I’m very honored that six years ago, in 2014, at the inception of this Foundation Dwane Hall asked me to serve on the Board of the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation. And several years ago, I was elected president of the Board. Since that time, all of the past and current Board members have worked very hard to make the SAM Foundation what it is today. Looking through this website and our monthly publication, The JAM, you can see all the different activities we’re making happen. At the start of 2020, I stepped down as president but for now I’m remaining on the Board of Directors to help continue our progress.
My career has been in union leadership. I’m retired from the US Postal Service where I was President of Branch 3 of the National Association of Letter Carriers for 20 years. I’ve worked with Senator Tim Kennedy as his Labor Liaison and I’m also a part time Buffalo/WNY Business Agent for the Office and Professional Employees International Union. The organization we’ve built with SAMF is similar to the labor movement.
We’re all pulling in the same direction to achieve our goals, which is to put Buffalo and WNY on the same level as Austin or Nashville. We have the talent, we have the Hall Family to lead the charge, and we have music fans and SAMF membership that will support the effort.
Thanks for reading, keep listening, keep rockin’ and I’ll see you out at the Sportsmen’s Tavern and other live music venues in WNY.
Chairman of the Board
Bernadette (Bernie) Walsh was born and raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, and holds a B.S. in Business, Economics and Management from SUNY at Empire State College and an M.S. in Adult Education from SUNY Buffalo State College.
While working for National Air Cargo for over fourteen years, as Training and Development Manager, Bernadette developed an Ethics & Compliance training program and traveled around the globe to deliver mentoring and training to a multi-cultural staff. Currently as the Practice Manager for Ellicott Small Animal Hospital she enjoys working on business strategies, mentoring employees and of course sneaking to the lobby and treatment area to show love to the furry clients.
At a young age a love affair began with music of all types by listening to her parent’s albums. It began by participating in chorus, plays and musicals in elementary school. In high school she took up the clarinet and played in the school band and earned a Varsity Letter in marching band. Music kept her engaged in school.
Bernadette enjoys giving back to the community and volunteering. She served on the board of Young Audiences of WNY as Board President, Vice President and Governance Committee Chair for four years. When time allows, reading for the blind at Niagara Frontier Radio Reading is a top priority. Also, near and dear to her heart is getting involved with event planning for many local fundraisers.
Spare time is spent with her husband Mark, family and friends enjoying life and all its adventures.
Originally from Lewiston, NY, Patrick graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in Secondary Education. Patrick previously worked for 7 years in the Education Department of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, NY where he planned and facilitated offsite community programming. He returned to Western New York in 2014 and joined the Valley Community Association as the Academic Coordinator for the Striving for Excellence after school program. He is still with the organization, currently working with Executive Director Peg Overdorf on funding, programming and daily operations of the VCA.
There are only two kinds of music in this world; good and bad.
That statement has been attributed to numerous musical figures, but its true origin remains unclear. Regardless of who said it first, I fully embrace the sentiment.
My formative musical exposure and education began around the age of 13 or 14 through the influences of family, close friends and friends’ older siblings. Early staples of my listening pleasure ran the gamut of classic rock and blues-rock bands formed in the mid to late sixties that dominated the airwaves throughout the seventies.
One fateful experience in the early 1990’s was a an exposure to the soul drenched expression of human emotion known as the blues. It was an epiphany and an awakening to a wondrous new world. Deeper exploration into blues music pulled me further and further back in time to the origins of the form. Blues eventually led me to the discovery of Jazz and Americana roots music. This ongoing musical journey leads me down the path in exploration of nearly all genres of music. I am always searching for new findings in the riches of the past and prospects for the future. There is so much new musical ground to learn, experience and absorb. I embrace it all.
I have been blessed with the good fortune of having attended nearly 2,000 shows over 39 years in travels near and far. Many hours have been logged in dive bars, honky tonks, blues / jazz clubs, rock halls, elegant theaters, casinos, sports arenas and festival grounds. From my very first concert in 1979 to present day, I have witnessed many wonderful local, national and international acts. Whether the setting is small and intimate, or a grand spectacle, I love experiencing live music in its many forms.
In addition to the enjoyment of experiencing music itself, I am hungry to learn what inspires it, what drives it, how it is created and how it is recorded and presented. From technical minutia to the sonic vibration which fills my heart and soul, I love it all.
I was born in the city of Buffalo and raised in Western New York. I graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in engineering and I am presently employed at a local manufacturing company as a Quality Engineer.
My intense love of live and recorded music fuels my passion. I am enthusiastically energized to help expand the foundations’ mission of music education, increasing membership and geographic reach, as well as meeting current foundation members and potential new members at future events.
Please allow me to close with a quote from one of my favorite musicians…
“This Year I Will Be More Thoughtful Of My Fellow Man, Exert More Effort In Each Of My Endeavors Professional As Well As Personally. Take Love Wherever I Find It, And Offer It To Everyone Who Will Take It. In This Coming Year I Will Seek Knowledge From Those Wiser Than Me And Try To Teach Those Who Wish To Learn From Me. I Love Being Alive And Will Be The Best Man I Possibly Can.” ~ Duane Allman
I thank the foundation board for giving me this wonderful opportunity.