Sammys tap Spadafore

— 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 dfoley442@aol.com. 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.

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