Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremony returns after two-year hiatus. Meet the inductees

·6 min read

The Rochester Music Hall of Fame will induct its ninth class at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 1, in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre. It's the first time after a two-year hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Being enshrined are:

  • The Dady Brothers, the duo of John and Joe Dady, who charmed audiences with their blend of American folk roots and traditional Irish music for 45 years until Joe’s death in 2019

  • Grammy-winning sound and mixing engineer Mick Guzauski

  • Acclaimed jazz singer Nancy Kelly

  • Michael Laiacona, founder of Whirlwind Music Distributors, which powers some of the biggest names in rock

  • Influential jazz drummer and percussionist Roy McCurdy

  • The Eastman School of Music and Eastman Theatre

"Rochester has a rich and diverse musical heritage, and we are proud to foster and celebrate that through the Rochester Music Hall of Fame," said Jack Whittier, the organization’s president.

Tickets to the event (starting at $31) are on sale at

Here's more on the 2022 Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees:

The Dady  Brothers
The Dady Brothers

The Dady Brothers

The late Bat McGrath, a class of 2013 Hall of Fame member, once called The Dady Brothers "the best acoustic act I've seen."

Having mastered the guitar, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, mandolin, bodhran, harmonica, concertina, uilleann pipes and pennywhistle, John and Joe Dady played more than 7,000 shows, from their hometown of Rochester to Alaska, the Caribbean and Ireland.

At Sunday’s ceremony, John, his children Conor Dady and Mara Jones and a group of fellow musicians will perform four songs: "Conesus Cabin Home," written by Joe about his home of 22 years; "It Used to be Darker," a song about hope written by John; "Hill of the Berries," composed by John Ryan for Joe’s funeral; and "Glass O the Pipes," composed by Pat Maloney as a tribute to Joe and John after Joe’s death from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia.

"I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t with bittersweet emotions that I accept this honor," said John, who also is scheduled to play a free show with Maloney and Steve Piper Thursday, May 5, at the Little Café. "But my faith tells me that my beloved brother Joe will be by my side at the induction.

"I’m just praying to God that I can hold it together, to be honest with you. It’s going to be emotional. I’ll have to look over everyone’s heads because if I see the faces of family and friends and they’re crying, I’ll lose it."

Mick Guzauski
Mick Guzauski

Mick Guzauski

Nathan "Mick" Guzauski grew up in Rochester and as a teenager created a recording studio in his parents’ basement.

Fellow Rochester native and Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Mangione enticed him to relocate to Los Angeles and engineer his album, a recording that involved a 45-piece orchestra.

In subsequent years, Guzauski engineered several more albums for Mangione. The list of other musicians who went on to choose Guzauski to mix their songs includes Michael Jackson, Prince, Daft Punk, Eric Clapton, Marc Anthony, Pharrell Williams and Janelle Monáe.

In his career, Guzauski has mixed 27 number-one hit singles and won multiple Grammy Awards.

Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly
Nancy Kelly

Born in Rochester and raised in Scottsville, Nancy Kelly studied at Eastman School of Music and went on to a four-decade international singing career.

Now based in Fair Haven, Cayuga County, she was twice named "Best Female Jazz Vocalist" by readers’ polls in "DownBeat" magazine.

Her swing/bop style brought her to audiences across the United States and from Singapore to Switzerland, France to Turkey and tours through Asia.

She performs regularly in New York City at The Blue Note, Birdland, The Rainbow Room and Dizzy’s Jazz Club, and at Lincoln Center.

Her debut CD, "Live Jazz," reached No. 11 on the Billboard charts.

She will perform at the induction ceremony with her band.

Michael Laiacona
Michael Laiacona

Michael Laiacona

Whirlwind Music Distributors, still headquartered in Greece after 45 years, has kept the biggest rock tours and major events wired.

The company, founded by Michael Laiacona and his late wife, Bonnie Gardner, makes professional audio lighting and power-interfacing products, including cords and power distribution.

Clients using Whirlwind cables include Cheap Trick, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and Tedeschi Trucks Band, as well as the Pentagon, the White House, NASA and Walt Disney World.

Today, the company has more than 130 employees.

Laiacona’s earlier company, MXR, created effects pedals for guitars, which helped establish the sound of the 1970s. John Lennon was a fan.

Laiacona plays bass as a member of local band Black Rabbit.

At the Hall of Fame ceremony, a musical tribute to his legacy will be performed by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, and Grammy-winning guitarist Steve Stevens, lead guitarist for Billy Idol.

Roy McCurdy
Roy McCurdy

Roy McCurdy

Rochester native Roy McCurdy has recorded or toured with such jazz icons as Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Herbie Hancock and Diana Krall, as well as fellow Hall of Fame inductees Chuck Mangione and Gap Mangione.

McCurdy began playing drums at the age of 9, took lessons as a teenager from Bill Street at the Eastman School of Music and at 17 performed with jazz trumpeter Roy Eldridge and saxophonist Eddie Vinson.

Early in his career, in addition to serving in the U.S. Air Force, McCurdy joined the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet and then traveled extensively as a member of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet.

"Modern Drummer" magazine said McCurdy opened the door for funk and fusion by emphasizing the backbeat and employing a definitive bass drum pattern.

He also has done studio work for NBC and contributed to several commercial jingles.

In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California and serves on the faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.

During the ceremony, he will perform with a group of Rochester-based musicians.

The Eastman School of Music and Eastman Theatre

While the other five inductees were identified in 2020, the Eastman School of Music and Eastman Theatre was added to the list in March. The honor will coincide with the Eastman Centennial Celebration.

Kodak founder George Eastman established the institution in 1921 as the first professional school of the University of Rochester. The Eastman Theatre, the school’s largest performance venue, opened on Sept. 4, 1922.

To date, of 54 Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees, 17 are Eastman School alumni, leadership or faculty.

More: Celebrating 100 years of music at Eastman School

Reporter Marcia Greenwood covers general assignments. Send story tips to Follow her on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Rochester Music Hall of Fame: Here are the 2022 inductees