Cory Wells Tribute - April 7, 2017
Mrs. Mary Wells, Cory’s widow, is seen giving “Eli Unplugged” a standing ovation after their rendition of “Try a LittleTenderness”. (Photo by: Daniel J. Ruggiero)
April 9, 2017
On Friday, April 7, 2017, the Buffalo Museum of Science hosted the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (BMHOF) in Hamlin Hall for a dedication to Cory Wells. Family, friends, musicians and fans gathered for a musical tribute, and the official dedication of the gift of Cory Wells’ motorcycle to the collection of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame by the Wells’ family.
The evening started with music from “Eli Unplugged”, a group of local musicians, including some who are also BMHOF inductees. Three vocalists, Mark Dixon, Jim Rummings and Phil Hudson expertly harmonized many “Three Dog Night” hits with perfect acoustic guitar accompaniment from Dave Elder and Dick Bauerle with Paul Battaglia keeping time on snare drum.
After the first set, Master of Ceremonies, and BMHOF inductee and Vice President, Tom Lorentz, introduced the band and got the official dedication ceremonies going. Board President, Anthony Casuccio presente da framed certificate of appreciation to Cory’s widow, Mrs. Mary Wells. Cory’s grandson, Jake Lyons, officially and eloquently spoke for the family.
When the official proceedings were done, “Eli Unplugged”, took the stage again for another 30-minute set of “Three Dog Night” Hits. After the band commenced, the family gathered in front of the motorcycle for pictures and conversation. Rounding out the night musically, was board member and event coordinator, Greg Hennessey and guitarist Steve Metivier; also known as “Old Friends”
A great evening of music, love and admiriation for Cory Wells was experienced by all in attendance. If you missed the performances, a live video stream is posted on the BMHOF Facebookpage.
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Announces
Class of 2016 Inductees
August 3, 2016
The legendary Queen of Soul, a renowned sound engineer and one of the most successful bands in Western New York history are among the class of 2016 inductees who will enter this year’s Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (BMHOF). The inductees were officially unveiled during a special press conference held at the Buffalo History Museum on Wednesday, August 3, 2016.
WBBZ-TV personality Kim Piazza and 2014 Music Hall of Fame inductee Geno McManus served as emcees during the official announcement.
“This year’s induction Gala once again has an incredible lineup of inductees,” said Anthony Casuccio, president of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. “We are honored to be able to showcase such an amazing class of incredible individuals from the Western New York region.”
The inductees will be formally honored at the 34th Annual Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Gala on Thursday, October 6,at Cardinal O'Hara Performing Arts Center, 39 Ohara Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150. Light food, along with beer, wine and pop, will be sold. Proceeds from the concessions will benefit the music program at Cardinal O’Hara. WBBZ-TV personality John DiSciullo will serve as the official host of this year’s event. Advance tickets go on sale Wednesday, August 17 and are $20 (early rate special until September 14/$25 after that date/$30 day of event) and will be available via www.buffalomusic.org.
President’s Award: Aretha Franklin – Aretha is known for her connections to Detroit, but she spent much of her childhood in Buffalo. In addition to the years her father, C.L. Franklin, served as a pastor in Buffalo, she also spent summers in the city when her mother stayed in the city when C.L. went on to Detroit. So Aretha sang in churches here and … well, you know the rest of the story. They don’t call her the “Queen of Soul” for nothing.
Industry: Tony Romano – Romano was one of greatest sound engineers to come out of WNY and played a key role in helping Diana Krall hone her sound on her way to stardom. Romano started out doing sound for Bobby Militello and engineered Militello’s Motown LP as well as doing sound and road managing work with Michael Brecker, Stan Getz and Doc Severinsen. But his biggest achievement may have been in his work with Krall, where he engineered her Grammy Award-winning “Live in Paris.”
Legacy: Danny Cannon & the Vibraharps – The Vibraharps were the first and the best doo-wop group to come out of Buffalo in the late 1950s. They recorded for Atco, Beech and Dab. Member Danny Cannon, who died in 2014, went on to record for Smash and ABC-Paramount, working with Bob Crewe, making the Billboard Top 100 as “Lenny O’Henry.” That song, “Across the Street,” was listed in Dave Marsh’s book, “The Heart of Rock & Soul” as one of the top 1001 songs in pop history.
Legacy: Ray Chamberlain – Chamberlain has played bass and guitar with some of the best in the jazz world, dating to the early 1950s, when he toured nationally with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and the Pete Agiro Quartet. After most of a decade on the road, he returned to the Buffalo area in 1957 and became a mainstay of the local scene, playing and/or recording with the likes of Sam Noto, Joe Baudo, Don Menza, Larry Covelli and the best of WNY’s jazz scene.
Jim Runfola – Runfola has done just about everything that’s possible to do in music in Western New York. He’s an all-star saxophonist and founder of J.J. Swing, teaches and leads the jazz ensemble at Erie Community College, wrote or co-wrote musicals that had runs at MusicalFare and the Kavinoky Theatre, recorded CDs with his band and toured with national groups, including the Tommy Dorsey Band.
Joey Diggs – Diggs is one of Buffalo’s secret treasures. In addition to working with Rick James and a host of other performers (including UST Topaze and Van Taylor’s bands), Diggs became a go-to coach for performers on the “American Idol” TV show. They traveled to Buffalo to be prepped by Diggs to perform on the show.
Joanie Marshall – Joanie Marshall is Ramblin’ Lou Schriver’s widow and was his musical partner for over 50 years. She’s another secret weapon, playing a wicked lead guitar on records, in hers and Lou’s shows and backing up some of the greatest country artists when they toured in Western New York. In fact, Lou always joked that so many country greats tried to recruit her for their bands that he had to marry her to keep her!
The Panfil Brothers – As two of the mainstays of Creek Bend and on their own, Mark and Chris Panfil have been the face of bluegrass in Western New York. In addition to Creek Bend releasing multiple albums and touring festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada, Mark Panfil is the founder of the Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble, teaching students to play the style. Creek Bend also brought over 40 shows of national bluegrass stars (including Bill Monroe) to Western New York.
Jeff Schaller – Drummer Schaller has played with an incredible list of bands over the past 25-plus years, including Grand National, Last Days of Radio, Blue Bullet Skater, McCarthyizm, Here Come the Comets, Tiger Chung Lee, Jive Injection and the Mohawk Street Saints. He’s produced albums, toured nationally as drummer for Jimmie Van Zant and written for Modern Drummer magazine.
David Meinzer – Meinzer is an all-around threat as a songwriter, guitarist, singer and graphic artist. He has been performing and recording since his days leading Davy & the Crocketts and putting out his first record with Tommy Calandra’s BCMK Records in the late 1970s. Dave helped bring country and roots music into the punk and new wave scene, helping to create Buffalo’s Americana scene. In addition to his other bands like Dry Bones and the Outlyers, Meinzer has been a go-to graphic artist for posters and album cover art for Western New York performers.
Alyn Syms – Syms is best known for The Alyn Syms Group, one of the most successful local bands in WNY history. ASG at its best was able to sell out Shea’s Performing Arts Center, a feat no other local band (that hasn’t been on a national touring level) has been able to accomplish. Syms career extends from the 1960s with Hank “Soul Man” Mullins to the ‘70s with Rick James through his progressive and classic rock recordings of the last few years.
Patti Parks – Parks is a belter who has made her name in recent years with a series of blues recordings. However, her career started some 40 years ago; she performed regularly until taking time off for her family. Since her return to performing, her recent CDs have received airplay around the world and been well received in the national blues publications. Some of her biggest contributions, though, have been the blues therapy program that Parks, a nurse, has created for youths with drug dependencies or otherwise at risk.
The BMHOF Announces the Third Annual Lucille and Jack Yellen Foundation Songwriter’s Scholarship Finalists
May 12, 2016
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, in collaboration with the Lucille and Jack Yellen Foundation, are announcing the finalists to their third songwriter scholarship.
Four finalists were selected from fifteen applicants ranging in age from 16-21.
The four finalists are: Gabriel Birkby – 21-year-old student who attends SUNY Geneseo, Jenna Bennett – a 21-year-old college student from Ontario Canada,
Lyndsay Munich – a 17-year-old student from West Seneca Senior High School and Matt Connolly – a 16 year-old student from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.
The finalists will perform their song at a showcase to be held at the Hard Rock Café, Niagara Falls USA on Wednesday May 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm. One single recipient will be selected at this showcase and will receive a scholarship that includes: a full day of recording at Robby Takac's (Goo Goo Dolls) GCR Recording Studio. The winning song will be mastered and placed on a CD and presented to the songwriter. The winner will also win a paid performance at the Hard Rock Café, Niagara Falls USA and a spot on the upcoming Buffalo Music Hall of Fame compilation CD. Hall of Fame inductees will be on hand as session musicians and mentors. The second place recipient will receive a paid performance at the Hard Rock Café, Niagara Falls USA.
This scholarship is made possible by the Lucille and Jack Yellen Foundation.
Above is the Beatles cover of Jack Yellen's "Ain't She Sweet"
Black History Month
February 1, 2016
In honor of Black History Month we would like to reflect and acknowledge the many talented inductees whose talent, drive and dedication have left a lasting impression on our local and national musical heritage. We welcome our readers to email your stories that highlight these illustrious moments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. These articles may be posted to our site or archived for future media features.
In Memorium - Ramblin' Lou Schriver
January 18, 2016
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, Class of 1996 inductee, Ramblin' Lou Schriver, country music broadcaster and music legend, passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2016.
“It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of Lynn's dad (my father-in-law), the great Ramblin ' Lou Schriver. He was the patriarch or our family. I have never known a more generous and caring man. We will miss him greatly.” said Steven Supparits via Facebook. Many outpourings of love and admiration have been streaming out out on social media for a man that helped pioneer country music in the Northeast and who was also a founding member of the Country Music Association among many accomplishments.
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame was proud to have honored Mr. Schriver on September 9, 2015 at the Buffalo History Museum at its Music and Legends Series. Ramblin' Lou took the stage, with his custom made Nudie Cohn suit next to him, and proceeded to entrance the crowd with stories and some music with his wife Joanie and daughter Linda Lou. He also personally spoke with attendees and sign autographs and took pictures with fans and admirers. He was a true gentleman and a class act and will be greatly missed
You can read more about Ramblin' Lou at the Buffalo News - Click here
BMHOFer’s Memphis Bound
January 16, 2016
Ron Davis (Class of 2000) and Peter Holguin (Class of 2006 - Soul Invaders) will be representing Buffalo at the 32nd (2016)International Blues Challenge, January 26-30, 2016 in Downtown Memphis,Tennessee in the Beale Street Historic District. They have also recently completed an album of original blues, soul and zydeco songs. The collection is called “Warning Sign” by North Delta Duo and includes twelve songs that were recorded by Marty Peters (Class of 2014). They will have finished CDs in time for the sojourn to Memphis.
Mr. Holguin and Mr. Davis were recently interviewed by Pat Feldballe, host of WBFO's Weekend Blues Show, which is broadcast from 7-11p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. to midnight on Sunday. Segments from the interview will run on Saturday, January 23 at 8:20 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. and will feature some of the tracks from their new CD. Pat will also highlight a chronicle of their experiences in Memphis on his program at a later date. The duo is also scheduled to do an interview on Memphis radio with Penny Lane on Thursday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m. that will include a live performance from the Double Tree Inn in Memphis.
All of us at the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame are very proud of Ron and Peter and wish them well at the IBC.
For more information on the IBC, click here
For more information on WBFO's Weekend Blues Show, click here
Buffalo Niagara Hall of Fame - Just Build It!
November 4, 2015
- Do you remember The Foolish Club or the French Connection?
- Do you remember the Rockpile or the Aud?
- Do you remember WGR radio, Rocketship Seven or Buffalo Bob Smith?
- Do you remember George “Hound Dog” Lorenz, Stan Szelest or Harold Arlen?
All of these places and people are just a small part of the storied history of Buffalo and Western New York’s entertainment heritage. They have all contributed to enhancing the cultural quality of life as well as supporting the livelihoods of countless members of the surrounding community.
The Buffalo and Western New York area is a truly unique cultural center. The boards of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Broadcasters Association have recognized this uniqueness and joined forces to form the Buffalo Niagara Hall of Fame (BNHF).
The BNHF recently announced its plan to embark on creating an exciting, culturally diverse center that would showcase the history of music, sports and broadcast entertainment under one roof. The center would be dedicated to educating current and future generations through artifacts, seminars and workshops, interactive exhibits and a live studio and performance arena – and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The BNHF is in the preliminary stages of planning and executing its dream and has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise startup costs to develop plans and forge a path to the future. Just imagine a diverse cultural center that would be open to all, at a reasonable cost, that would educate about the past, the present and develop future musicians, athletes, broadcasters and entertainers.
If you would like to be involved at the grass roots level to help make this dream a reality, please click here and make a donation..Our goal is to do as much as possible with private funding and grants to develop a world-class destination.
Let’s “Just Build It!”
For more information check out the BNHF website here
Buffalo Niagara Hall of Fame - Press Conference Held
October 27, 2015
The Buffalo Niagara Hall of Fame (BNHOF), a collaboration of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and Fandemoneum, announced at a press conference held at 716 in downtown Buffalo, a plan for an exciting entertainment complex. The Buffalo Niagara Hall of Fame has a four-fold objective:
• To give our community a world-class tourist destination, focused on Buffalo’s rich heritage in sports, music, broadcasting and entertainment.
• To be a year-round destination with educational value bringing school buses, senior tours, families, fans and tourists from across the region, country and Canada.
• To create a facility where each organization's Hall of Fame honorees would be featured in entertaining, educational and interactive state-of-the art displays.
• To house interactive exhibits, engaging galleries, a theater, a research area, educational and conference and event space within a proposed 20,000-50,000 sq.ft. facility.
A full copy of the press release can be downloaded here: press release
In Memorium - Cory Wells
October 21, 2015
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, Class of 1997 inductee, Cory Wells, a founding member of Three Dog Night, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 his band mates confirmed in a press release. He was 74 years old, according to the press release.
“It is with deep sadness and disbelief that I must report the passing of Cory Wells, my beloved band mate for over 45 years,” said Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night.“Cory was an incredible singer – a great performer, he could sing anything. Cory was like a brother in so many ways. We had been together since 1965 and I am in shock at this sudden loss.”
Born in 1941 to a single mother in Buffalo NY, Wells joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating high school. While in the Air Force ,he crafted a band, that started his musical career. He would eventually leave that band and join forces with the rest of Three Dog Night as one of the band's three lead singers – a band that eventually had 21 consecutive top 40 hits.
The band announced Wells’death on Wednesday, October 21 calling his passing in Dunkirk, NY unexpected. Wells, a 74-year-old Buffalo native, continued performing through September, until he became stricken with severe back pain, forcing the band to postpone several shows.
Sam Guarino, a fellow Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductee, recalled asking Mr. Wells to sign a photo for the Hall of Fame. “I asked him for a signed photo and he said ‘what about a guitar’.” “Cory Wells was a class guy and will be very much missed. R.I.P. Cory Wells.” Said Guarino via Facebook.
Above is Cory Wells signing the guitar he gave Sam Guarino to donate to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Announces
Class of 2015 Inductees
August 5, 2015
A key influence on Simon & Garfunkel, several Rick James collaborators and one of the region’s top music educators are among the class of 2015 inductees who will enter into this year’s Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (BMHOF).
The inductees were officially unveiled by WKSE-FM Morning Personality and 2015 Gala Emcee Janet Snyder, and 2014 inductee, Geno McManus during a special press conference that was held at the Buffalo History Museum on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015.
“This year’s induction Gala will once again be an outstanding tribute to the best of the best in the music industry”, said Anthony Casuccio, president of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. “We are honored to be able to showcase such an amazing class of incredible talent from the Western New York region.”
The inductees will be formally honored at the 33rd Annual Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Induction Gala on Thursday, October 8th at the Cove, 4701 Transit Road in Depew, NY 14043.
2015 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductees:
Vincent Blasio: This 101-year-old is a local guitar legend and teacher whose legacy dates back to the Great Depression era. He has earned recognition as both a classical and jazz player and as a teacher.
The Boys of Summer: One of the region’s most popular party bands, also known for their benefit performances for groups such as the Make-a Wish Foundation, Roswell Park and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Jim Brucato: Jim is probably best known as a member of the legendary Thirds acoustic trio, but Brucato has been a member of Billy McEwen’s Soul Invaders for over 20 years, writing and producing some of their recordings. He also spent a year touring with Maureen McGovern in the 1970s, appearing on the “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” TV show.
John Connolly: While Buffalo missed out the Beatles in the 1960s, Connolly has done his best to make up for it with the bands Switch and the BBC Band, who have been some of the area’s most popular bands over the years.
Dolly Durante: Her soulful vocals have led to her performing and/or recording with Muhammad Ali, Buddy Miles, Stevie Wonder, Ike Turner, Lou Rawls, and, yes, Rick James, too.
Jackson C. Frank: A folk singer whose song “Blues Run the Game” was later recorded by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers Simon and Garfunkel. Frank, who went to England in the early 1960s, was a huge influence on the folk-rock scene there. He died in 1999.
Flash: The group never officially released its recordings, but established itself as a local legend before its members – Richie Pidanick, James Ralston, Phil Dillon, Dean Mooney and the late Larry Swist – went off to achieve individual success.
Eli Konikoff: The late trombonist played with Woody Herman and Wild Bill Davidson’s bands in the 1950s before leading his own Yankee Six traditional Dixieland jazz group in Buffalo. He continued to play traditional jazz until his death in 1996.
Linda Rose Lombardo Appleby: An educator who has taught thousands of students in Buffalo since starting her career in the 1970s. Among her career highlights are directing the co-founding the Buffalo Select Chorus, a group from 12 public high schools that performed throughout the city, on CDs with Grammy nominee Joseph Wooten.
Billy Nunn: The Hammond B3 master was a Rick James collaborator with the Stone City Band (including co-writing the James hit “Mary Jane”). In addition, he has also played and recorded with a plethora of stars over the past 45 years, ranging from Johnny Lytle to Phillip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire).
Robert “Freightrain” Parker: This bassist has performed and toured internationally performing with Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton, Ronnie Earl, piling up recording credits and participating in organziations such as "Celbrating Elijah", an organization to help families of autistic children.
Process & the Doo Rags: They were both back-up singers and a side project for legendary funkster Rick James. They recorded two albums for Columbia Records affiliated companies and hit the Billboard charts with a James song, “Shout and Stomp.”
Fred Raiser: The saxophonist’s career took him from touring Mediterranean cruise ships to the Madhatters comedy band in the 1940s to some 27,000 performances at Frank’s Casa Nova (six nights week, three shows a night from 1947 to 1974). He also owned a music store and taught before his death in 1985.
Jim Wynne: A bass player for all occasions, Wynne has performed and recorded most prominently with Gamalon, Haiku and the Dave Constantino Band. He’s a frequent studio musician as well, working with Robby Takac and Justin Rose at GCR Studios.
Institutional Inductee - M&T Bank: The bank is presenting its 46th year of summer plaza concerts in downtown Buffalo. During that span, the bank has sought to present a broad and diverse array of performers representing the depth of musical talent in the community at the plaza concerts and other events. In particular, M&T’s Theresa Kazmierczak coordinated music programs for many years prior to her retirement.
Musician Medics Program Brings Joy to All!
April 22, 2015
Musician Medics is a very special program of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. We are often asked what do you do and why???? This video should answer all questions. The program provides music for patients at various hospitals, including the VA and Women & Children's (W&C) Hospital. We have a number of talented and very caring volunteers, including many of our inducted members, who give 100% of themselves at every event. This was a video from April 22, 2015 at W&C with MM volunteer Vinnie DeRosa. Watch this and see the power and magic of music. This little guy has been in he hospital for over 6 months... THIS is what we do and why it is so Blessed and important. Thanks Vinnie.
"What you guys do at the hospitals is truly amazing. That little boy in the video is my son and as anyone can see he is loving life despite all the problems he's facing. The music gave him a chance to dance and be joyful and get a moment's reprieve from the issues he faces every day. Thank you."
-- Michael Ciesiulka
Ethan's video has gone viral - click here for a follow-up story from WGRZ, Channel 2, Buffalo, NY
In Memorium - Jimmy Sacca
March 12, 2015
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Jimmy Sacca. A Lockport, NY native, Mr. Sacca, lead singer of the Hilltoppers, a vocal quartet that notched 29 hit singles from 1952 to 1957,died Saturday, March 7 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lexington, KY. He was 85. Mr. Sacca was inducted in 2008 receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Long before the Beatles made their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the world famous Hilltoppers, a vocal group from the 1950’s and 1960’s, were regulars – led by the voice of Jimmy Sacca. Their string of hits made them sought after on the Steve Allen, Milton Berle, and Arthur Godfrey Shows. They toured the country to packed venues of fans wanting to hear those fabulous renditions of songs such as “P.S. I Love You”, “Till Then”, and “Marianne”. Their recordings charted in the Billboard Top 10 in the 1950’s in the US and had a Number 1 Hit in England for 26 weeks with “Only You”.
In Memorium - Ted Reinhardt
March 7, 2015
Former bandmates of legendary local drummer Ted Reinhardtare mourning the loss of their friend and colleague. He's one of three peoplewith ties to Western New York killed in a Virginia plane crash. Time WarnerCable News Reporter Ryan Whalen shows us how Reinhardt is being remembered.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- About an hour after the news, Haiku took the stage, the same stage their friend Ted Reinhardt played on countless times.
"He's the best drummer to come out of Western New York. There's no doubt. He had a gift. He was dedicated. He lived to play the drums," Dave Constantino said.
Reinhardt passed away in a plane crash, Wednesday (March 4). The news spread quickly around the Buffalo music community.
"It's a shock," Constantino said. "He wasn't sick. He was as healthy as an ox. To die in a plane crash that suddenly and to find out you lost a dear friend like that. It doesn't get much worse."
The drummer was part of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (class of 1985) and a founding member of the Jazz Fusion band Gamalon. George Puleo jammed with him in Gamalon for years.
"He never said anything bad about anybody when it came to music or something else," Puleo said. "He always could learn from another drummer and he was always eager to share what he knew about music and about playing with other people. He was really excited about that all the time."
Reinhardt's most recent band included his wife, his brother and guitarist Ron LoCurto. Long before LoCurto became a member, he was a fan.
"He was just electrifying and incredible and someone I'd always wanted to play with so when it finally got a chance to happen it was like, 'Man, I'm playing with Ted Reinhardt," LoCurto said.
But local musicians said it wasn't just Reinhardt's talent that made him so fun to be around.
"On top of being a consummate musician, he was a consummate person," LoCurto said. "He was a total sweetheart. He would do anything for anybody and he was just a blast to be around."
Wednesday, Haiku members said they'd be rocking hard, because Reinhardt wouldn't have it any other way.
"Thankfully we have the music and we have the records to remember what that was like," Puleo said.
"Love you Ted. I can't believe I'm not going to hear his drumming anymore," LoCurto said. "But I'll be listening to him for the rest of my life."
In Memorium - Richard E. "Dick" Grapes
Feb. 17, 2015
Richard E. “Dick” Grapes, a lifelong resident of North Tonawanda and 2009 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductee as a member of the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet, died unexpectedly Sunday, February 15 at his home. He was 90.
Mr. Grapes sang baritone with the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet, where he won the International Championship of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBQSA), now Barbershop Harmony Society, in 1950. The society was established to promote and preserve barbershop music as an art form.
Mr. Grapes and the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet toured Germany, Korea and Japan, entertaining service men and women for the Armed Services. In 1956, they won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout Show and made several additional appearances on the radio show. They made television appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, Bell Telephone Hour, American Music Theater, Perry Como Show, The Today Show, Tonight Show and the Mike Douglas Show, and even performed for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower during his presidential campaign. He sang with the quartet for eight years from 1949 to 1957.
Mr. Grapes was also a charter member of the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame. He was the voice of the North Tonawanda High School football team for 51 years,and was honored to have the press box named the "Dick Grapes Press Box" in 2008. He fulfilled his lifelong love of football by becoming a high school official and became a sideline official and member of the“chain-gang” for the Buffalo Bills football team, where he worked the yardage and down markers for all home games from 1988 to 2002.
Mr. Grapes was the last surviving Member of the 1950 international champion quartet The Buffalo Bills - arguably the most famous barbershop quartet ever. Although the styles of barbershop singing have evolved over the years, no quartet has ever achieved such public fame as the Bills and probably no quartet ever will. He was a very gracious man and will truly be missed.
Musician Medics at the VA - february 17
Pictured L to R: The VA's Nancy Kaszynski with Mark Weber and his father, Joe.
Yellen Foundation Winner records original song at GCR Audio
January 24, 2015
20-year-old Jess Chizuk of Lakeview, NY, the 2014 winner of The Lucille and Jack Yellen Foundation Songwriter’s Contest, received a full day of recording at Robby Takac’s (of Goo Goo Dollsfame) GCR Recording Studio. On hand in the studio to help with the recording was Richie English and BMHOF inducted members, Jerry Livingston, bass (Class of2008), and Howard Fleetwood Wilson III, drums (Class of 2013). Also on hand to mentor Erin was Tom Lorentz (Class of 2012) and Rich Sargent (Class of 2008). In addition, the song was mastered by Buffalo Music Hall of Fame President, and Grammy nominee, Anthony Casuccio, and engineered by Justin Rose of GCR Studios.
Jess was chosen from a selection of 15 entrants by a panel comprised of Buffalo Music Hall of Fame board members and inductees. The contest was focused toward individual songwriters and open to high school and college students up to 21 years of age. Originality of the song, and not the performance or recording quality, was the determining factor in selecting the winner.
Jess had thevery unique opportunity to work with these world-class musicians to help along the way with songwriting insight as well as the recording process. She will have her song "China Plates" published and it will be available in the near future.
“This is something that we are very proud to offer. Jess had the opportunity to collaborate with a group of top-level musicians and will walk away with a finished, professional master of her song,”
– Anthony Casuccio, President, BMHOF
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame is committed to its mission “to honor, preserve and protectthe diverse cultural music heritage of Western New York through education,scholarship and performance.”
2013 Denton, Cottier & Daniels Scholarship winner, Carly Hand finds success
January 24, 2015
Carly Beth Hand, one of the 2013 Denton, Cottier & Daniels Scholarship winners, has been busy putting her scholarhsip to work. Below is an excerpt from an email she sent to BMHOF board president Anthony Casuccio:
"Hi Mr. Casuccio
I’m not sure if you remember me or not. I've been meaning to write you for almost a year, and I’m terribly sorry for the delay but I’ve been so busy with school, applying to colleges and auditioning. To jog your memory, my name is Carly Beth Hand and I tied for 1st place in the 2013 BMHOF “Denton Cottier & Daniels” Student Music Scholarship Award and attended the wonderful 2013 Induction Gala at the Tralf.
I’ve been wanting to thank you and the BMHOF again and to let you know what I did with the $750 Scholarship I received! I finally produced a CD containing 12 of my original piano compositions, joined ASCAP, and am selling my CD’s at Amazon, iTunes and CDBaby.com. My music is also available on Spotify, Rhapsody and various other music streaming sites under the name, Carly Beth. I also produced some YouTube videos of my piano solos and a guitar song that I wrote with lyrics (under the name Carly Hand). I also have my own website: carlybeth.com or carlyhand.com
Just last month, I performed on stage with my piano idol, Jim Brickman, on December 20, 2014 at Rockwell Hall in Buffalo State College during Brickman’s 2014 Winter Holiday Tour. I was invited to perform on stage with him after being a finalist in his national “Jim Brickman in the Spotlight” Contest with my song, “Where I’m Going". It was an amazing experience performing in front of about 1000 people! Jim’s general manager, Wendy Leonard, said, “When I heard Carly’s music for the first time, I thought it was Jim playing.” And, as a matter of fact, I’ve been told by previous judges that I am “The Next Jim Brickman”, and that is how Jim Brickman introduced me to the audience! I even got to sell and autograph my own CD’s at the end of the concert along with Brickman’s crew!
Again, many thanks to you and the BMHOF, and I hope you get a chance to listen to some of my music.
A YouTube video of Carly's performance at the Jim Brickman concert is above. All of us at the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame are very proud to be a part of Carly's success and can see that she has a very bright future ahead of her.
Please check our website for upcoming notices for this year's Denton, Cottier & Daniels Scholarship. "It's All About the Music"
In Memorium - Joseph Guercio
January 10, 2015
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame is again saddened by the loss of another one of its prominent members, Joseph Guercio. Mr. Guercio, a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, Class of 2001, died Sunday, Jan. 4, in a Nashville, Tennessee, hospice facility, following a short illness. He was 87. Mr. Guercio was a close friend and orchestra leader for Elvis Presley from 1970 until 1977, the time of Elvis' death. He toured with Diana Ross and accompanied many stars including Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, Florence Henderson, Connie Stevens and many other stars.
For more information on Mr. Guercio, select the following link for an in-depth artcile from The Buffalo News:
The Buffalo News - click here
In Memorium - Lance Diamond - A Local Legend
January 5, 2015
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame is deeply saddened by the passing of Buffalo music icon Lance Diamond. His death leaves a huge hole in the heart of the Buffalo music community that will be impossible to fill. But at the same time, Lance leaves behind a lifetime of great memories, both onstage and off. Lance is a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and was inducted in 1992. He was a big supporter of our organization – as well as many others throughout Western NY. His talent, charm, charisma, style and smile will be greatly missed.
For more information from local media sources about Lance Diamond:
WGRZ - Channel 2 - click here
WIVB - Channel 4 - click here
WKBW - Channel 7 - click here
The Buffalo News - click here
Jack Yellen Songwriter Contest Winner Announced
December 31, 2014
Congratulations to Jess Chizuk from Lake View, NY. She is the winner of the 2014 Lucille and Jack Yellen Foundation Songwriter’s contest. She will be working with Hall of Fame members at GCR Audio on her song “China Plates”. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest.
In Memorium - Walter N. Weber
December 29, 2014
Walter “Wally” N. Weber, a World War II veteran and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee, died Wednesday, December 24 at Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga. He was 92.
Mr. Weber was an accomplished, self-taught musician, playing the mandolin, acoustic guitar and bass. As part of the well-known Weber Family, Mr. Weber and his brothers – Ernest and Fritz –performed country music at numerous clubs and jamborees, and helped many local musicians get their start.
In 1999, the Weber Family was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as one of the first country western bands to receive prominence for their bluegrass sound. During his long musical career, Mr. Weber played with a number of country western bands and had the pleasure of working with many renowned and local musicians, including Stan Szelest, Eddie Bentley, Duane Hall and Ramblin’ Lou. He will be truly missed.
Meet the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Class of 2014
October 2, 2014
Thank you to WBBZ for preparing the above video of the 32nd Annual Induction Gala which was held at Classics V Banquet Center in Amherst NY. WBBZ's own Kim Piazza presided over the ceremonies where 18 new inductees were formally inducted into the BUffalo Music Hall of Fame. Below is a list by category of the Class of 2014:
Category - Performer
Joe Bompczyk, one of Buffalo’s original punk rockers. A giant of a man, he was guitarist and songwriter for the Enemies and later recorded on Mercury Records with The Restless, a supergroup of Buffalo new wave era rockers
Michael Campagna, a songwriter and guitarist for stars such as Chaka Khan, Maxine Nightengale and Jennifer Holiday. Campagna has gone on to record with avantgarde rock outfit Psychic TV and more recently has done jazz recordings and provided music (along with fellow Hall of Famer Gary Mallabar) for the Dan Patrick national radio sports talk show.
Gary Keller, a nationally known saxophone player and teacher at the University of Miami. He was a founder of the Miami Saxophone Quartet, has recorded multiple CDs and has toured/recorded/performed artists such as Frank Sinatra, Woody Herman, Dr. Lonnie Smith and JacoPastorious.
Geno McManus, guitarslinger for hire. He has built up a following in Japan (18 tours so far), managed and served as music director for a Japanese Beatles tribute band that played at Madison Square Garden, done backing vocals for Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), and recorded on a wide variety of CDs and records in Western New York.
Bob Meier, the founder of the Hitmen Horns and a musical force in his own right. A trombonist, Meier first recorded in 1970 and has been on dozens of records and CDs since.
Joe Parisi, trumpet player and teacher. In addition to a long career as music teacher in Buffalo City Schools, finishing his career at South Park, he has performed with jazz and big band outfits for decades.
Marty Peters, performer, producer, writer, inventor. After performing through his high school years at most of Buffalo’s bigger venues, he went to Colorado, where he ran his own studio, performed for 20-plus years, was a long-time writer for Recording Magazine and invented the Slider Instrument Support System. It has become widely used by guitarists with back problems.
Jack Prybylski, jazz saxophonist and teacher. A long-time teacher in the Niagara Falls schools, he has also recorded numerous albums with Them Jazzbeards and several of his own smooth jazz recordings.
Theresa Quinn, keyboard player, singer and music director. She can regularly be found performing and arranging for musical theater, playing worship music at churches or performing jazz or any of several other genres. She’s even a former member of the Gordon Highlanders marching group.
Category - Non-Performer
Tom Calderone, president of the VH1. He started his media/music career in Buffalo as program director of Buffalo State College’s WBNY-FM and went onto lead one of the nation’s most popular music media companies.
David Musial, a prolific producer and performer. Musial, a Buffalo-area native, has performed electronic music with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, designed studios, created positive music programs for schools, recorded LPs and performed in a variety of venues.
Kenny Thomasula, singer, percussionist. He has sung and played percussion with bands from National Trust in the 1970s through Breakthru today, plus done vocals on innumerable radio commercials.
Category - Legacy Award
Robin Adair, a singer, songwriter, recording artist and actress who appeared on Broadway, in television and film as well as radio, used her teen idol status and philanthropic interests as an ambassador in The Civil Rights Movement campaign. Robin joined forces with a Capital Records subsidiary, Powertree Records’ president Curtis Reginald Lewis, one of the first black composers and lyricists to own a music publishing company in the 1950s.
Anne Fadale, the matriarch of what has been called “Buffalo’s First Family of Jazz.” She was the house pianist for WBEN radio and TV (known as “Aunt Annie”), studied with the legendary Oscar Peterson and was the regular solo pianist at E.B. Green’s in the Hyatt Regency for several years before her death in 1990.
Spoon & the House Rockers, blues rockers. Elmo Weatherspoon’s House Rockers combo served as a launching ground for any number of performers – including Jay Beckenstein of SpyroGyra – before Spoon’s death in 1975.
Category - Industry Award
Denton, Cottier & Daniels, piano and organ store. This store traces its history to 1827, when James D. Sheppard first displayed his instruments at the old Eagle Tavern on Main Street in Buffalo. It has been on Dodge Road in Getzville since 1999.
Category - President's Award
Jeff Miers, the pop music critic for The Buffalo News since 2002. He is a critic who has both reported on the Buffalo area’s music scene and participated in it as guitarist in bands such as the Tails and the Dollywatchers.
Category - Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Joe Baudo, big band leader and keyboardist. The former Sweet Home High School music teacher has played a major role in keeping big band jazz alive in Western New York, directing a band playing weekly for the last several years and also recording four albums of big band and jazz.
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and Hard Rock cafe, Niagara Falls USA Continue A Successful Collaboration
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and the Hard Rock Cafe presented the Volume IV BMHOF CD release party on June 26, 2014 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls NY. A reception was held in the BMHOF Room at the Hard Rock and a line-up of Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductees performed at the event. Performers included:
- ED BENTLEY (Country Song Meister & Rockabilly Hall of Fame Member)
- JOE HEAD (Buffalo’s Answer To James Taylor)
- TOM LORENTZ (Singer, Guitarist, Song Crafter)
- THE BUFFALO TOUCH (Polka Band Extraordinaire)
- BILLY McEWEN (Master Rhythm And Blues Vocalist)
- THE GOOD (Classic Punk)
- ERIN SYDNEY WELSH (Winner of The 2013 Jack Yellen Foundation Young Writer’s Award)
Pictured: Buffalo Musician Medics Vinnie Derosa, Joe Head and Bruce Moser with staff members at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.