The Amherst High School Entrepreneurship class is looking for some entrepreneurs to guest speak to the students about how they got started. Dates: May 16, 17, 18, or 19 at 10:50-11:30am. If interested, please email teacher Christina Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would like at least one entrepreneur for each of the four days. This is a great way to connect with Amherst students of today.
Grants in Action! Earlier in the school year, the Amherst Central Alumni Foundation awarded a grant to Middle School Teacher Ms. Whitten for a beautification project to enhance the 6th grade hall at the school. She kindly sent us a thank you and images of the completed project. It’s through donations from Tiger Alumni that allow to fund projects like this.
Please consider a gift to the Amherst Central Alumni Foundation on Giving Tuesday!
The Amherst Central Alumni Foundation, through generous donations from alumni, provides financial support to programs which enhance the student experience throughout Amherst Central School District. The foundation is an independent 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization. Our donors help bridge the gap between basic funding and what Amherst students need to truly excel. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the foundation had to cancel its biggest annual fundraiser for two years running. Any amount helps.
(By Clay Pasternack – Class of 1968) Amherst High School has long been a source for successful and talent people in the entertainment world (television, movie, radio, and recording). Buffalo’s first Rock N Roll band to achieve success was the Eggertsville-based group, the Tune Rockers. Group members Tim Nolan (bass), Gene Strong (guitar), and Fred Patton (guitar) were from the Eggertsville area, and along with Mickey Vanderlip (drums) and Johnny Cappello (saxophone). The group was formed in 1956 and continued to perform until 1960. Mickey, Tim and Gene attended Amherst High School, with Mickey Graduating in 1957, Tim graduating in 1959, and Gene’ family moved, where he transferred to Sweet Home High School in September 1958, and graduated from there in 1959.
In 1958, the group record an instrumental song named “The Green Mosquito” named for the unique sound created from Gene’s guitar sounded like a mosquito (Gene played a green colored electric) guitar, hence the name “The Green Mosquito”. Because of the current success of the novelty song “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley, the song title was a play on the name of the existing hit record. The group was managed by Dick Lawrence, who was the program director of WKBW Radio, who had (around that time) recently changed formats to the extremely successful “Top 40” Radio format (July 4, 1958). Lawrence arranged for United Artists to release the single once it was recorded. The song reached the WKBW Top 30 survey the week of August 2, 1958, entering at #28, peaked at #4, staying in the KB top 10 for 6 weeks for a 10-week run. Most important, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 on August 25, 1958, peaking at #44 the week of September 22 1958, also for a 10-week run. The songwriting credits for “The Green Mosquito” were credited to WKBW staff members Art Wander (a fixture on the Buffalo music scene for years) and Art Roberts (later a very popular air personality at WLS in Chicago and other markets)
On September 13, 1958, the group appeared on the Dick Clark Saturday Night “Beechnut Show” in New York City. That night the Tune Rockers were the opening and closing act on the show. They shared the show with two current acts heading for stardom: Fabian and (a star many years later) Johnny Nash. The following week they appeared live on the daytime format of “American Bandstand” in Philadelphia. As the record gained momentum across the country, radio station people were introducing the single, and paying tribute to their local origins, as “The Eggertsville Boys”
‘The timing of the success of “The Green Mosquito” was perfect, as the impact of WKBW Radio on both the local area and along the Eastern Seaboard of the US (as well as Canada) became very apparent to the music industry. The changeover to the Top 40 format allowed many people to hear music that may not have already been programmed by other local and regional stations, having far reaching effect on promoting hit songs across the country. As instrumental songs became more popular at this time and continued to do so for many years, The Western New York connect was very apparent. Such records as “Rockin’ Crickets” by the Hot Toddies, The (Rockin’) Rebels AKA The Buffalo Rebels, not to mention the vocal group records “Ballad of a Boy and a Girl” by the Graduates came from the area.
Unfortunately, all but one of the original members of the Tune Rockers is still alive. Mickey is currently living in Boca Raton, Florida, Tim Nolan passed away in late 2019 and just recently, Gene Strong passed away this September (2022). The Tune Rockers were inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2012, joining Amherst High School alumni John Boylan (1959), Eric Andersen (1961), Andy Kulberg (1962), Jim Ralston (1968),Tom Hambridge (1979), and Chris Trapper (1986).
Our thanks to Rich Sargent of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (also an ACHS alumni) and Bob Skurzewski, noted music and record industry historian and author, for their assistance and contributions to this document.
The Amherst Central Alumni Foundation, Inc. (ACAF) kicked the 2022-2023 school year with a meeting at the Family Tree Restaurant on September 1, 2022. At the meeting, the ACAF’s new President, Treasurer, and Secretary officially assumed their new roles with the foundation’s board of directors.
Board Officers for 2022-2023:
Jessica Muenter ’90
Larry Ross ’72
Samantha Sweeney General ’07
Emily Warren Zimmer ’06
Incoming President Jessica Muenter had this to say about here new role, “I’m honored to take over the position of President of the Alumni Foundation and hope to continue the good work the Foundation has done in the community to not only keep alumni informed of happenings, but also to provide the excellent Amherst education we have all received.”
Also at the meeting, the ACAF said good-bye to board members John Dengler ’82, Sue Fretz ’73 (Immediate Past Treasurer), Marilyn Rohl ’70 (Immediate Past President), Donna Roll ’71, and Lindsay Wolfe ’77. The Foundation thanks them for their numerous years of service and commitment to the foundation’s mission.
The ACAF is looking forward to an exciting year supporting the Amherst Central School District.