The inside story. Once a year old friends get together to honor their own. Everywhere you turned there was a familiar face. Blues, Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Country artists with names as recognizable as the personas they created shared stories, hugs, laughs and tears.
The Hall of Fame welcomed an educator, a pile of legendary players, a composer, and the granddaddy of all Rock Bands to the fold. The Seven really did it back in the day. They were full-time musicians. They had a record deal. Real hits. They were super stars back in the 60s and into the 70s. Ron Wray
, on his History or Syracuse Music Blog gives some great insight into THE SEVEN
I doubt that any of them will remember this, but back in 1969 or so I auditioned for the Seven. Yes, I hitched a ride to Syracuse from Potsdam for a shot at playing trumpet with this great band. I remember how cool they were. And SERIOUS. This was their job. And it was definitely what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Long story short? I didn't get the gig. I went back to Crane to complete my degree in music. I gave up the trumpet and decided to focus on composition. Heh, heh.... Funny how stuff just seems to happen for a reason. I love the guys to this day.
Sadly, we've lost a couple of these legendary souls. Nick Russo, the original lead vocalist in the band joined me on one of my favorite tracks of all time. "The Gift" was first recorded with Nick on percussion, my son Brett on bass, and one of my daughters, Briana in the chorus of kids. They touched greatness when they got to play with Nick.
Two of my favorite personalities are now in the Hall of Fame. Look at these guys. They represent the center of our community. Scott Sterling, musician, sound guy, House Booker for all of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Ques, and so much more. His acceptance speech ROCKED. It was a mini history of all that it takes for greatness. He has touched SO many lives. And then there's Skip Murphy. He must be considered as our spokesman, our spark, our cheerleader, our go to guy to sit in. His harmonica playing is superb, but his banter, rap, writing, and leadership drives this community. He did a remarkable job of emceeing Awards night. He kept it flowing and on track, never missing a chance to spotlight, highlight or add humor or commentary. Brilliant.
I love Jessica Novak
's writing. READ THIS: LINK
It's perfect reporting on everything that happened at the Hall of Fame Induction.
One more personal observation. My friend and colleague Jim Spadafore was inducted into the Hall of Fame as our Educator of the Year. He just retired after a stellar career as Liverpool Music Department's Band Director. Incidentally, he's now advising student teachers for my alma mater, Crane School of Music. Here's the freak out for me. During his acceptance speech he stopped to note that when he as a teenager, he used to sneak into gigs to hear Larry Luttinger and myself play. Heh, heh.... Yeah, I get it. I have been around long enough for a kid to be inspired to enter a career in music, have a career in music, and retire from a career in music.
I'm still playing.