A blues/rock artist, Tommy was voted Top Blues Vocalist in WNY 2003/2004/2006, Top Blues Guitarist 1993/1994/1995/1997/2004/2005/2006, Top Crossover/Blues Band 1994/2005/2006, Muddy Waters Award by WNY’s Blues Society (2004). Inducted into Buffalo’s Music Hall of Fame in 2007, he’s worked w/the world’s top blues/rock artists including: B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, etc. touring w/Grammy-winner Pinetop Perkins.
Tommy has toured Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Djibouti, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey, Guam, Alaska, etc. on behalf of USO/AFE.
In 2004 he released “Universal Love” then composed for Film, TV, w/credits for the St. Louis Blues (NHL), Red Hot Chili Peppers Biography, Last Comic Standing, Swamp Wars, America’s Top Model, etc.
In 2013 the album “Sometimes” made airplay charts in the US, France & Australia, etc. In 2015 and 2019 the band was the international headliner for the Cali Blues & Folk Festival in Colombia for concerts/master classes. He was blues radio host on WBFO/88.7 from 2015-2022, then started WBLZ.
“Blizzard of Blues” (2016) debuted as #1 Blues Rock Album (RMR). It hit iTunes’ Top 10 Blues Chart then debuted on Billboard’s Top 10 Blues Chart.
In 2018 and 2019 the band played Buffalo’s Ball Drop to around 40,000 with widespread TV coverage. After a headliner in Denmark, Tommy went to Nashville in January 2020 to work w/Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge on “Plug In and Play” (2021). It was a #1 Blues/Rock album for airplay then Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release Seller (Electric Blues), #5 on Billboard’s Blues Chart and #5 on iTunes Blues chart plus B.B. King Bluesville’s Rack of Blues countdown for three weeks.
Tommy continues to teach, perform and write music.
After graduating from Hamburg High School in 1965, Phil Grigsby attended Oberlin College where he met his future wife, Jan. They married in May 1969 and spent the next two years serving in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In September 1971, Phil pursued the Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School and was ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ. For the rest of the decade, Rev. Grigsby directed Christian Community Action, a New Haven nonprofit.
In summer 1981, the couple moved to Davidson, NC, and Phil began working for CROP-Church World Service developing CROP hunger walks in the Carolinas. The Charlotte CROP Walk became the largest in the country. In 1986, they moved to Schenectady where Grigsby began a 33-year tenure as Urban Agent (aka, Executive Director!) of the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SiCM), leading the organization that helped feed thousands of local residents. Phil grew SiCM from nine churches to over 50 area churches, all working together to assist the underserved population of Schenectady. According to friend and colleague Rabbi Matt Cutler, SiCM is one of the strongest not-for-profit organizations in the community thanks to the dedication and leadership of Phil Grigsby.
In addition to his commitment to the SiCM food pantry, Grigsby also worked diligently to abolish racial divides in Schenectady County. As the executive director of SiCM, he fostered a program dedicated to providing a safe environment for youth and adults to challenge issues relating to race and diversity called “Schenectady County Embraces Diversity.” He worked hard to help others be heard, treating everyone he met with dignity, regardless of what their situation was. When it came to these issues, Phil Grigsby truly was man ahead of his time. He left a legacy of commitment to justice, equity and peace that will continue to be a significant foundation for SiCM’s work,” said current SiCM Executive Director and CEO Amaury Tanon-Santos.
Phil was also a frequent presence at City Council meetings, never shying away from controversy and “speaking truth to power” on behalf of citizens whose voices are rarely heard. Collaboration with the larger Capital Area religious community was a persistent theme in his work. He was a core force in the founding of the Capital Region Theological Center.
In his spare time, Phil studied and taught the work of Father Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest he’d worked with at Yale. Phil and Jan were dedicated fans of Tanglewood to which they made annual pilgrimages to hear their favorites from James Taylor to Ludwig van Beethoven. An active member of Emmanuel Friedens Church, Phil chaired the church Council for several years. Phil passed away in November 2021. He leaves his wife Jan; sons, Matthew and Christopher; a brother, Bill, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Rudy was born in Hamburg, NY to two German immigrants. He went on from HHS to earn his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, landing his first role with Calspan Corporation in 1964. He began his career with the Flight Research Department but moved into Automotive Safety for the balance of his career.
During the Blizzard of ’77, Rudy, along with 2 colleagues from Calspan, launched MGA Research Corporation, which designed and built crash test facilities, equipment and instrumentation, and became a world leader in independent safety testing and equipment solutions.
Rudy was recognized for his brilliant engineering mind and thinking outside of the box to solve complex problems. He also had a passion for challenging others to perform their best. He strove to ensure the success of not just the company but the employees with whom he worked alongside. He would never give up on a challenge or problem presented to him.
Career accomplishments include design/build the first crash simulator sled test outside the US, 1 patent and another pending (both in the automotive safety field), working with a number of foreign automakers such as Kia & Hyundai to bring their vehicles up to US Safety Standards, and opening the MGA Proving Grounds in Burlington, WI. Rudy’s legacy continues to live on in many ways, through his children, his colleagues & employees, customers, and anyone that knew him. Rudy was always an engineer at heart and took those principles into his hobbies of archery & woodworking whereby he designed and constructed his own long-bows and arrows. In his spare time, you could find him reading, hunting, fishing, or just enjoying a hike in the woods. Rudy passed away in 2006.
I grew up in the Village with my 5 siblings. I graduated from Hamburg HS in 1968 where I was a good student and played football and basketball. I went to Cornell University and received a BA in 1972. I was a 3-year starter on the Cornell football team at defensive back.
For 3 years after Cornell, I was a painter and printmaker, which was and is my primary passion. Nonetheless, I went to UB Law School and graduated cum laude in 1978. I worked as a confidential law clerk to John T. Curtin, Chief Judge of the Federal District Court for my first legal job, where I worked on the momentous Buffalo school desegregation case.
After 2 years in Federal Court, I joined the Hodgson Russ law firm. At Hodgson, I practiced Corporate and Antitrust Law and served as head of the firm’s corporate department and n the board of the largest law firm in Buffalo. I have been included in Best Lawyers of America for both corporate and antitrust law for over 20 years and was named the corporate lawyer of the year in Buffalo in 2008. In addition to major Buffalo companies, my largest clients were headquartered in Finland. I worked on major merger and antitrust cases for them and served as a director of their US holding companies.
Throughout my legal career I continued to pursue my art practice in a serious way. In my early 60’s I cut back on legal work and increased the time I devoted to art. I had a one-person exhibition of my etchings at a major Buffalo gallery in early 2018. I am a co-founder of Mirabo Press, a fine art printmaking workshop in Buffalo and exhibited work in numerous shows the last few years. I have served a director of numerous for-profit and not-for-profit companies and currently am a director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York and also Western NY Book Arts.
Dr. Joan Calkins is the fourth of nine children of Drs. Evan and Virginia Calkins of Hamburg. Joan moved to Hamburg before third grade and as a young person was active in 4-H, showing horses, dogs, and chickens. She also played the trumpet, swam on the Hamburg swim team, was a member of the Girls Service Club, and participated on the deputation teams at the Hamburg Presbyterian Church. In her senior year at Hamburg High School, Joan was president of the National Honor Society and graduated third in the class of 1971.
Joan earned her undergraduate degree from Vassar College in 1975 and her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1979. She completed her training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Rheumatology at Hopkins and was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship. Joan served on the faculty at Ohio State University and University of Missouri at Kansas City before returning to Hamburg in 1993. She opened her own private practice, Village Pediatrics and Rheumatology, in 1997. She remains today the only private practicing pediatric rheumatologist in the country.
Her commitment to Hamburg extended into her family life as all five of Joan’s children graduated from HHS. Megan Boyd (2001) serves as Director of Choral Activities at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. Matt Bender (2002) is a neurosurgeon at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. Brady Bender (2006) currently clerks for a Federal Court of Appeals Judge in Detroit, MI. Julie Bender (2009) works as an assistant principal and science teacher in Minneapolis, MN. Kyrill Calkins (2017) still resides here in Western NY. Joan also served on the Hamburg School Board from 2009-2013, acting as president in the final three years.