on the Ed Sullivan Show and also appeared on American Bandstand and The Tonight Show.

Today he resides in the Rochester area with his wife and tours with locally based musicians (aka The Playboys).

Uncle Roger McCall

Uncle Roger McCall
(1951-2003) was a late-night DJ at WCMF radio station who for 30 years was affectionately known to his audience as “Uncle Roger.” He had the overnight shift — “Uncle Rog’s Late Night Rock ‘n’ Roll Café” — and he took his listeners on a musical adventure that lasted until the sun came up the next day. On Sunday nights he hosted a program called “Homegrown,” which was the only showcase in the 1980s and ’90s for local artists, playing tapes or indie singles and hosting live interviews in the WCMF studio. This led to a series of “Homegrown” compilation albums where many of the local bands had their first (and sometimes only) recordings released. It has been said that there wasn’t a band of that era in Rochester whose path wasn’t somehow easier because of Roger McCall and his support for local music.

Roger McCall was murdered during a robbery in 2003 at age 52. Much beloved, his funeral line of mourners, including many local musicians, lasted nine hours. According to WCMF, at the time of his death Uncle Rog was the longest running DJ at a single station in the United States, from 1973 to 2003. Radio colleague Brother Wease called Uncle Rog “a major champion of local musicians.”

Uncle Roger began his career in the days before corporate radio, when DJs programmed shows as they pleased. Those who saw him at work said he’d cue up records without looking while loading commercial carts and rewinding reel-to-reel tapes to the exact spot, all while talking, unhurried, with his low-pitched, reassuring demeanor, informing, entertaining, never missing a beat. One fan described it as a “ballet.” “You were watching the master at work, a nocturnal magician with a lifeline to music and imagination,” he said.

Greg Sullivan

Greg Sullivan and The Penny Arcade – 
The Penny Arcade is one of the most revered music clubs in Rochester history, as well as one of the longest-running. Bon Jovi, Iggy Pop, and Joan Jett all played the Arcade, but the real star of The Penny Arcade was founder and longtime owner Greg Sullivan (1947-2014), who has been called “Rochester’s Music Man.” He opened the club on Lake Avenue in Charlotte fresh out of college in 1973.

The Arcade quickly became a favorite among the longhaired, hard-rocking crowds of the 1970s. And when Sullivan sold it for his time in 2000, there were three decades of local rockers who knew they had hit it big when they played the Arcade’s stage. Many believe no other local club had such influence upon Rochester’s music culture. Democrat and Chronicle music critic Jeff Spevak labeled the club the city’s “longtime temple of loud” and said the Arcade might have had the best sound system in the city.

Sullivan was a friend and mentor to musicians, booking bands on their way up AND on their way down. Many musicians say Sullivan gave them their first chance and through his support of the local music scene had an immeasurable impact on the touring and recording careers of countless musicians. Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm said The Penny Arcade was “THE place for rock bands to cut their teeth” because Sullivan’s support for local musicians. While he also had a passion for trains and corvettes, every night he was entrenched in the Rochester music scene. Sullivan died in 2014 at age 67 of a heart attack and musicians have kept his memory alive with musical tributes concerts.

A plaque on the front of the now-closed Penny Arcade reads:

“In memory of Greg Sullivan
ounder of the Penny Arcade
Rochester’s Rock Concert Night Club”

Lew Soloff

Lewis Soloff (1944 to 2015) was an American jazz trumpeter and composer who was an integral member of Blood, Sweat & Tears and the band’s self-titled album that won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1970 — where you can hear his solos on hits like “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “Spinning Wheel.” He joined the band for five albums in total and also onstage at Woodstock in 1969.

Before Blood, Sweat & Tears — of which he was a member at the band’s peak from 1968 to 1973 —Soloff played with Maynard Ferguson and Tito Puente and then went on to play on numerous albums by artists such as George Benson, Marianne Faithfull, Frank Sinatra, and Art Garfunkel.

He is credited for being among a handful of trumpeters capable of playing demanding lead trumpet parts while also contributing improvisational solos, making him an in-demand session player for commercials and soundtracks. The Brooklyn native starting playing trumpet at age 10 and studied in the early 1960s at Eastman School of Music and later at Juilliard, where he worked as an adjunct professor in addition to serving as a professor at Manhattan School of Music for 20 years. Soloff died of a heart attack in 2015 at age 71.