In memory of our dear friend, Danny Brisson

Daniel F. Brisson
Mr. Daniel F. Danny Brisson, age 62, of Marcy, passed away on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, in the comfort and dignity of his home with his loving family by his side. Born in Utica on January 8, 1949, Daniel was the son of the late Walter and Virginia (Johnson) Brisson. He was raised and educated locally, graduating from Utica Free Academy in 1967. A proud veteran of the Vietnam Era, he honorably served his country from 1968-1970 as an Army Combat Infantryman and was the recipient of the Purple Heart. Upon his discharge from the service, he enrolled in M.V.C.C. where he furthered his studies in Criminal Justice. In 1984, he met Laurie A. Burke with whom he shared a 27-year relationship that endured and was strengthened by the virtues of love, respect and family bonding. On June 21, 1997, Danny and Laurie were married, renewing their commitment and devotion to one another. Danny worked as a Community Residential Aide for the State of NY at the Rome Developmental Center, retiring in 1984. A talented and diversified vocalist and guitarist, Danny performed with numerous area bands, including Tangerine, Preacher, Breezin, Classified, Top Secret and DVD. He was graced with a charming and charismatic personality, and every aspect of his life was blessed. He held a passion for hunting, a sport he shared with his son; he supported his daughters in their fondness for horses and animals; enjoyed the sport of fishing; and was an avid golfer, frequenting the fairways of the Eagles Club of which he was a member. Danny especially took pleasure from the time he spent with his cousin Skeet and her husband, Dickie Barrett, at the Friday Night Fish Fry. He was favored with many long-lasting friendships, especially those with whom he served in Vietnam. He was always mindful of the members of the DAV Assn. Danny is survived by his wife, Laurie, and their daughter, Courtney, at home; his son and daughter-in-law, Daniel and Kim Brisson of Cromwell, CT; his daughter, Jessica Brisson of Utica, and their mother, Karen K. Brisson, of Utica; and his grandchildren, Cole, Kylie, Alexa, Devin and Vaughn. Also left to mourn his passing are his brother, William Brisson; his sisters-in-law and their husbands, Karen and Bruce Mansell of CA, Kim and Santo Falbo of Frankfort, Lynne and Kevin Golas of Little Falls, and his brother-in-law, Gary LaBarge of Herkimer; his nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles; his Black Lab, Licrish; and his horse, Fred. He was predeceased by his sister, Linda LaBarge; his brother, Robert Brisson; and his in-laws, Ken and Betty Burke. The family is grateful for the dedication of Dr. Gunnar Anderson and staff, Dr. Mark Blaker and Lisa Ennis, N.P., for the bond of professional and personal concern they shared with Danny, and Dr. H. Todd Massey and team at the Strong Memorial Hospitals Heart Program. Visitation will be held Friday (today) from 4:00-7:00 at the Eannace Funeral Home, Inc., 932 South St., corner of Hammond Ave. Dannys funeral service and Celebration of Life will commence on Friday at 7:00 p.m. immediately upon the conclusion of visitation, officiated by Rev. Joseph Salerno, with military honors. Online tributes at:
Daniel F. Brisson

Published in The Observer-Dispatch from June 30 to July 1, 2011

JOHNS: O-D to celebrate 200 years with free Stanley party

Planning a 200th birthday party is no easy task but the preparation and execution of a full year of events has been a labor of love for our Observer-Dispatch family.

We want to share that love with you, our community family, by inviting everyone to attend the second half of our biggest event of the year — for free!

So while tickets still are required for the first half of our Bicentennial Gala on Saturday at the Stanley Center for the Arts, the doors will open to everyone at 7:30 p.m. for a free concert featuring the band Classified on the Stanley stage.


Starting at 6 p.m., the theater will open for the O-D Bicentennial Gala. Historical exhibits will be on display in different areas of the theater – but that’s just a taste. Layer in a wide variety of food, a silent auction and open bar until 7:30 p.m.

Admission to the Gala is $45. Tickets are on sale at the Stanley Box Office or Ticketmaster. Go to for more information.

Gala visitors will get a first look at a variety of displays looking back on the evolution of the newspaper and the community.



6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $45 for the Gala including open bar from 6 to 7:30 p.m., food, exhibits and silent auction.


At 7:30 p.m. the doors will open to the public. Admission including exhibits are free. Cash bar will be available. Classified takes the stage at 8 p.m.
> Advertisements have been capturing the attention of readers since the beginning of newspaper publishing. While these were simple and to the point at first, ads have evolved by leaps and bounds through the centuries.

> Of course, what would a 200-year display be without artifacts? We’ve gone through our 100-year-old building to dig up pieces of history that have been collecting dust from the basement to the third floor.

The Gala offers a full night’s entertainment in one place. We hope to see you there.


The band Classified has been a staple party band in our area for 25 years. Make that 25 years to the day.

The band will celebrate its own anniversary Saturday with a free concert for the ages. Will the band have a few surprises for the crowd? You’ll have to ask them but I would bet on it.

The Stanley doors will open to the public at 7:30 p.m. Visitors will get a chance to peruse the displays before the concert and a cash bar will be available for the night.

Worried about what to wear? If you’re comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, then so be it. We just want you to enjoy the celebration and the show.

Classified will hit the stage at 8 p.m. If you haven’t experienced the band in the Stanley atmosphere, you’re in for a treat.

We think this will be an anniversary party to remember. But in the end, it’s our readers who truly deserve to be celebrated. You’ve stuck by us through thick and thin and it’s because of that dedication that the O-D continues to drop the latest news on your front porch, and on your digital gadget of choice, 365 days a year.

You’ve entrusted us with this important job for more than 200 years. We’ll strive to retain that community trust as we move forward into another century.

Ron Johns is the executive editor for the Observer-Dispatch. You can reach him at

Classified to perform at O-D Bicentennial Gala

As part of its ongoing bicentennial celebration, the Observer-Dispatch is inviting the public to a special gala this month featuring local band Classified.

UTICA — As part of its ongoing bicentennial celebration, the Observer-Dispatch is inviting the public to a special gala this month featuring local band Classified.

The Bicentennial Gala will take place from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the historic Stanley Center for the Arts. Classified, which is celebrating its own 25th anniversary this year, will perform from 8 to 10:30 p.m., with a brief intermission.

“It’s not every day in America that a newspaper reaches a milestone such as this and celebrates 200 consecutive years of publishing,” O-D Publisher Terry Cascioli said in a news release. “So, this will be a historic and very special evening in Utica’s history. We invite the community to share in this momentous celebration with us, witness a part of history, and revel in the grandeur of the Stanley Theater.”

In addition to the musical performance, the gala will feature passed hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and a collection of historical exhibits chronicling the O-D’s long history of local news coverage. There also will be a silent auction to benefit the Stanley and the newspaper’s own charity, Operation Sunshine

One of the historical exhibits will focus on Utica’s past connection with the Mafia and the Observer-Dispatch’s coverage of that issue, which earned it a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1959.

Tickets for the gala are available now at the Stanley box office, located at 261 Genesee St., or by calling 315-724-4000. The cost is $45 for the full event, or $16 for the concert only.

For more details, visit

Meet Greeley Ford Of ‘Classified’ – 50 Musicians In 50 Days

If you haven’t met the guy behind the bass in the band Classified, then you’re not going to want to miss this! I’ve seen Greeley Ford play many times but never had the chance to really have a good conversation with him and I’m blown away at his story… A New Jersey native who went from hanging in a musical epicenter like L.A., to landing right here in Utica, his bass has seen some miles and you’ll love how he got here and why he stays! Sit back and enjoy Greeley as we chat it up…

Read More and Listen to full interview here

Classified headlines Boilermaker 2015 Concert at Stanley Theater

UTICA, NY – Runners, families, volunteers and the entire community gathered at the Stanley Theater tonight for the Boilermaker 2015 Concert.  For the second year in a row the Mohawk Valley band Classified headlined.  Along with the band, Utica Pops Orchestra and the Holy Cross Academy Student Choir from Oneida performed.

Nichole Grant of the Stanley Theater said, “A lot of runners come in from out of town and it’s a great opportunity for them to come in and see what we have going on in the Utica area. We have great bands and it’s a great chance for them to relax before they go out for the big run.”

All the money raised tonight benefits the Stanley Theater.

For the second year in a row, the band Classified will headline the Boilermaker Road Race concert

By Observer-Dispatch

For the second year in a row, the band Classified will headline the Boilermaker Road Race concert.  The concert begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at the Stanley Center for the Arts. The race is Sunday, July 12.  Joining the lineup are the Utica Pops Orchestra and the Holy Cross Academy Student Choir from Oneida.  Reserve tickets range from $15 to $40. There are discounts for Boilermaker participants, active military and Stanley members.  Tickets are available at the Stanley box office, by calling 724-4000 or through

Special event planned to support people with developmental disabilities

The Arc of Madison Cortland and Building Futures Foundation will host A Night of Bourbon and Bidding from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Vernon Downs Event Center. The evening has been planned to support programs and services for people with autism, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injury and other developmental disabilities.

Classified, Central New York’s premier horn band, will perform and welcome special guest Ryan Quinn from the Voice to join them on stage. Quinn, a Central New York native, will be returning from the West Coast and will co-emcee with 13-year-old comedian Owen Murphy.

Organizers of A Night of Bourbon and Bidding hope to raise funds with a live and silent auction that will feature more than 100 items including an Apple iPhone 7, a South African Photography Safari, four Walt Disney World Hopper Passes, autographed football helmets from NY Giants’ Eli Manning and Buffalo Bills’ LeSean McCoy, gift certificates to restaurants, hot air balloon rides, jewelry, art, property services and more.

The cost of the event is $60 per person or $100 per couple and includes an open beer & wine bar, bourbon tasting, and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased at

ON SCENE: Live music to help ring in the new year

Here we go again: it’s the time of year, time to enjoy that chubby cherub wearing nothing but a diaper and holding a champagne bottle like a pacifier.

But enough about my fashion choices. We’re talking about the New Year’s Baby ushering in 2017.

And to help us with that ushering, there is an assortment of music around for you to ring out the old and ring in the new. With the last day of 2016 falling on a Saturday, it seems that more and more clubs, bands and musicians are taking advantage of the weekend.

A quick jaunt up the Thruway to the Turning Stone Resort Casino gives you all sorts of options under one roof, including such acts as Jamie Notarthomas (4 to 8 p.m.) or Ronnie Leigh (8:30 to 12:30 p.m.) at the TS Steakhouse, and Stroke from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Garden Stage.

The casino’s Exit 33 will feature live bands performing at three different venues – The Gig, Tin Rooster and Turquoise Tiger.

If horn-based classic rock and funk are what you’re looking for, head to the Turquoise Tiger where you can dance to the sounds of the area’s hottest dance band, Classified.

The Turning Stone’s rock and roll club, The Gig, will feature three of the area’s top bands, Gridley Paige, Scars N Stripes and 3 Inch Fury.

Finally, for the C&W fans, the Beadle Brothers and Annie Brobst will take the stage at the Tin Rooster.

Admission fees vary. Call Turning Stone or visit their website for full information.

If casinos aren’t your scene, that doesn’t mean you have to stay home and watch the Twilight Zone marathon.

Two of the area’s most venerable musicians will be teaming up when Paul Case and Dan Porter bring their talents to Tillys Clover in Clayville. Hours are from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., so it would be a good choice to start the night, or, if you’re among the chronologically challenged, end the night.

And speaking of venerable, the legendary Mossback Mule Band will be making their annual New Year’s Eve stop at Nicole’s of Camden from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Look for George Deveny’s Blueprints with special guest Bruce Tetley from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Colgate Inn in Hamilton. The Inn also has a number of room and package specials.

Don’t feel like leaving town? Join Utica’s most eclectic band the Rusty Doves with assorted friends at Nail Creek from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

And, if dinner is what you’re looking for, Beth & Fritz will be providing music from 5 to 9 p.m. for Villa Verona Vineyard & Bistro’s four-course dinner. Seating is limited so reservations are necessary.

All in all, there are not a lot of reasons to stay home this New Year’s Eve. Well, except for that Twilight Zone marathon.

Mark Sisti is an experienced performer who writes about local music for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at

Classified’s season opener a cancer benefit event

By Mark Sisti


Ask anyone who this area’s top big band is. You don’t need to whisper. It’s not a secret. It’s Classified (Oh, wow, that’s clever. I kill me).

Classified will be coming out of its annual winter hibernation Friday night. But this season opener has special meaning for this all-star group of musicians, as they will be performing for the Joseph Michael Chubbuck Foundation’s annual fundraiser.

The foundation provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families so that monthly expenses – essentials like rent, utility bills, groceries, medical equipment and supplies, car insurance and treatment travel expenses – can be paid.

Joseph Michael Chubbuck passed away in 2013 at the age of 22 after a 16-month battle with a highly aggressive variant of sarcoma. Rather than surrendering to their grief, Joey’s parents, Joe and Barb, turned their tragedy into an opportunity to help others with this foundation.

And fortunately for the Foundation, one of the many friends Joseph made in his all-too short lifetime was Classified trumpeter Scott Rutledge.

“I taught Joey trumpet at St. Peter’s school in Rome,” recalls Rutledge. “He fought a battle that I could never put into words. Classified is humbled and truly privileged to be able to perform at this benefit.”

That appreciation is certainly reciprocated by Joey’s parents.

“The band felt it was for a good cause, and they knew where the proceeds would be going,” says Barb Chubbuck. “We are honored and blessed to have Classified perform for us.”

The Foundation couldn’t have found better entertainment for its event.

Since its inception in the early 1990s, Classified has grown into the area’s most polished and popular big band, presenting a level of professionalism and attention to detail that sets them apart from most local bands. It has led to opening slots for artists like KC, The Commodores, Eddie Money, Maynard Ferguson, Gap Mangione, the Pointer Sisters and Earth, Wind and Fire.

“I hope that Classified is perceived as musician’s musicians who know how to play for everyone,” says bass player Greeley Ford. “We combine the best of the classics with the best of today. We try to make everybody like us.”

The band has seen many incarnations since their early days, leading to the current lineup of (in addition to Rutledge and Ford) Larry Desiato, lead vocals, percussion; Gary Colmey, keyboards, vocals; Michael Dimeo, trumpet, vocals; Carl Goodhines, keyboards; John Dugan, drums; Bill Mirgo, guitar; Joey Zarr, woodwinds; and Marty Hollister, trombone, vocals.

Friday’s benefit will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Valentino’s Banquet Hall, Oneida Street, New Hartford. Dinner/show tickets are $35 per person and are available by calling 315-339-5993 or visiting Reservations for dinner are required, but $20 tickets for the show only (8-10 p.m.) will be available at the door.

Mark Sisti is an experienced performer and promoter who writes about local music for the Observer-Dispatch.

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