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 Webber 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 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.