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Niagara Falls Hall of Fame Inducts Dream Team Guitarist Frank Grizanti

On October 15, 2017 at the La Salle Yacht Club in Niagara Falls, NY was reeling and rocking with sounds performed by some of the region’s most acclaimed and talented musicians including super guitar player, Frank Grizanti, dubbed the “Dream Team Guitarist” by his fans, as the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame celebrated their inaugural class of inductees.

Thirty-one musicians will be honored, but Frank Grizanti is one only six musicians being inducted who are still actively performing and touring. Music is truly Grazanti’s life and gift to the world; his peers have described him as legendary.

“Frank is as humble, laid back, and modest off-stage as he is energetic, entertaining and commanding on stage,” states John Connelly, leader of The BBC Band. “Frank’s extensive knowledge of music makes him, ‘the go to guy’ in Western New York. He would be my ‘fantasy league’ guitarist taking me to the Super Bowl!” Frank is one of the region’s most recognized and highly regarded guitarists who was also twice inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Grizanti is the product of musical parents, both of whom were classically trained musicians. He is also part and parcel of The Grizanti Family Music Store in Niagara Falls; an established and well-known element of the city’s local music history. The music store opened in the early 1960s and operated for almost 50 years. As a result of the hard work and passion that went into sustaining the store, and the musicians supported by the Grizanti family, its legacy stands today.

His parents’ influence and emphasis on the benefits of learning to play an instrument, and on achieving excellence was the driving force that led him to pursue the guitar and actually teach himself to play and become an accomplished guitarist. But, it was not until the coming of the British Invasion and a unique sounding group from Liverpool, England, The Beatles, that Frank re-dedicated himself to making music his life’s work. He is also a recipient of the NAMMA Lifetime Achievement (Niagara Area Molson Music Award) reflecting not only his excellence, but his family’s work on behalf of area musicians.

That passion and commitment, long with his talent, opened doors for him to play with a roster of internationally known recording artists such as Foreigner, Styx, and Gino Vanelli among a host of other regional touring bands as Junction West, Anatara, Bass Reeves, The BBC Band, Maria Sebastian, and Caitlin Koch. Grizanti’s list of professional music credits is long and diverse, and reflects time spent with other top-notch players on stage and in studio recording sessions where his skill and prowess on the guitar is revered.

As Frank looks back over his years as a working artist, he ponders on special occasions. “A fond memory is in 2009,” he recollects, “when our band went on a two week tour of Northern Italy. This amazing adventure allowed me to perform in various urban centers and venues where historic songwriters played and were participating; venues and events that included the world renowned ‘The Light of Day’ concert in Albenga, and three days of performances in Sardinia.”

Frank is the guitarist of choice for many top local bands.

Frank is the guitarist of choice for many top local bands. He has built a reputation as an outstanding session guitarist and producer adding to his popularity and demand by the entire regional music industry, and even today, continues to perform live shows and wow audiences with his soulful and intricate guitar playing.

Nowadays he muses over fond and early memories of his musical journey, smiling he recalls “I started to play professionally at age 16 when I was part of a garage band called December’s Children. I remember the thrill of playing in the Niagara Falls Battle of Bands, an experience that fueled my desire to carry on as a professional player.”

Over the years, Grizanti has and continues to encourage and teach young artists to develop their skills on the guitar. Frank’s two daughters have inherited his love of music and creativity and are now performing their own crafts, one as a comedian and educator, the other as an author and songwriter. Without a doubt, the honors bestowed on Frank Grizanti are recognitions he has earned. He has always been willing to share his knowledge and talent and pay forward his good fortunes so that others may have the opportunity to experience life as a professional musician and enjoy the self-fulfilling feelings that accompany those choices. Frank Grizanti is a true Buffalo treasure.

Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

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