Folk-Singing Alumna to Be Inducted into Rochester Music Hall of Fame
Folk musician Christine Lavin '73 will be inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, and Dave Kane '79 will receive a merit award during the ceremony.
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame will recognize two Brockport alumni on April 28 during the class of 2019 induction ceremony.
The first main performance venues for Christine Lavin '73 were the stairwells of Gordon and Mortimer Halls, until she started playing at the Crypt, a coffee house in the basement of St. Luke's church in Brockport.
“The only thing I did consistently for all four years is play guitar in the stairwells of the dorms,” she said.
Lavin thinks she changed majors six times, calling her education “a well-rounded experience.” She started in nursing, then moved through theatre, English, and political science. She tried to be a music major somewhere in there, too.
“I can't read music, so that didn't last very long,” she said.
Today, Lavin is an award-winning contemporary folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She has released 23 albums and is working on a 24th.
“I’m working on a song right now,” she said.
Lavin learned to play the guitar as a child from watching lessons by Laura Weber on public television. For five cents to buy his favorite snack, Devil Dogs, her brother Ed would hold the TV antenna out the window so she could strum her $30 guitar without the TV jumping.
Lavin will be inducted to the Hall of Fame along with three others and a classic rock station, WCMF-FM 96.5. WCMF personality Dave Kane '79 will receive the Special Merit Award for his 38 years on air and contributions to the music community in Rochester.
“Rochester has a rich and diverse musical heritage, and we are proud to foster and celebrate that,” said Jack Whittier, president of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
The eighth annual induction ceremony will be held at 7 pm on April 28 at Kodak Hall in the Eastman Theatre. The night will include multiple music performances, including a selection of Lavin’s original songs.
Lavin’s website features a wide range of music videos. Some are witty, others feature politics and humor. Subjects range from planning the right kind of funeral, to a fly on a plane and a love song about a television show — The Great British Bake Off.
Lavin says she writes topically and one song at a time.
“Sometimes it comes out funny, and sometimes it doesn't come out funny at all, and I never know. Some of my funniest songs I wrote I was trying to write something serious, and some of my serious songs, I was trying to write something funny,” said Lavin.
When she was in college, she wrote something with a darker tune.
The Brockport Song That Can't Be Sung
While at Brockport, Lavin wrote "Damaged Goods." It’s recorded on her 1984 album, but she doesn't sing it anymore.
Lavin’s mother, who passed in November, would show up to shows with a list of requests. The requests were songs not to be sung — "Damaged Goods" was number one on the “don’t sing list.”
“I think of myself as damaged goods. So far, no one's ever treated me as gently as I wish they would. And I don't hold up my head quite so high, and I find myself longing for the innocence of times gone by.”
While reminiscing, Lavin said, “I wrote that when I was a college student … oh, my Lord, that is so sad that I could feel like that. But when you're a college student, it’s like all your nerves are exposed. You can feel things like that, and you're not afraid to sing things like that.”
Hall of Fame Induction
The Rochester Music Hall of Fame celebrates music made by Rochestarians or those who spent years in the community. The ceremony profits benefit music education.
“I feel very honored that they’re honoring me,” said Lavin.
Tickets start at $31 and are on sale through the Eastman Theatre Box Office and rochestermusic.org.