A Season of Sound and Literature at the
Rochester Music Hall of Fame
After eight years of honoring various music professionals at the annual April induction ceremony, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame has set its sights on 2019 as the year the RMHF grows and does even more to systematically honor and support the area’s rich music scene. The first two series launched in 2019 were Grove Place Jazz and Books Backstage. Let’s take a look at the recently concluded Books Backstage 2019 (generously sponsored by Finger Lakes Community College) and what might happen in 2020.
We came out of the gate as strong as possible in February by hosting RMHF inductee Lou Gramm (with Scott Pitoniak) as Gramm discussed his book Juke Box Hero. Since he had announced his retirement a few days prior, there was incredible press coverage and wall-to-wall attendance at the new 25 Gibbs Street venue, directly across the street from the Eastman School of Music. The March guest was yet another RMHF inductee, percussionist John Beck, with help from Bill Cahn. Beck talked about his Percussion Matters book, brought along one of THE first percussion instruments ever played by members of the Rochester Philharmonic nearly a century ago and then he and Cahn performed an impromptu duo percussion piece from the stage. Later that month, Peter Connors (with musical guest Charley Orlando) visited the RMHF and talked about several of his books about the Grateful Dead and about various jam bands. The RMHF hosted Syracuse University professor Dave Yaffe in which Leah Zicari stood out as musical guest at the April event and performed several Joni Mitchell songs. Rick Falkowski (the founder of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame) visited in May as he and rockabilly artist Ed Bentley closed out the series by focusing on the history of the Buffalo music scene and how, at times, it related to the Rochester music scene.
As we look to 2020, we’re hoping to continue to invite out-of-town authors to balance those based in Rochester. Also, whether a book is about jazz, classical, rock etc., we hope to continue to balance all styles and possibly include music industry producers, promoters, photographers and others. Wrote a good book lately? Contact us!
NYS Country Music Hall of Famer
Vern Young dies at 95
LAMAR- Guy Lewis “Vern” Young, 95, of Lamar, Missouri, passed away on June 14, 2019. Vern, who had resided in Lamar since 1989 had enjoyed a longtime career in the country/bluegrass music world.
Vern was born February 10, 1924, in Palmyra, New York, to Howard and Frances (Weeks) Young. He was reared by his grandparents, Fred and Carrie Young in Palmyra. He began his music career at the age of 15 and Vern credited his music with bringing him all the good things in life since that time.
Vern performed in the Eastern states and Canada with his late wife Anne Young in the 40’s and 50’s. They did live radio shows in Rochester, NY, along with owning a record shop in Rochester, NY before they moved to Nashville, Tenn. In 1951, Vern joined Bill Monroe’s bluegrass band for a short stint, but later that year he returned to Rochester where he became a regularly featured guest on Max Raney’s TV show on WHAM TV and Sparkey Gillen’s weekly radio show on WHEC Radio in Rochester. He hosted his own daily broadcast of recorded country music on SSAY in Rochester.
After moving out west to Utah, Vern became an award-winning radio announcer on KSOP, the powerful voice of country music in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After a few years Vern left his radio career and graduated from the Utah Highway Patrol Academy in Salt Lake City and took a job as a deputy sheriff in Tooele County, Utah. He later was a deputy sheriff in Virginia City, Nevada and a marshal in Granby, Colo.
After spending a short time back in radio work in the York, PA area, he returned to the Salt Lake City area where he began working for the federal government in security and later as an aircraft firefighter at Hill Air Force Base bombing range on the Great Salt Lake Desert.
It was after retiring and being invited to do a live concert at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City that Vern moved to Missouri and started booking his country/bluegrass band throughout the United States.
Some of Vern’s music recognitions and awards include being inducted into “America’s Old Time Country Hall of Fame” in 2002. In October 2006 Vern was inducted into the New York State Country Music Hall of Honor in Cortland, NY.
Vern also won the Midwest State Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) “Traditional Male Singer of the Year” award 11 years. He was nominated for the prestigious SPBGMA Award in Nashville, Tenn. by fans in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Vern married Opal I. (Gardner) Sims on December 19, 1997 in Laughlin, Nevada. She survives of the home in Lamar, Missouri. He is survived by four children, Steve Young and wife Edie of Rochester, NY, Audie Young of Rochester, NY, Juanita Floyd of Leesburg, VA and Randy Young; four stepchildren, Nancy Trotter and Bradley Sims, both of Lamar, MO, Kenneth Sims of Nixa, MO and Kimala Dodson of Olathe, Kan; several half brothers and sisters; eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren; and a very special friend, Joe Smith of Lamar, MO. Vern was preceded in death by a daughter, Michelle Openshaw and a daughter-in-law, Ellen Young.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, June 17, 2019, at 7 p.m., at Konantz Warden Funeral Home in Lamar, MO. There will be a visitation before the service beginning at 6 p.m. Interment, with a grave side service, will be at the Marion Cemetery in Marion, NY on Thursday June 20, 2019 at 10 a.m.
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on June 16, 2019
Joe Dady, Irish string musician, dies at 61
ROCHESTER MUSIC HALL OF FAME’S SON HOUSE IS GLORIOUSLY CELEBRATED BY GEVA’S “REVIVAL:
THE RESURRECTION OF SON HOUSE”
Director Kevin Glover has said that “music guides you – it gives you a frame of reference” ashe set out to write Revival: The Resurrection of Son House and to give us an idea about who this complex man was. For those of us who did see blues icon Son House and Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee perform, (no, I didn’t see him in the 1930s but I did see him in the 1970s,) much of his power had shifted from his bodacious presentation in the early part of the 20thcentury to his flickering aura but still strong presence during the later part of the century. But he was still in command of songs right up to the end including “John The Revelator,” Death Letter” and “Preachin’ Blues”. You’ll hear these and more Son House songs (with current help from music director Billy Thompson) between May 2 – June 2 as Rochester’s GEVA Theater salutes one of the pillars of the blues, Eddie “Son” House.
As the play opens, Glover’s passion play choses to surround Son House with a quartet of angels instead of a dozen apostles. The angel’s question whether House is worthy of a glorious resurrection. Admit the former reverend / blues singer to heaven or sentence him to have his flesh burn for eternity. The debate begins. We’re quickly escorted back to 1917 as a fifteen-year-old House first ventures into the world of preaching. If the parched fields of the Mississippi delta promise bloody hands from toiling in gritty dirt, surely the holy pulpit will be more welcoming and comfortable. His life story begins to unfold as angels, devils, spirits, sinners, singers, women. alcohol and others drift in and out of his long life. He eventually finds his own passion for singing and presenting the blues, the antithesis of the world of righteous religion, and faithful follows that road. With help from record producers, juke joint owners and friends such as Willie Brown and Charlie Patton, House learns how to harness and ride the thunder and lighting of the blues and delivers it via his legendary voice that was surely heard all the way to the heights of the heavens and, probably, to the twisted depths of hell. A few recording contracts elevate his stature in the 1930s and then – he disappears. By the time several blues fans re-discover him in Rochester, New York in 1964, the guitar is gone but shaky hands and unsteady feet are most surely present since alcohol and House had remained very close. But the resurrection on earth began, new recordings were made, concert appearance from festival to ancient turn-of-the-century buildings took place and a blues revival rippled from the US to the UK. The renewed interest in the blues helped create the foundation for the British Invasion as House and other veteran blues artists were re-discovered and re-recorded. As for House, the return may have been flawed but it was mighty and assured his place in the history books.
We’ll leave reviews for others but the core of the play, protagonist Cleavant Derricks, is powerful, passionate and potent. He IS Son House and his presentation is nothing short of stunning. If you’re wondering where Son House’s spirit is right now, it most certainly dwells inside Derricks.
(May / 2019)
Lead Guitarist of Wilmer Alexander And The Dukes
dies at 78
Rochester, New York
Suddenly, Wednesday April 10, 2019
Predeceased by his wife; Barbara Brown.
Survived by is Sons; Chad Brown, Chris (Deby) Auerbach-Brown. Daughter; Tracy Brown.
Grandchildren; Caleb, Caroline Auerbach-Brown, Madeline and Benjamin Blanco.
Doug was a well know guitarist for the band Wilmer and the Dukes. They were well know in the Rochester area in the 1960’s until the 1970’s.
He wrote the song, “Give Me One More Chance”. The band was inducted into The Rochester Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Doug worked hard as a machinist at many shops until recently and in his retirement, guiding many new employees to the old school ways of the industry.
He was a great husband, father, and a fan to many. His interview can be viewed on YouTube were he was interviewed live on “Good Morning” Wham 13 News. He will be missed by so many but never forgotten. His legacy will live on in his music.
Watch a video interview with Doug. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n2GGs9Xypc
GIVE ME ONE MORE CHANCE” by Doug Brown
A Note From RMHF 2019 Inductee, Al Jardine
Thank you to the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, Jack Whittier, Tracy Hughes Kroft, Bruce Pilato and everyone involved who put on such an epic event at the Eastman Theatre last Sunday. It was an honor to be part of the class of 2019 and you all made me feel so welcome to be back in the town I grew up in. Congratulations to the other inductees to, Jack Allocco, Christine Lavin, Jeff Springut and Dave Kane and 96.5 WCMF–it was fun sharing the stage with you all including John Hall, Gary Wright. Austin Giorgio and the WCMF All Star Rock N’ Roll Supergroup, (Phil Naro, Ron Thal, Tony Franklin & Carmine Appice). And as always, a BIG thank you to as=ll the fane who showed up. It was great seeing you all and meeting some of you too.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Induction Ceremony March 29, 2019
Barclays Center, Brooklyn / New York
By Scott Gudell
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame is one of a number of music halls of fame in the country – we have sister ones in both Syracuse and in Buffalo for example. April 28 is the date for Rochester’s 2019 ceremony. Even though one of the national halls of fame – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – conducted their ceremony on March 29, HBO will present it on April 27, the day before the Rochester one. Here’s a look at what happened on March 29, the date it was taped…
When the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City was contemplating how to build the MOMA’s collection, he advocated maintaining “a respectful (time) distance” from the artist. As one MOMA expert stated, “…a minimal perspective was necessary before a definitive judgement could be passed on new works.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has borrowed a page from MOMA’s handbook. As Wikipedia reminds us about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record.Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.” So, as a result, a select few ‘best of the best’ are inducted into the rock hall every year. This year’s ceremony took place a few miles south of Manhattan’s MOMA – in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on March 29 (to be presented on HBO on Saturday April 27, 2019.)
So let’s put on a show and play one of your best cards first, a Queen of Rock and Roll. Stevie Nicks, dressed all in black and looking confidently cool, was inducted as a solo artist this time around (she was inducted as part of Fleetwood Mac in 1998). She kicked the night off by playing fierce versions of “Stand Back,” “Leather And Lace,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Edge Of Seventeen.” Supporting Ms. Nicks were longtime friends such as Waddy Wachtel and Carlos Rios, both raging away on guitar. Another even closer friend, Don Henley, sauntered on stage as the duo reprised their 1981 hit “Leather and Lace” followed by Harry Styles assisting Nicks on “Stop Dragging…” When Styles officially introduced Nicks, he pointed out that she was the “magical gypsy godmother” and kiddingly (I hope) stated that “on Halloween, one in seven people dress as Stevie Nicks (women, I hope).” As Nicks accepted and pondered her solo career, she remembered when she was advised to tell follow Fleetwood Mac members “…that you will always put them first” which is a balance she has accomplished, for the most part, for decades.
Radiohead’s lead singer, Thom Yorke, was one of the no-shows and, probably for that reason (and the fact that the band has openly been indifferent at best about the rock hall), the attending band members elected to accept, but not to perform. But a forever young and dapper Brian Ferry (but no formal evening jacket or tie this time around), along with other key Roxy Music members, did perform and were in top form. Over the course of eight studio albums and countless live performances through the years, Ferry reminded past fans and the crowd that the band’s influences were as varied as “do wop and German music.” Collectively, they were sleek, stylish and dapper as they presented iconic songs such as “Love Is The Drug,” “Avalon” and “More Than This.” Presenter Steven Van Zandt took the stage with a randy “hello Brooklyn!” salutation and introduced a half dozen singles that would represent, for only the second year, the official honoring of songs with a nod to those artists who (subjectively) recorded the definitive version of the song. Songs included the mid-sixties masterpiece, “Leader of the Pack” as recorded by the Shangri Las and “Tequila,” by the Champs, the first rock instrumental to hit number one back in 1958.
Then back to live performances by the inductees. British Goth Rock darlings of the 1980s,the Cure, did perform and offered a combination of hits and deeper cuts. Unleashing a bit of tongue-in-check nervous energy, Smith quipped, “Do I have time for one more (song)? F#*king Stevie Nicks,” who deservedly consumed close to 45 minutes of the evening as the unrestricted headline opener. Later, in the back-stage press room, a hesitant Smith verbally stumbled a bit yet courteously answered a question about how he felt being inducted. It’s a bit of “a cultural” thing but, at the same time, he acknowledged that “people in it are my heroes.”
Time for another Queen, Janet Jackson was another ‘do you want to give me an award or do you want me to perform’ attendee but, with a little help from firecracker presenter Janelle Monae, the duo shined, nonetheless. As Monae reminded the audience in her articulate intro, Janet was and is the “queen of black girl magic and our fearless leader.” At 180 million records sold – according to Monae – there’s a lot of people who agree. As for Jackson, she serenely and calmly accepted and then respected her elders including her brothers, her producers and so many others who were there to help guide her along the rocky (and R&B) way.
Next up were a few Brits who hit the top of the charts 50 years ago. As the Zombies pointed out, it was exactly 50 years to the day – March 29, 1969 – that they grabbed the Number One slot on the music charts with “Time Of The Season,” one of several songs they performed (including another classic, “She’s Not There.”
Def Leppard brought everything in for a landing as the closing inductees performed heavy metal originals including “Rock Of Ages” and “Photograph” after being introduced by one more Queen, Brian May, who remains in today’s headlines for various reasons, including because of the monumental success of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. While people in the press room were accurately (I assume) singing along to each and every song performed by 1980s the Cure and Def Leppard, I was quietly singing along with Stevie and Bryan and their (mostly) 1970s hits. A grand finale, with surprise guest vocalist, Ian Hunter, as well as Brian May and others, took the stage and brought the 34th annual ceremony to a close with “All the Young Dudes.” The song includes a reference to 1970s glam rock titans, T. Rex, so let’s hope it’s a melodic hint to the rock hall about a band that should have been inducted decades ago. Let’s see what happens in 2020.
Irondequoit native Steve Gadd wins Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
ROCHESTER MOURNS LOCAL DRUMMER JOE LANA
Obituary of Joseph William Lana
Joseph William Lana Sr.
Rochester: Joseph passed away unexpectedly on February 8, 2019. He was loved and adored by his family and friends. Joe is predeceased by his loving mother, Joyce Lana; brother, Dave Lana. Left to cherish his memory are his children, Joseph “Joe” Lana Jr. & Jennifer “Jen” Lana and their mother, Diane Lana; his father Samuel Lana; mother-in-law, Carol Wagner; siblings Deborah (Frank) Romeo, John Lana, Richard “Rick” Lana, twin brother, Lucien “Lou” (Angela) Lana, Liz (Jeff) Goldberg, Sam (Denise) Lana & Tim (Mary Ann) Lana. His memory will flourish in the hearts of his many nieces & nephews, Tina, Adam, Angela, Samantha Jo, Tony, Nicholas, Maddie, Sammy Jr, Emily, Sarah, Eli, Victoria, Richard, Anthony, Keila, Kia, Keliomer, Jack & Emma to whom he was known as Uncle Monkey, Uncle Pimpstone and Uncle Joe.
He brought much laughter and happiness to his family and to everyone that knew him, with a huge heart to match his radiant laughter. A rocker from an early age, and a passionate and talented musician, he played in many Western NY based bands, including Uncle Plum, Unlimited, Me and the Boys & Significant Other.
His family have heavy hearts in the presence of this void left by Joe’s death, and would welcome the support of his many, many friends at a memorial visitation, Wedndesday, February 13th from 4:00 until 8:00pm at the funeral home, 1411 Vintage Lane. His Life Story will be shared during his funeral ceremony, 10:00 am on Thursday, February 14th at the funeral home.
Jeff Spevak interviews Bat McGrath about his final Rochester show
Joe Beard is a blues legend in Rochester
NYS COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMER DICK JOPSON DIES AT 81
Hemlock: Dick passed peacefully on October 14, 2018 at age 81. Predeceased by his siblings; Theodore Jopson, Elsie Billotte, and Elizabeth Colvin. Survived by his devoted wife Donna Jopson and children; Marty (Shirley) Jopson of Geneseo, Mark (Theresa) Jopson of Lakeville, Lisa Ohle of Livonia, Todd Niles of IA, Sherry (Dan) Siefken of IA, and Mike (Tara) Niles of IA; grandchildren, Jamie (Christie) Jopson, Jerrod Jopson, Tyler Ohle, Ashley Jopson, Amanda Jopson, Jennifer Niles, Niles Siefken, and Michael Niles; great- grandchildren, Brittani Jopson, Jordan Jopson, and Nicholas Jopson; siblings, Eugene Jopson, Barbara Schmidt, Sharon Hurley, Lorena Rogers, and Melvin Jopson. Also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends & fans of country music.
Dick was born on January 20, 1937 in Honeoye Falls, NY to parents Theodore & Clara Jopson. He served in the Army National Guard during the 1960’s and also was a member of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and the Village of Geneseo Police. He always had a love of music and enjoyed to play guitar and perform. He was very proud to be a member of the NYS Country Music Hall of Honor, the NYS Country Music Hall of Fame, and was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Country Music. He also received the Livingston County Legend Award for his many years of music performance in our community and received the WCJW Achievement in Country Music Award. Dick was a member of the Civil Defense and also owned Jopson’s Slab City in Hemlock, NY. He was well loved by all his family and friends and will be deeply missed.
Family and friends may call on Friday, October 19th, from 4-7pm at the Kevin W. Dougherty Funeral Home Inc., 21 Big Tree Street, Rte 20A, Livonia, NY. A Service to Celebrate Dick’s Life will be held on Saturday, October 20th, 1:30pm at the United Methodist Church of Livonia, 21 Summers Street, Livonia, NY. Private burial Union Cemetery, Livonia, NY with military honors. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Dick’s Memory to the Little Lakes Community Association, PO Box 82, Hemlock, NY 14466 or the Hospeace House, PO Box 343, Naples, NY 14512.
Fleming to sing at McCain service
Gary Craig Rochester Democrat and Chronicle USA TODAY NETWORK
Internationally beloved opera singer Renée Fleming, who grew up in Churchville, will sing the Irish standard “Danny Boy” at a memorial service for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain.
McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, had requested that Fleming sing the song, according to her manager, Dannielle Thomas.
“She is very honored,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be a beautiful service.”
Fleming is scheduled to sing at a memorial service for McCain at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday.
Fleming, a Grammy winner and Tony nominee, is also a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.
Nashville Folk Singer With Rochester Ties
By Jana Eisenberg
Rochester Music Hall of Famer, David Corcoran dies
The RMHF Board of Directors would like to express its deepest condolences to the family and friends of local drummer and vocalist, David Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran was inducted into the RMHF in the Class of 2014 along with his Duke Jupiter band mates. He was 64.
Students from Greece Athena and Harley School honored at Music Hall of Fame
The Rochester region is known for its love of the arts. It’s a pipeline for young artists to pursue their dreams. Local music legends were lauded at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sunday night, including big names such as percussionist John Beck, drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Tony Levin.
Before they became legends, they were young musicians with a passion and a dream. The Rochester Music Hall of Fame realizes the importance of nurturing future generations of musicians with its Douglas Lowry award, given to to area high school seniors pursuing music in college. Lowry was dean at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester who passed away in 2013. Each of the two winners received $1,000 and a chance to perform at the induction ceremony.
The winners this year were cellist Ben Doane from The Harley School, a private school in Brighton and musical theater vocalist Mark Mitrano of Greece Athena High School.
Mitrano, 18, the winner of numerous local and national awards, will be attending University of Michigan come fall, majoring in musical theater. The young prodigy started vocal lessons at 4 years old and is currently a senior high honor roll with distinction student, recently wrapping up his role as Quasimodo in Greece Athena’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As a sophomore, Mitrano was named Rochester Broadway Theatre League Stars of Tomorrow best actor. He then went on to represent the Rochester nine-county region in New York City and was named best vocalist in the National High School Music Theatre Awards that draws musical theater talent from high schools around the country. In 2017, he was a National YoungArts Foundation winner in theater
Doane, 17, has been learning the cello since he was 6 years old and will be attending Eastman School of Music in fall. In the summer of 2017, he attended the Perlman Music program. The young musician also studied cello at the Heifetz International Music Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. From 2014 to 2017, Doane was the principal cellist of Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Recently, Doane won the Rochester Philharmonic League Aldridge-Tinker scholarship to continue studies in music.
Before a sold-out crowd of over 2,300 people at Eastman Theatre on Sunday night, Doane performed a cello solo titled Julie-O by Mark Summer. Mitrano reprised his role as protagonist Jean Valjean in the musical Les Miserables with his rendition of “Bring Him Home.”
“As well as giving me valuable assistance in applying for college, this award was an incredible opportunity for me to share my music in Rochester’s best-known performance hall,” said Doane.
Mitrano said he was very honored to be chosen for the Lowry award. “It was heartwarming to be part of such an event that brings artists of all styles of music together to share their passion and joy,” Mitrano said. “It was an experience I will never forget.”
Their performances at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremony showcased the promise of youth in our artistic community.
A Music Lovers’ Oasis
Forefront Audio is celebrating the grand opening of its new retail space at
1472 Monroe Avenue in Rochester (Brighton), New York. This music lovers’ oasis features everything for the casual listener to the passionate audiophile.
This is a life-long dream of owner Lance Shevchuk. His infectious passion for music and high quality sound far exceeds his 25 year experience delighting music and video enthusiasts. For Lance, it’s all about truly understanding customer needs and offering meaningful solutions for life enhancement, via engaging audio and video systems. His proven promise of “We Listen & Deliver” has been a lasting benefit to music / video novices and aficionados over the years.
Forefront Audio highlights carefully selected, best of class products, for every budget, to ensure maximum enjoyment and value. Lance is highly focused on meaningful consultation, a fun purchase experience, simple to creative design installation and long term service excellence. Moreover, Forefront Audio happily and uniquely offers in-home demonstration, which is critical to educated customer decisions.
From analog to digital, tubes to solid state, wired to wireless and single component to whole house systems, Forefront Audio is fully immersed in enhancing personal music / movie connections. They continue to earn customer trust and build long term relationships through honesty and integrity.
Treat yourself and check it out! Hours of operation: Tuesday / Thursday, 10AM – 3PM, Friday, 3PM – 8PM and Saturday, 10AM – 2PM. All other times will be cheerfully accommodated by appointment (585) 216 – 5881.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter dies at 88
The Board of Directors of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame are saddened to learn of Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter’s, passing. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.
Mrs. Slaughter worked tirelessly on behalf of the western NY region and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus she was a strong supporter of the Arts and a friend to the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
(On the “Board” Walk: RMHF Publicist, Dresden Engle)
Crafting A New Musical
TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE, THE MUSICAL
Debuts in Rochester, New York
Sales exceeded 28 million records. There were close to two dozen hits in the Top 100 music charts during the 1970s and 1980s including “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise”. Add a few Grammy nominations, countless road trips and numerous concerts along the way. Fast forward to 2018. Former cop Eddie Money, a true rock star born in Brooklyn in 1949, has come to Rochester, teamed up with RAPA’s Jim Vollertsen and been in rehearsal crafting and perfecting Two Tickets To Paradise – The Musical here in Rochester since the fall of 2017. The world premier will take place from Feb 14 – 18 at the Kodak Center Theater. (200 Ridge Road West) and will feature a full orchestra, a rock band and a cast of twenty people including Alec Nevin who will play a young Eddie Money. Then there’s the ‘official’ publicist for the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, Ms. Dresden Engle, who is scheduled to perform in the play as Money’s supportive mother. As Ms. Engle points out “Eddie’s mom was the world to him. There are a total of three heart-wrenching songs between mom and Eddie — all Broadway-style ballads Eddie wrote for the musical — that cement for the audience how close they were.” She went on to say “Eddie told me (recently) that I’m playing her just as wonderful as she was. That was a relief and an honor to hear.” In addition, Money himself will narrate the musical and guide the audience through the evening. “For me, the musical captures that most important time when you’re starting out before you get jaded” Money said.
There will only be five Rochester performances and then, maybe a trip on the road with Broadway in its sights. As Ms. Engle stated “I worked closely with Eddie on the script and now I’ll be working with Eddie to promote the production on national tour following the Rochester debut. Sure, we talk about taking it all the way to Broadway. This musical is Eddie’s dream, and we’re all excited to help make his dream come true, while at the same time he is making all of our dreams come true as well.”
Here’s your chance to be part of the beginning, here in Rochester, where it’s all starting. Call 585 254 0073 for updates and additional info.
Striking a chord, NIH taps the brain to find how
(Democrat & Chronicle)
WASHINGTON – Like a friendly Pied Piper, the violinist keeps up a toe-tapping beat as dancers weave through busy hospital hallways and into the chemotherapy unit, patients looking up in surprised delight. Upstairs, a cellist strums an Irish folk tune for a patient in intensive care.
Music increasingly is becoming a part of patient care — although it’s still pretty unusual to see roving performers captivating entire wards, like at Med-Star Georgetown University Hospital one fall morning.
“It takes them away for just a few minutes to some other place where they don’t have to think about what’s going on,” said cellist Martha Vance after playing for a patient isolated to avoid spreading infection.
The challenge: Harnessing music to do more than comfort the sick. Now, moving beyond programs like Georgetown’s, the National Institutes of Health is bringing together musicians, music therapists and neuroscientists to tap into the brain’s circuitry and figure out how.
“The brain is able to compensate for other deficits sometimes by using music to communicate,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, a geneticist who also plays a mean guitar.
To turn that ability into a successful therapy, “it would be a really good thing to know which parts of the brain are still intact to be called into action — to know the circuits well enough to know the backup plan,” Collins added.
Scientists aren’t starting from scratch. Learning to play an instrument, for example, sharpens how the brain processes sound and can improve children’s reading and other school skills. Stroke survivors who can’t speak sometimes can sing, and music therapy can help them retrain brain pathways to communicate. Parkinson’s patients sometimes walk better to the right beat. But what’s missing is rigorous science to better understand how either listening to or creating music might improve health in a range of other ways — research into how the brain processes music that NIH is beginning to fund.
A peek inside
“The water is wide, I cannot cross over,” soprano Renee Fleming belted out, not from a concert stage but from inside an MRI machine at the NIH campus.
The opera star — who partnered with Collins to start the Sound Health initiative — spent two hours in the scanner to help researchers tease out what brain activity is key for singing. How? First Fleming spoke the lyrics. Then she sang them. Finally, she imagined singing them.
“We’re trying to understand the brain not just so we can address mental disorders or diseases or injuries, but also so we can understand what happens when a brain’s working right and what happens when it’s performing at a really high level,” said NIH researcher David Jangraw.
To Jangraw’s surprise, several brain regions were more active when Fleming imagined singing than when she actually sang, including the brain’s emotion center and areas involved with motion and vision. One theory: it took more mental effort to keep track of where she was in the song, and to maintain its emotion, without auditory feedback.
Proof may be tough
Indeed, Jangraw notes a saying in neuroscience: Neurons that fire together, wire together. Brain cells communicate by firing messages to each other through junctions called synapses. Cells that regularly connect — for example, when a musician practices — strengthen bonds into circuitry that forms an efficient network for, in Fleming’s case, singing.
But that’s a healthy brain. In North Carolina, a neuroscientist and a dance professor are starting an improvisational dance class for Alzheimer’s patients to tell whether music and movement enhance a diseased brain’s neural networks.
Well before memory loss becomes severe, Alzheimer’s patients can experience apathy, depression and gait and balance problems as the brain’s synaptic connections begin to falter. The NIHfunded study at Wake Forest University will randomly assign such patients to the improvisation class — to dance playfully without having to remember choreography — or to other interventions.
With senior centers increasingly touting arts programs, “having a deeper understanding of how these things are affecting our biology can help us understand how to leverage resources already in our community,” said Wake Forest lead researcher Christina Hugenschmidt.
Unlike music therapy, which works one-on-one toward individual outcomes, the arts and humanities program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center lets musiciansin- residence play throughout the hospital. Palliative care nurses often seek Vance, the cellist, for patients anxious or in pain. She may watch monitors, matching a tune’s tempo to heart rate and then gradually slowing. Sometimes she plays for the dying, choosing a gently arrhythmic background and never a song that might be familiar.
Julia Langley, who directs Georgetown’s program, wants research into the type and dose of music for different health situations: “If we can study the arts in the same way that science studies medication and other therapeutics, I think we will be doing so much good.”
This Associated Press series was produced in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.
(On the “Board” Walk: Tony Gross)
Steam – Claudia Hoyser
Purring away – sometimes day and night – is GFI, a recording studio in rural Wayne County New York. Veteran musician and producer Tony Gross, the man who heads up the studio (and is a current board member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame,) has been spinning the knobs and sliding the faders while still attacking the guitar and hitting the stage every once in a while for a long time – since his mid-teens. One of his latest projects is helping launch the career of 23 year old Claudia Hoyser. Together, they’ve put things in motion with the release of a five song EP called Steam.
Ms. Hoyser confidently bursts out of the studio with a sassy and flirtatious “Drinkin’ With the Boys,” the EPs attention grabbing opener. Yeah, she can go toe-to-toe with the boys but it’s also a song about spending some fun, frivolous time with close friends – male or female. The title cut, “Steam,” may use the steel tracks of various trains as its starting point but the message of “Steam” is to follow your dream. The next song up had an interesting twist: when Tony sent a rough version of “No Matter What it Costs” to a friend at a radio station in hopes of getting some professional feedback, the station-man was ‘all in’ and basically said ‘don’t change anything’ so the original uncut version is the one we get. The song keeps edging a girl with a country spirit closer to a rock and roll center. She stays feisty on “What Kind of Man” before wrapping things up with the start/stop, ‘what the hell, let’s keep going’ energy of “Red Light’s Turning Green.”
Hoyser, with hints of a young Shania Twain (whose recent 2017 comeback recordings’ may soon share air-time with Hoyser) has been showing up on a number of radio station playlists and has been hitting the road for a number of shows. As Hoyser has said “Country music is all about roots. It doesn’t matter where those roots are from. We all have stories to tell and that’s a strong part of my sound, the ‘storytelling’ part” which she’s doing one stage and one song at a time.
(On the “Board” Walk: Jerry Falzone & former member Kevin Hart)
Presenting…New Music from
Rochester Music Hall of Fame Board Members
From day one, the board members of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame have been a diverse group. Their “day jobs” include working in sales, accounting, law, banking, college’s and even as a mailman. Others, whether professional artists or “after hours” experts, include music producers, musicians, photographers and more. All of the board members, as you would suspect, are passionate about music plus several have recorded and released their own albums. Here’s a solo disc from a current board member (with help from another current board member) and one from a former member:
Chasing Ghosts – Jerry Falzone
He may have started out in Pearl, a hard-rock band that earned national press in the early 1980s in magazines such as Billboard, but Jerry Falzone has settled into softer west coast country rock in the last decade. The high water mark was 2012’s Just Before The Storm, with a wealth of stand-out originals such as: “Sweet Virginia,” “Come Back Now” (with guest vocalist Jerry Engler), “We Will Meet Again” and the title cut. A few years later, Liar’s Moon followed with another all-original outing, but he shook things up by sneaking in a sax, violin and cello on a few cuts.
Falzone’s latest disc, Chasing Ghosts, carries on the tradition of softer country music meets folk rock ala bands such as Poco, the Eagles and singers such as Jackson Browne. Falzone has rounded up some of the usual suspects who helped him in the past including Ken Colombo (piano), Bob Martin (guitar), Greg Andrews (drums), Pearl’s Debbie Randyn (background vocals) and Kate Lee (violin). The sound is big and the arrangements are bold right from the beginning as the disc opens with the glorious “It Feels Like Heaven.” Later, the sax shines on songs such as “Built to Last” and “Cold Cold World,” followed by stand-out songs such as the “Without Love.” Falzone drops in a Neil Young cover (“I’ve Been Waiting For You”) and comes in for a landing with the evocative, haunting title song at the very end. Throughout the disc, Falzone’s vocals are pure as spring water and soar like summer clouds whether running solo or harmonizing with others. With love as a common theme on most of the songs, more complex lyrics would be a welcome guide into the cryptic world of relationships.
All three discs have a polished, sparkling production but Chasing Ghosts adds more of a pop sheen than in the past. Passionate lovers of folk rock will still chose Just Before the Storm as their favorite CD but this disc is a nice addition to this decade’s trilogy.
Science – The Majestics
Reggae has pulsed through Ron Stackman’s blood for decades. He was a founding member of the band, Bahama Mama, in the 1970s. That eventually mutated into Big Roots in the 1980s with their nine or ten man roster (depending on the night) which eventually paved the way for The Majestics. The Majestics have just released Science, their latest CD release.
Tight, nimble and oh so casual, The Majestics consist of Ron Stackman (keys and guitar,) Jim Schwartz (bass,) Lou Lavilla (drums) and Kevin Hart (lead guitar) plus Brother James on percussion and a four piece horn section with yet another Rochester Music Hall of Fame board member, Jimmy Richmond. “We don’t sound like Jamaicans when we play” Stackman had said year ago, “we were brought up on rock.” “The Science disc is a mix of tunes written by Ron Stackman, Jim Kraut (from Bahama Mama) and a couple of old deep cut reggae gems” former Rochester Music Hall of Fame member Hart stated in an email. Regardless, the purity of the reggae sound and style carries through with the disc, one which is built on deep, rich bass and steady, reliable percussions as the disc clocks in at a brief 30 plus minutes.
The horns majestically announce the arrival of the group as they open with “Love is the Greatest Science.” Happy, light and upbeat, the song is followed by a deep dose of melancholy as the band calls out an “Untrue Girl” on the second song. Jim Kraut’s “Buck Rogers” is mystical, hypnotic and elusive while The Majestics capture the instrumental essence of former Paragon member John Holt’s mid 1970s hit, “Up Park Camp.” There’s danger and deception in the grooves of “Caught You Red Handed” while the band takes us home with a studio enhanced dub version of “Buck Rogers.” Rochester, a US city about as far north of Jamaica as possible, is home base for the Majestics and a handful of other top ranking reggae groups. Together, they continue to prove that this is a rich musical town with a rich sound.
Rochester Music Hall of Fame visits School #33
A large group of students enrolled in a summer learning program at School #33 in Rochester, attended a musical performance and presentation sponsored by the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. For the second time, representatives of the hall of fame spoke to the fifty or more students gathered in a classroom, about careers in music. They brought along one of the hall of fame’s 2017 Lowry Award winners, Sam Nitsch, to inspire and entertain the kids with his musical talents. He was a big hit!
RMHF president, Karl LaPorta, described the students as respectful and engaged listeners adding, “we love talking to so many smart kids who are very interested in music and in careers in music in some capacity.” Also on hand to help with the presentation were Jim Richmond and Tracy Kroft.
To help honor and induct trumpeter Lew Soloff into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame: Class of 2017, several musicians took part in the live ceremony, including Blood Sweat and Tears vocalist David Clayton Thomas and his musical director George Koller. Both gentlemen have CDs available. Here’s a look at them…
Canadiana – David Clayton Thomas
Americana is a type of music that has its roots in early folk and country music of the states and has come to represent the “new” earthy country style, sans the ‘twang’. The Canadian mirror image of that is Canadiana and Toronto based David Clayton Thomas (DCT) has just released a thirteen song CD that salutes the rich writing and singing talent that is found throughout Canada.
Although DCT is an incredibly writer, having written some of Blood Sweat and Tears monster hits, he chose to cover songs by a dozen other Canadians while including only one DCT original. By now most people realize that The Band was a Canadian group so the CD opens with DCT’s spirited version of Robbie Robertson’s “Ophelia.” Many of the other covers are earthy and grittier than the originals as he cherry picks classics such as “Early Monnin’ Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot,) “Both Side Now” (Joni Mitchell), “Heart Of Gold” (Neil Young) and “Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen.) These, and other well-known performers, have topped the music charts in of both countries and helped define the sound and style of the last few decades.
Regardless of whether you’re from the US or from Canada, these versions are alluring and ultimately a passionate tribute from an important vocalist of our time.
Secret Space Program – George Koller
As an “in demand” bass player, George Koller has appeared on countless recordings and has worked with world class talent such as Holly Cole, Eartha Kitt, Phil Woods and even Peter Gabriel. Secret Space Program is the latest disc with Koller (bassist/singer) as the leader.
The CD opens with “Where Did They Go,” a rousing, briskly paced original that hints at the probing lyrics and style of Moses Allison while “What Might Have Been” is a much quieter, more reflective lament. Koller’s version of “Cool Water,” originally a 1930s country and western song, is an amazingly serene gem that would be suitable in a film noir movie. Other songs slow things down even more with lullaby that hint at the easy going style of singers such as Michael Franks.
Koller (and Thomas) were great additions to the 2017 Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremonies on April 30, 2017. Here’s hoping they both make a return visit to the area.
‘Chasing Ghosts’ with
Jerry Falzone & Liar’s Moon
Shaffer, Clayton-Thomas celebrate with 2,000
at Hall of Fame
Honoring Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees
“The Show Must Go On”: A Tribute Concert for Larry Swist – 8/6, Buffalo, NY – See more at: http://www.sonicscoop.com/2014/07/27/the-show-must-go-on-a-tribute-concert-for-larry-swist-86-buffalo-ny/#sthash.lhRCwj7R.dpu
TICKET RAFFELRadio visionary, Andrew LaRMHF SHOW UPDATE
“Life Is Good” for Flogging Molly
Danielle Ponder: Live at Three on 3/3
The back story is almost as dramatic as the tidal wave of sounds cascading from the stage whenever singer Danielle Ponder performs. She grew up in the inner city in a family that always revered and respected music. She’s the daughter of a preacher man yet she’s had family members jailed. She’s a public defender by day and a musician by night and throughout it all, she’s as positive, upbeat and focused as can be. As she told Jeff Spevak in the fall of 2016 for an article in the daily paper, “I write about heartbreak and romantic love, or I write about social and political issues, or personal freedom…” She routinely and confidently takes complete control of a club or concert hall for several hours (including a memorable salute to 2016 Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee and James Brown alumni Pee Wee Ellis). Although Ms. Ponder generates the high wattage power from the stage, it’s ultimately the audience’s responsibility to capture the energy and to use it in a positive manner going forward.
Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People took the stage at Three Heads Brewing right at 8p on Friday March 3, 2017. What started out as a brisk, cold night turned into a fierce storm a few hours later…both inside and out. Served up with brisk, cold beers and ales with musical names such as Strawbeery Fields Lager, Rochestafarian Scotch Ale and Ring of Fire IPA, Ponder and her tight band went for it right from the beginning with “Something Funky.” Channeling the soul of Aretha, the style of Amy and the potency of Adele, Danielle Ponder built layer upon layer of sight and sound to create an intoxicating presentation. From 60s gospel and soul to 70s reggae, right up to today’s rap, Ponder pushed, prodded and propelled. With compelling originals such as “Three Word Revolution” (there’s that ‘three’ again) to “All I Know” (“I wanted you/ you needed me / you told me you’d be better”), Ms. Ponder turned in a passionate, blistering show.
When it came time for an extended encore, Ms. Ponder unleashed a dynamic version of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and used the glory of a gospel sound to confirm and uplift. She bravely guiding us away from guns pulled from the gutter, weapons that destroy and denigrate our people and our society.
Was the audience with her? Yeah! Does she…and the people…have the power? After a show like that…triple Yeah !!!
Record Theater founder Lenny Silver dies
Rochester icon ‘Java Joe’ dies at 68 (D&C)
To most, he was “Java Joe” more…
LOCAL DRUMMER RALPH BUSHEY DIES
The RMHF is saddened to hear of the passing of great local drummer Ralph Bushey. Ralph was a talented, versatile drummer who could play anything with anyone. Ralph would at any one time be playing with a half dozen bands. He was also passionate about local music. We all also remember Uncle Ralph’s Magic Sauce, which was another of Ralphs great talents and passion along with cooking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ralphs family and friends.
Musicians with local ties snag Grammys
La Muralla salsa orchestra brings the rhythm
RMHF 2016 alumna performer, Dee Ponder
“Is a voice for justice” (D&C)
News from the Clubs = Abilene Bar and Lounge
A consistent, long time supporter of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame (RMHF) has been Danny Deustch and his club, the earthy, roots oriented Abilene Bar and Lounge. They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2018 and, year in and year out, they host strong local, regional and national acts. Although the club originally focused on Americana music and it’s still at the core of what they present, they continue to evolve and offer a wide variety of other sounds and styles as well.
One of the artists recently presented by Abilene was Kim Simmonds, one of the founding members of the iconic British blues rock band Savoy Brown. The Friday, Jan 13, 2017 show was presented at the Penthouse at One East Avenue as part of Abilene’s “on the road” series. It was a casual, solo performance as Simmond’s relied on his harp and two acoustic Gibson guitars (note: Henry Juszkiewicz, the current CEO of Gibson, was raised in Rochester and was officially inducted into the RMHF in 2015). Simmonds presented the crowd of about 75 people a sort of ‘MTV Unplugged’ meets “home concert” evening of songs and stories. He performed a newer number called “I Can’t Stop the Blues” as well as classic Savoy Brown songs such as “Hellbound Train” while casually interspersing stories from the early British Invasion in-between the notes. His version of “Train to Nowhere” (originally sung by Chris Youlden) was presented with a blues drenched slide followed by a Mississippi Fred McDowell song, “Shake Em On Down,” insuring that the entire evening stayed focused on the blues.
Looking forward, Abilene is bringing a number of top notch artists to town. Thursday, February 23, will feature one of these artists who’s also been a long time supporter of the RMHF, John Mooney. Another passionate blues artist, Mooney’s style is fierce, focused and can fire up a crowd with his slide and steel guitar. He was a protégé of one of THE founders of American blues, Son House (who lived in Rochester for many years and was inducted into the RMHF in 2013.)
You’ll be able to catch a rollicking Commander Cody in March, the alluring and intriguing Eilen Jewell in April and Americana master Dave Alvin in May. Interestingly, Alvin wrote the song “Abilene” which was part of the inspiration for Danny’s club. Having seen each and every one of these artists in concert over the last few years, I highly recommend you pick one or two and check them out. You can confirm times, dates and venues by going to Abilenebarandlounge.com
Rochester Music Hall of Famer, Lou Gramm,
says it’s time to hang up the MIC
Singer, Brianna Collichio,
inspires as she copes with CF
NORTHFIELD MUSIC SHOP
A Rochester Family Business
Rochester’s Own, Soul/R&B singer-songwriter
Radio Visionary and Founder of WDKX,
Andrew Langston, Chased his Dream
RMHF Saddened by The Passing of Danny Mayer
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame would like to extend its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and bandmates of Danny Mayer as they mourn his recent sudden passing.
Mayer was a beloved and highly acclaimed musician in the Rochester area best know for his 16 years as the lead vocalist for the rock/metal band, CATCH 22.
Danny was a unique talent, a wonderful person and a devoted father. He will be dearly missed by the Rochester music community.
Melia in Concert / Montage Music Hall
The Montage Music Hall hosted a pre-Halloween show on Sunday October 30, 2016 as former Runaways Lita Ford roared into town with a tight, full assault band dedicated to sustaining the hard rock of the 1980s and 1990s. Opening the show was Rochester’s Melia (plus an early appearance by a separate band, Rock-n-Roll Social Club).
Melia has performed sporadically in and around the Rochester area for several years, but has also ventured out of town to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, New York City and more. She also grabbed a few awards at Indie Music Channel Awards events in LA. Melia is celebrating the release of Skeletal Remains, a potent four song EP (mastered by Eastman School grad Bob Ludwig). The new disc is crisp, in-your-face, vibrant, bold and, as she has said, it has a “dark, bittersweet theme throughout the EP.” “Charge Like a Bull” cracks the EP open with its razor sharp rock and roll attack and it keeps rumbling from there.
In keeping with the Halloween theme, Melia painted half of her face in a dramatic black/white skeleton design for the show, echoing the cover of her new EP. She aggressively took the stage dressed in all black and ripped into “Charge Like a Bull” followed by another song from the EP as well as a handful of older songs such as the bitter “Just a Bride” and the withering “Soundproof Walls.” She’s learned a thing or two from Lita and the Runaways (with a bit of Avril Lavigne punk princess tossed into the mix) with Melia’s confident “take no prisoners” stage approach. Many opening acts fight to grab the attention of the crowd impatiently waiting for the headliner but Melia hit the crowd hard with fresh, updated rock sounds and earned their allegiance. The crowd may have journeyed out into the dark night to pay tribute to Lita, but Melia made sure she methodically recruited a few new people into her growing army of fans.
Long Time WXXI Jazz Radio Host
Tom Hampson Has Passed Away
Best Wishes from The Cowsills
MS. LaRue performing at 2016 RMHF Induction Ceremony
Florence LaRue of 5th Dimension fame sends note
to RMHF expressing sincere thanks
Ms. LaRue performed the song “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” at the RMHF 2016 induction ceremony held in April at Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall in honor of Class of 2016 inductee James Rado (co-author of the Broadway musical HAIR).
The pop vocal group, 5th Dimension, of which LaRue was an original member, recorded the song which peaked at number one for six weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the spring of 1969.
Giant Panda debuts at # 1 on Billboard Chart
Rochester’s own, singer, songwriter and meditation Guru, Alana Cahoon, releases new CD
Upstate recording studios and local businesses support music production tax credit
Dossenbach meant music in Rochester
Now it’s the Four Rs
Summer school for the kids at The Children’s School of Rochester, school No. 15 in the city offers instruction in the basic Three Rs—Reading, Riting and Rithmetic, but a new R has been added. The fourth R is Rmhf as in, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. RMHF president Karl LaPorta with Board members Tracy Kroft and Jim Richmond gave a history lesson on local music to the kids on July 24th at the request of Curriculum and Instructional Practice Specialist, Mary Frenzel. The children thoroughly enjoyed the presentation which included discussion on local luminaries such Cab Calloway and Chuck Mangione, a short video of clips taken from the Class of 2012 hall of fame induction ceremony and live musical performances by LaPorta and Richmond. Cab Calloway seems to have piqued their curiosity the most according to Frenzel, “…We already have several kids wanting to research Cab Calloway further!” Hall of fame Board members are available for similar presentations for students of all ages. Inquires can be made on the contact page of this web site.