SAMMY awards celebrate vibrant Syracuse audio scene with awards, overall performance

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A working day after being inducted into the SAMMY Hall of Fame, voice actor and musician Tom Kenny took the phase at the Oncenter’s Crouse Hinds theater with his band, Tom Kenny & The Hello-Seas, and reflected on a pivotal moment for his profession.

“About 23 years ago, my existence took a serious insane change when a guy that I knew, Steve Hillenberg, showed me this small drawing of a sponge wearing trousers and a hat that he drew on a napkin,” Kenny, who’s recognised for voicing the title character for “SpongeBob SquarePants” and his numerous musical contributions to the show, explained all through the band’s general performance at the 2022 SAMMYS.

Spouse and children, mates, followers and musicians collected on March 4 to acknowledge and rejoice the new music scene in Syracuse. The function was hosted by Scott Dixon, also acknowledged as dXn from area Syracuse radio station WAQX-FM 95X, and showcased a blend of award speeches and stay performances. Awards incorporated, but were being not restricted to, Finest Jazz, Best Americana, Greatest Jam Band and Group Spirit Award.

“We’ve acquired a terrific music scene right here, and to be acknowledged for your operate … There is just so a great deal talent in this article, it’s just outstanding,” Rex Lyons, vocalist and guitarist for The Ripcords, explained as he approved the Most effective Americana Award for his band.

At present the quantity a single neighborhood music celebration in the area, the SAMMYS, or Syracuse Space Audio Awards, have demonstrated to be a central factor to audio lifestyle in and all-around the town considering that the initially exhibit in 1993, Dixon stated. In addition to bestowing awards for excellence in several genres, the SAMMYS also induct musicians into their Corridor of Fame every single year.

The SAMMYS acquired 171 musical submissions from 161 diverse artists in the central New York location in 2022. This year’s nominees and winners are picked by a group of songs business gurus close to the country, and conclusions are built centered on “merit in just their style,” the SAMMYS web site reported. The panel is led by Syracuse College Setnor University of Tunes professor James Abbott.

The show, poised to enjoy many songs genres, commenced abruptly with the piercing seem of bagpipes. Soon after Dixon gave a transient introduction, the to start with SAMMY Award was presented.

For various musicians, obtaining an award was a symbol of the kinship behind their musical journey. River Westin, named the 2022 Finest Pop artist, recognized his family members for believing in him and his job.

“(Thank you) to the rest of my household, for remaining so supportive with all my tunes assignments,” Westin explained. “And getting, like, 50% of my Spotify streams.”

Fritz Scherz, son of Fritz’s Polka Band founder Fred Scherz Sr., reported audio brings his family together — Fritz’s son, Freddy, is featured on 1 of the songs from the band’s SAMMY-winning album.

Just before Fred Sr. died, he handed Fritz a observe that study, “If I could only switch back the arms of time, what a wonderful time we would have as soon as additional.” Scherz claimed that memory was the inspiration for the band’s most new album identify, “The Palms of Time.”


Fritz Scherz, whose father Fred Scherz Sr. founded Fritz’s Polka Band, named the band’s most current album soon after a concept Fred Sr. gave him just ahead of he handed. Maya Goosmann | Digital Design and style Director

Jon Rogalia, whose album “Twenty Eight,” was awarded for Ideal Place, recalled the very first time he introduced up pursuing new music to his relatives.

“I went to my dad and just reported, ‘Yeah, I want to start out actively playing audio,’ and he said, ‘You possibly should not. Just adhere to development,’” Rogalia said. “I’m happy I acquired to prove him incorrect.”

His band, Jon Rogalia & The Swamp Boys, brought common nation audio to the phase for the 1st performance of the night time, showcasing their guitarists’ and drummer’s expertise alongside with Rogalia’s design and style. Letizia and the Z Band followed and lit up the stage — Letizia wore a 1970s-reminiscent, glittery outfit as she captivated people in the audience with her superior notes.

Right after accepting the SAMMY for Best Hip-Hop or Rap with his album “1104 Vol. 2 The Leader of Genuine Shhh,” VinnyVeg mentioned songs is often tied to one’s identity.

“11/04 was the day I was born, and I was born for this,” he stated, and the viewers erupted with applause. “I adore Syracuse … I am Syracuse. And now I am Syracuse Hip-Hop.”

Trauma Cat, the Greatest Different SAMMY winner, took an exciting twist on their id when they accepted their award. Their website outlines the band as “the founders of cuck rock, an indeterminate college of music indebted to incessant apology and shameless cross-style appropriation.” Band associates took to the stage, and, to only some people’s shock, started off apologizing.

“First of all, we’d like to apologize, due to the fact that is type of our factor,” said Ralph Kojig, direct singer and guitarist for Trauma Cat. “Best alternate album … but substitute to what, particularly? Different to ‘good?’ A person can only hope, truly.”

Trauma Cat’s band users ended up decked out in cat ear hats, but they absolutely weren’t the only vogue statement of the night time. Musicians dressed in accordance with what men and women may perhaps count on from their respective genres — cowboy hats and bolo ties for country artists, daring assertion colors for pop artists, and ornate and dishevelled silhouettes for hip-hop artists.


The next performance came from Tom Kenny & The Hello-Seas, which featured guitarists, history vocalists and saxophones, and it took maintain of the audience’s attention and didn’t permit go. The group exhibited plain array as they moved involving blues, jam tunes and lastly, the millennial common “The Best Day Ever” from the “SpongeBob SquarePants” soundtrack.

Kenny claimed for the duration of the set that the spotlight of his occupation came when “The Greatest Day Ever” was involved on Broadway’s rendition of the common children’s display, and the score was then nominated for a Tony Award.

Right after a energetic performance, which involved Kenny’s famed SpongeBob voice and viewers participation, Dixon returned to the stage.

“Sorry, I just needed to test and see if the roof was nonetheless on this spot,” he stated. “Did anyone else just have a moment right there?”

The theater was crammed with gleeful chatter between groups of close friends and spouse and children, one thing that wasn’t doable in the calendar year prior. The past SAMMYS took put in March 2020, just right before lockdown mandates and quarantine suggestions were being implemented in the U.S. Final 12 months, the exhibit was held pretty much.

Whilst it wasn’t a large target of the clearly show, several artists and presenters voiced their gratitude that figures in the Syracuse neighborhood could come with each other in individual all over again.

Whilst hundreds of people today attended the occasion, the atmosphere in the place was that of a modest city get-together. Carl Cafarelli, presenter of the Most effective Rock SAMMY — which was presented to Not Robots! — expressed his satisfaction in the central New York tunes lifestyle.

“Oh my god, I appreciate Syracuse,” he mentioned. “I like Syracuse!”