Eddies Music Awards Hall of Fame announces 6th class

Induction ceremony is March 25

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The sixth class of inductees for the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame has been announced. It includes artists from the fields of classical, folk, jazz and electronic music, as well as a pioneering hip-hop songwriter and two individuals who chronicled the local music scene as journalists.

The late Jackie Alper, the late Nick Brignola, George Guarino, David Alan Miller, the late Pauline Oliveros, Margie Rosenkranz, Billy Waring and Don Wilcock will be inducted into the Eddies Music Hall of Fame Monday, March 25 at Universal Preservation Hall. The ceremony is open to the public and includes musical performances, a social hour, videos on the musical career of each inductee and acceptance speeches. Tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at Proctors in-person, via phone at (518) 346-6204 Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. or online by visiting atuph.org.

This class brings the total number of inductees to 40 since 2019. An aluminum engraved plaque honoring each recipient is permanently hung at UPH.

The 2024 slate was chosen by an advisory council made up of professionals in the local music field. The event precedes the annual Eddies Music Awards, which will be held Sunday, April 21 at Proctors in Schenectady.

More information on the Eddies Music Hall of Fame is available at theeddiesawards.com. The Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards and Hall of Fame, as well as UPH, are part of Proctors Collaborative.

About the inductees:

Jackie Alper sang with the Almanac Singers, which included Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Burl Ives in its line-up. Later, she helped found the Weavers, introducing a 16-year-old Ronnie Gilbert to Pete, Lee, and Freddie Hellerman, as they took part in the “Great Folk Music Scare of the 1950s and 60s.” The Brooklyn native hosted WRPI’s “Mostly Folk for Mostly Folks” radio show for at least 25 years starting in 1971. She also turned her husband Joe Alper’s 30,000 music photographs into one of the folk revival’s most meticulously documented archives. Together, they played a key role in supporting Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs in its early years, often housing musicians including Bob Dylan at their Schenectady home. She passed away in 2007. 

Troy native Nick Brignola was a well-respected baritone sax player in jazz, as well as a band leader. He shared the stage with jazz greats including Phil Woods, Woody Herman, Chet Baker, and Pepper Adams, and recorded 20 albums of his own—his 1981 album ”L.A. Bound” was nominated for a Grammy—and appeared on many others as a guest artist. He won DownBeat magazine’s International Critic’s Poll as ”New Star” in 1959 and later topped many annual DownBeat and JazzTimes critic and reader polls as “Best Baritone Saxophonist.” He taught jazz theory and history at several local colleges and helped start a jazz education program at the College of Saint Rose. He passed away in 2002.

George Guarino created Albany’s music television show, “Real George’s Backroom” (1981-91) and Buzz magazine (1985-95). He was passionate about advancing original music bands of that era while introducing the dance floor to 80’s new wave, punk, industrial and indie music as a featured DJ at Albany’s infamous 288 Lark (1981-87) and QE2 (1987-90) clubs. He was also a DJ at WRPI. Guarino has developed a reputation since 2005 as one of the area’s prominent clinical hypnosis practitioners.  

Seven-time Grammy nominee David Alan Miller has been music director and conductor of the Albany Symphony Orchestra since 1992. During his tenure, the ASO has released more than 30 albums, most featuring recent American music; two have won Grammys. In 1994, he founded Dogs of Desire, an 18-member ensemble that has commissioned over 150 new works from emerging American composers. He has guest conducted with most major U.S orchestras, as well as many in Europe, Australia and the Far East. He also serves as artistic advisor to the Little Orchestra Society (NYC) and the Sarasota Orchestra (Fl.).

Pauline Oliveros was an American composer, accordionist and central figure in the development of post-World War II experimental and electronic music. A Houston native, she relocated to upstate NY in 1981 after many years teaching and performing in California. She developed a ground-breaking music theory called “Sonic Meditations” and founded the term Deep Listening®, a practice of profound sonic awareness which came from her childhood fascination with sounds. Known for her works in composition, improvisation and electro-acousticsshe was Distinguished Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy where she founded the Center for Deep Listening. She passed away in 2016.

Margie Rosenkranz has been the executive artistic director of the Eighth Step Coffee House since 1987. Founded in 1967 in the basement of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Albany, the organization is renowned nationally for its presentation of top contemporary singer-songwriters, as well as social justice work. Eighth Step left its original home in 2000 and accepted a residency at Proctors in 2007. The Schenectady native, born into a musical family, is an accomplished vocalist and has also served as artistic director of the Great Hudson River Revival, a long-standing music and environmental summer festival.  

An unsung hero of hip-hop, Harlem native William “Billy Bill” Waring began his musical career as a b-boy with longtime friends Kurtis Walker (aka Kurtis Blow) and producer Danny Harris. Waring got his first taste of hip-hop music at DJ Kool Herc parties and from 1980-84 he penned the classic songs “Hard Times,” “Basketball,” “You Gotta Believe” and “Games People Play,” and co-wrote much of the Fat Boys’ first album. His music has been used in films and television shows such as “Krush Groove,” “Empire,” “Black Monday,” “Hip Hop Uncovered” and more. 

Don Wilcock has spent a career elevating the New York Capital Region arts scene into international recognition. Founder and president of the Northeast Blues Society, he helped boost the careers of local artists Albert Cummings and Tas Cru to worldwide touring success and in conjunction with the state of New York produced the annual Fleet Blues Festival, a three-stage event featuring the world’s hottest blues stars. He founded “Kite,” the area’s first arts weekly, in 1970. His columns have appeared in The Schenectady Gazette, Metroland, The Saratogian, The Troy Record and Nippertown. He is contributing editor of The Blues Music Magazine with cover stories in three recent issues. His biography of Buddy Guy, “Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues,” helped propel Guy from a club act to the biggest living star in the genre. The CEO of the King Biscuit Blues Festival calls Wilcock the most prolific blues writer in the world.