Rock Band: Rockin Hi Lows
An Oswego native, Elmer G. Hadlow was born September 23rd 1915, and was the father of 5 children (Thomas, Julie, Jeanne, Jackie,and Jill).
He was an active member of the Oswego community, and was a well-known and charismatic life-long resident.
He was a charter member of the Oswego Lion's Club, and held various job positions in the City of Oswego, including manager of the, SUNY Oswego bookstore, prior to his retirement.
In addition to his family, Elmer's favorite past time and passion was singing, primarily as a baritone. He sang in the Christ Church choir for many years and was active in the, “Oswego Snowbelter's Chorus”, of which he was the longest living member (40 years) before his death in 2005. Throughout his music career Elmer sang in a variety of quartets- including, “The Classic Touch”, and performed in numerous shows and local events.
After his passing at the age of 89, his family established the, Elmer G. Hadlow Memorial Music Scholarship, which for over a decade provided deserving Oswego High School seniors with scholarships to pursue a career or education in music.
His love for his family will always be his greatest legacy and his love for music was never ending.
Nick was born in Oswego on May 20, 1922 to Carmelo and Maria Sterio. The 2nd of 3 children, he began his musical career at a young age, first learning to play the banjo, where he could make 50 cents a night playing with his father’s Italian American Citizens Band.
At Oswego High, Nick learned to play the Clarinet, and at 16 years, old performed for the first with the Oswego City Summer Concert Band.
Nick attended Aviation School in Elmira, NY, where he met Orville Wright, and later served in the US Army Air Corp., spending time in Biloxi Miss, and Corpus Chrisye Texas, where he became a member of the “Air-Sea Rescue”. He returned to Oswego, working as a carpenter for many years before opening Sterio’s Men’s Shop in 1954. He married Adele Stracuzzi in 1958, and they raised 2 children, David and Judy, in his family homestead. Nick is a life member of many organizations, American Federation of Musicians, Oswego Country Club, Carpenters Union, Elks Club, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Charles C. Crisafulli Post, and was past president of the Musicians Union, Kiwanis, Jay Cee’s and YMCA.
Nick’s musical career took off in the 1940’s, when he started his 1st band, a quartet, which played regularly at The Hillview Inn. As time went on, the bands got bigger, the gigs more frequent, and, in their heyday, the Nick Sterio Orchestra was playing 2, 3, and sometimes 4 jobs every weekend. Nick’s band was the ‘Go-To’ group for every wedding, prom, fraternity/sorority formal, dinner dance and Policeman’s/Fireman’s/Charity Ball for many years. Most every prominent musician in CNY has played with Nick, during his 75 year run as a band leader. Additionally, while in his 80’s he performed several times with the National Community Band along the east coast. At 92, Nick was still performing with the Oswego City Band, the longest participating member of the organization.
Nick still likes to sit at home, practicing his clarinet and sax while watching the television. He and Adele are still quite active around town, where you can usually find them out late at night having dinner at one of their favorite hang-outs.
My first guitar came from the dump, the landfill. It was sitting on a pile and I thought it would look good hanging on my bedroom wall. After a couple weeks I decided to get some strings for it, so I went down to see my friend, Lee Pelkey who played guitar. He put the strings on it, showed me how to tune it, a couple chords and I was off and running. I forgot to mention that the headstock was broken and the previous owner had put a brace on the back with wood screws. One of the screws protruded through the fret board. Each time I played an "E" chord, the screw stuck in my finger. Why didn't I file it down ?
I was too busy learning ! It also taught me not to squeeze the neck and to play lighter on the strings ! My next guitar came from Farris' store that sold appliances as well as a Harmony archtop acoustic guitar my mom bought. Cost was $39.95 and no screws !
My first band was with Henry McCollum, Pete Sweeny and Lee Pelkey.. Lee left for a reason I don't remember and then Cal Clark. Our first gig was at, Quack Regan's on Sunday afternoon's. I think we were there about 3 weeks before Quack got tired of the extra business and racket !
My next gig was with the Thunderbird's, with Joe Spereno (sax and vocals), Jim Dillabaugh (bass), Duane Wilson (rhythm and vocals), Frank Souky (drums). I had moved up town !
My gig with the Thunderbird's didn't last long as I was moving to New York City. I was 17 years old and would be on my own, of course I brought my guitar with me ! After a couple years Uncle Sam said here I am, give me that guitar, take this rifle. So, I did 3 years in the military...
I've had the pleasure of playing with many, many great musicians both near and far.... Thanx y'all, it's been a blast !
Jim Yeager, at age 14, already off to a great start!
Edward S. Lisk is an internationally recognized clinician, conductor, and author. He is the former K-12 Music Supervisor and Director of Bands for the Oswego City School District (1970-1991).
He is a recent recipient of the distinguished 2015 Academy of Winds and Percussion Award (AWAPA) presented by the National Band Association. This award was established for the purpose of recognizing those individuals who have made truly significant and outstanding contributions to furthering the excellence of bands and of band music throughout the world, and determined to be so outstanding that they deserved and warranted honor and recognition. The “AWAPA” figure is designed to be the “Oscar” of the band world.
Mr. Lisk is an honored and elected member (48th) of the prestigious National Band Hall of Fame for Distinguished Conductors. Mr. Lisk joins the ranks of notable conductors such as John Philip Sousa, Edwin Franko Goldman, Henry Fillmore, Col. Arnald Gabriel, and Col. John R. Bourgeois, among many others. In 2009, Mr. Lisk received the Midwest Medal of Honor. The Midwest Medal of Honor recognizes the recipients for their conspicuous efforts, worldwide recognition, and continuing influence in the development and improvement of instrumental ensembles deserve special recognition. He received the 2012 Phi Beat Mu Outstanding Contributor Award.
Called a “unique leader in the profession” and “a dynamic force in music education,” Edward S. Lisk has been invited to speak and conduct all-state bands, honor bands, university, and professional bands throughout 85 universities in 46 states, five Canadian Provinces and Australia.. He is the author of The Creative Director Series (11 pub.) published by Meredith Music Publications, a co-author of the highly acclaimed 10-volume publication by GIA, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band and editor of the Edwin Franko Goldman March Series for Carl Fischer Music Publications.
His professional performance background includes nine years as a clarinetist with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and performing with notable television and recording personalities Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Billy Eckstein, McGuire Sisters, Liberace to name a few.
He is an inducted member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and in the year 2000, served as the 63rd President of this distinguished organization founded by Edwin Franko Goldman. Mr. Lisk served as Vice President (Emeritus) of the Midwest Clinic Board of Directors and is a past-president and CEO of the John Philip Sousa Foundation, a past-president of the National Band Association (’90-’92) and served NBA as Executive Secretary Treasurer (‘97-‘02). He is the recipient of many distinguished awards and titles.
At 8 or 9 year old, I took lessons from the local ministers wife without much success. At 14 or 15 I began lessons with, Pearl Stockwin, a teacher who had played for silent movies. During the 2 years I studied with, her I learned much about the piano, and much more about music. The next year I worked with a piano tuner/ technician, Earl Everts, and learned all about the instrument. I even rebuilt an old upright piano. At age 17, along with, Eddie Lisk and Brian Latulip, I began playing at local venues. We started at, Hotel 25 in the summer of 1953, and after Eddie Lisk left for at SU, Brian and I continued at the Hotel and later worked at, Alexandria Bay’s Crosman Hotel and Edgewood Hotel.
During the period of 1954 thru 1961 I worked at various restaurants (bars) with a host of musicians including, Bob Maher, Joel Langholz, Pat Guido, Ange Spano, Johnny Musacchio (Jan Stuart), Bill Jacobs, Maury Rebeor, Lee Goodness, Ken Fischer among others.
In 1961 after a divorce I began playing at 3 River Inn, the Three Saints Restaurant that lasted until 1962. In ’62, I returned to Oswego at the, Chart Room, where I played year round for several years. During the winter months the, Chart Room became the, Chalet Room and I played at it’s piano bar.
In 1969 I stopped playing altogether, weary of playing and not improving much musically.
In 1970 I met a bass player named Cliff Heap who worked at SUCO and Bob Stenger who was a student at SUCO and a member of the Solid State, Hugh Burritt’s baby. Cliff, Bob and I got together regularly just to play. Shortly Cliff was transferred and his spot was quickly filled by, Eddie Powers and the playing continued. Powers decided that while we were playing, why not make it at a local bar, Smith’s Hotel, operated by, Jay Harmon, who seemed to like our music. We started at, Smith’s right away and continued until we were recruited by the, Holiday Inn, one block away where we played for several years.
After bouncing around we settled at the, Cameo Cafe where we played for a couple of years. During our stint at the Cameo, Joe Spereno, who was employed at Brockport State College hired us to open for a group Rhinoceros who were appearing at the schools big week-end.
The Eddie Goodness Quartet was manned by Dick Guyer, Eddie Powers, Don Freyleue, Bob Strender, Jimmy Holmes, Joe Cortini, Dan Batchelor, Jim Butler, Dan Eason, over the years, and worked at many locations and often.
The last group consisted of Eddie Powers, Bass, Dan Batchelor, Drums, Dick Guyer, Tenor Sax, Flute, etc… and me.
My last playing engagements have been with my old friend, Nick Sterio.
With the exception of a few gigs, I have pretty much hung it up.
From Left: David Rebeor, Ed Powers, Fred Greco, Terry Fistick, David Buske
Bio credit to Janet Rebeor.
Rock ’n’ roll was the kick in the mid-1950’s and all the hip cats wanted to rattle.
At the same time Freddy Greco and Terry Fistick, both of Fulton, Dave Rebeor and Ed Powers, of Minetto, and Dave Buske, of Oswego, were five young turks still in high school, ready to blast.
In 1957, at that intersection of progressive new music and hotdogger ambition, Oswego County’s famous Rockin’ Hi-Lows was born:
Freddy Greco: lead vocals, sax
Dave Rebeor: lead guitar
Ed Powers: piano, backup vocals
Terry Fistick: drums
Dave Buske: bass
The music was boogie-woogie style like that of Chuck Berry and Chubby Checkers: heavy on sax and double-string electric guitar talk-back, with energetic drumming and plenty of flourishes and fills. Piano chords were hammered out fast and furious. Song lyrics were ripe with fast cars, fast women, and heartbreak. The groove was fun, and the beat was easy to dance the jitterbug and the twist.
The band jammed entertainment venues and high energy dance halls like Three Rivers Inn, in Seneca Knolls, The Fish Net, in Sylvan Beach, and Central High School, in Syracuse.
Getting on The Charts
In that era, the only way to break through to the big scene was with a hit record. In a wild trip to New York in early 1958, Rockin’ Hi-Lows recorded their only 45.
The A-side was a cover of The Sputnik’s “Hey Mary Ann”.
The B-side was the group’s original tune, a local crowd pleaser, “I Need Your Love”, written by Greco and Powers.
The disc received heavy local radio rotation. Musician’s lore is that “I Need Your Love” reached 101 on the music charts – just one hair outside Billboard’s Top 100 and a rocket boost to fame.
The rock-n-roll scene evolved quickly and by 1959 the freshly minted rockers had each moved to new projects.
Greco formed and fronted The Kingsmen with Powers.
At about the same time Bill Cook reorganized his Billy and the Barons lineup. Original members Jack Henderson, on drums, and Gary Illingworth, on piano, stayed with the group. The new ticket saw Rebeor in for Buddy Murray, on lead guitar, Ray Smith in for Frank Rowe, on bass, and the addition of Kenny Germain on sax.
Fistick dropped out of the scene for a while, then resurfaced in Yello-Bric Road with Pat Hillman and Jimmy Dillabough.
Through the decades all these men would find each other again and again as Oswego County’s progressive music scene evolved, grew, and entertained us all.
Where are they now?
The everlasting jam session in the sky inducted Buske, Rebeor, and Fistick.
Greco lives in Mexico, NY, with his wife Noreen.
Now in his 70s, Powers took the stage during the 2017 Oswego Musicians Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and kicked off the rust to play one more time with The Eddie Goodness Quartet.
With a bass strapped on his shoulder, one hand moved smoothly along its neck while the other plucked and strummed it, intimate and familiar.
Steeped in decades of charm and charisma, and as if no time had passed, he sang a few songs to the delight and applause of the crowd.
I Need Your Love
Recorded by: Rockin Hi Lows
Recorded by: Rockin Hi Lows
Sam's music career began with his best friend, Joe Spereno. Gathered in the Spereno family basement, a group of friends found that they really enjoyed the music scene. Jack Henderson played drums with a pair of sticks, a cardboard box and a large soup pan. Dick Hillman was the group's guitar player. Joe and Sam shared the role of lead singer. It wasn't much, but it was the beginning. The "Satellites" were born and the young musicians never looked back.
Sam Domicolo began his professional music career in 1959. Rock n' roll was the music of the time, progressing to the folk music era and back again to rock n' roll with the coming of The Beatles. Sam played it all!
The music stopped for a few years while he served his country in the U.S. Navy. Then in 1966 Sam returned to his music as a member of the band "Edge of Darkness".
Career highlights include:
•1969, nationally recorded group, "Edge of Darkness" with Jamie Records
•1960's, opened for legendary groups such as The Doors, Bobby Vinton and Gene Pitney
•1990/1993, wrote the opening song for Harborfest event in Upstate New York
•1991, wrote the 25th Anniversary Song for Bassmaster's
Sam has performed throughout the country, but is now settled in Nokomis, Florida. At the present time he enjoys singing the songs of Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Van Morrison, The Eagles... a never-ending list of the "oldies" with a touch of the new.
Check Sam out on reverberation:
Sam, Take Two cd