Mar 06, 2013 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Former Liverpool High School band director Jim Spadafore will be honored as Music Educator of the Year this week at the Syracuse Area Music Awards show.
Spadafore, who lives on Second Street in the village, will receive his special Sammy at the 2013 Sammys Hall of Fame Induction dinner, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, Upstairs at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 246 W. Willow St. at the corner of North Franklin Street, in downtown Syracuse.
Tickets cost $20, including a barbecue dinner, and can be purchased by calling Debbie Foley at 247-1718, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2013 Sammy Awards show, which will honor local recording artists in 12 categories, will; be staged at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8 at the Palace Theater, 2384 James St., in Eastwood.
This year’s Sammys Hall of Fame inductees are harmonica player Skip Murphy, soundman/manager Scott Sterling, bassist John Dancks, vocalist Willie “Taters” Mavins and 1970s-era rock band The Seven.
Spadafore will join another famous Jimmy among the new Sammys honorees. The late tunesmith Jimmy Van Heusen will receive the 2013 Sammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in the Salt City a century ago, Van Heusen changed his name from Chester Babcock in 1928 while working as an announcer at a local radio station.
As for Jim Spadafore, he was raised in Liverpool and attended local schools where he studied clarinet with reed-master Joe Riposo, a longtime member of the Sammys Hall of Fame.
Last year Spadafore retired from teaching after three-and-a-half decades in the Liverpool Central School District. He started here as an instructor in the district’s middle and elementary schools. In 1992, Spadafore was transferred to Liverpool High School where he led the Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Stage Band and small ensembles.
Under his direction the LHS Symphonic Band performed at the 1996 NYSSMA winter conference, the 1997 and 2006 New York State School Band Directors Association Symposium, the 1998 Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic and the 2002 and 2007 Bands of America National Concert Festival.
The Jazz Ensemble played several years in a row at the Syracuse Jazz Festival, and Spadafore formed the Liverpool B3 Combo which competed at the Next Generation Festival in Monterey, Calif., earning a second-place finish.
Thanks to the annual Jumpin’ Jazz Jams, which Spadafore helped establish in 1996, the Jazz Ensemble has performed with artists such as The New York Voices, guitarist John Pizzarelli, organist Joey DeFrancesco, vocalist Jane Monheit and trumpeter Terrance Blanchard.
As a freelance saxophonist, Spadafore often performs in pit bands for stage shows, and he presently plays in two big bands, The Salt City Jazz Collective and the Stan Colella Orchestra.
While Spadafore’s improvisational reed work is featured on several recordings, Jim remains most proud of his students, many of whom now play professionally. Those young musicians include drummer Greg Evans, guitarist J.P. Midgely, trombonist Melissa Gardiner, guitarist Tom Bronzetti, vocalist Nick Blaney and saxophonist David Carpenter.
Regardless of the level of their talents, Jim’s students all earned his praise. “I consider each of these students outstanding,” Spadafore said once at a student concert. “All of the kids have grown, and that’s how I measure success, not in how many trophies they’ve won.”
At Thursday’s ceremony, Spadafore will be sure to thank his three children, Joel, Crista and Samantha, and his significant other, Betsey, for all of their support. “They all inspire me each and every day,” he said.