WhyHunger & WFUV Tribute to Pete Fornatale at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC - 06/26/12
On Tuesday night, June 26, 2012, family, friends, and fans gathered at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC for a spirited tribute to, and memorial for, Pete Fornatale.
WhyHunger’s Sue Leventhal and WFUV's John Platt worked to assemble a group of speakers and musicians who were able to offer lovely and unique remembrances and anecdotes about our dear friend. And when the many stories were weaved together, they painted a well-rounded picture of Pete that all who attended will surely hold dear to our hearts. Speakers included WFUV's Dennis Elsas (who was also a long-time co-worker at WNEW), Darren DeVivo, John Platt, and Don McGee, Alan Marzelli, Don Thiergard (friend for over forty years), Alan Katz, Tony Traguardo, members of WhyHunger, and a number of others who worked with, and knew Pete well. Performers included Peter Yarrow, Buskin & Batteau, Suzzy Roche, Julie Gold, Jen Chapin, Modern Man, Jake Holmes, Mike Agranoff, Christopher Brown and others.
The attendees of the event have been gracious and kind enough to allow me to reprint some of their remembrances and anecdotes for the visitors to PeteFornatale.com. The segments will be added continually throughout the month of July, so please continue to visit as this section comes together.
Peace, Love and Music
And have a look at some of David Vanderheyden's beautiful photos of the event (by following the link from this text).
Jake Holmes summed it up perfectly recently when he said:
"What wonderful photos! Love is photogenic."
GUESTS WHO APPEARED AT THE TRIBUTE WITH LINKS TO COMMENTS, ANECDOTES AND MUSICAL PERFORMANCES, IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
NOTE: Musical performances and tribute videos can also be found grouped together on two separate pages.
David Miller - Hard Rock Director of Operations and WhyHunger Boardmember
Bill Ayres - WhyHunger Executive Director and co-founder Bill Ayres
John Platt - Host of "Sunday Breakfast" on WFUV
Christine Lavin - A video message from one of Pete's favorite singer songwriter
Mike Agranoff - Author of "Ballad of the Sandman”, performs a parody of “The Boxer”
Dennis Elsas - WFUV weekday afternoon host (who also reads a message from Vin Scelsa)
Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche - Perform and pay tribute
Alan Katz - Comedy and children's book writer, and co-author, with Pete, of "Wackronyms" and "Elfis"'
Don McGee - The new host of 'Mixed Bag' on WFUV
Julie Gold - Sings "From A Distance"
Graham Nash - One of Pete's favorite musicians, and an old friend, with a video message
Steve Leeds - VP Talent and Industry Affairs at SIRIUS/XM pays tribute and reads a message from Dave Herman (Pete’s longtime co-worker at WNEW)
George Wurzbach - Talented musician / songwriter George Wurzbach (1/3 of ‘Modern Man’) performs
Peter Mann - Director Emeritus of WhyHunger's Global Movements program
Alan Marzelli - Member of the Board of Directors of the Ossining Library Foundation and curator of the "Words & Music" concert series
Chris Brown - Sculptor, graphic artist, and a musician who exhibits the kind of intelligent lyrics that Pete enjoyed, performs Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me In Your Heart”
Chris Hall - Pete's good friend, and his partner in 'Mixed Bag Radio'
Jen Chapin - WhyHunger board member, the daughter of the late Harry Chapin, and a singer / songwriter Pete loved, Jen performs accompanied by Robin Batteau and David Buskin
The Beach Boys - A very special video message
Don Thiergard - One of Pete's oldest and dearest friends
Tony Traguardo - Pete's friend and webmaster, a Media Specialist at Port Washington Public Library and Producer of the audio edition of ‘Bookends’
David Buskin, Rob Carlson and George Wurzbach - three singer-songwriters with razor-sharp wit, who make up ‘Modern Man'
Bill Kates - Owner and chief content creator at 'Self'
Ken Dashow - Q104.3's afternoon 'drive time' on-air personality, who once shared call letters with Pete at WNEW-FM
Jake Holmes - The WhyHunger Board member is a singer-songwriter who has written for artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, the Four Seasons, and Led Zeppelin, and whose solo recordings are prime examples of the thoughtful, introspective lyrics Pete loved
Al Mercuro - From Outpost in the Burbs, with a special message from Roger McGuinn
Paul Kurland - Pete's concert-going pal, attorney and WhyHunger board member
Sue Leventhal - WhyHunger's events director, who also reads a message from Allan Pepper of The Bottom Line
Buskin & Batteau - One of his favorite bands, and no strangers to Mixed Bag over the years, Pete loved the quick wit, musical virtuosity and ballads of WhyHunger advisory board members David Buskin & Robin Batteau
Peter Yarrow - A mainstay of the folk music scene for more than 50 years, 1/3 of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary, and Pete's dear friend
A MESSAGE SENT TO THE EVENT'S PARTICIPANTS BY SUE LEVENTHAL OF WHYHUNGER
To say I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity from this extraordinary community doesn’t come even close to scratching the surface.
On Tuesday night the shared pain of our loss, and your love radiated from every word spoken – from every message read, from every video, from all of the wonderful music. You all comprise a unique group that I am honored to be a member of – Friends of Pete Fornatale.
I treasure you all. I know that he did too.
With great affection,
Please know that those of you who could not attend the event, who are now visiting Pete's website, were his friends, too. In some cases, perhaps you were a 'friend he had not yet had the pleasure of meeting'. Perhaps you were someone who had been his student, a listener, a neighbor, or an old acquaintance who had been 'out of touch'. But by simply being here and celebrating Pete's life and career on this site you help us to continue to keep his legacy alive. Thank you for stopping by.