Victor Central Schools named four graduates to its 2019 Visual and Performing Arts Hall of Fame: David Grant Wright, Class of 1979; Bill Kelliher, Class of 1989; Tim Wheeler, Class of 1991; and Andy Martinek, Class of 2005.
The Hall of Fame was created to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of outstanding alumni, staff and community members who excel in the arts. It was established to inspire current students to make contributions to the arts by reconnecting those selected for the Hall of Fame with students, staff and the community.
Wright was never involved in the arts at VCS, instead participating in soccer, baseball, swimming, student council and National Honor Society. His break came his junior year at Michigan State University when he was cast as Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in acting.
The professional actor has appeared in 27 films, 43 plays, 150 TV shows and over 100 commercials in his career spanning 30-plus years. Wright raised thousands of dollars for the care and comfort of cancer patients through his one-man show, “With Flying Colors.”
“David was one of the most enjoyable kids I ever had the pleasure to coach,” said Timothy Smith, who nominated Wright for the Hall of Fame. “His effort and work ethic were always outstanding, and he always put team before self.”
Kelliher is the rhythm guitarist for the heavy metal band Mastodon. He contributed to the 1990s Rochester music scene by performing in bands such as Butterlax and Lethargy.
Mastodon released its first full-length album, “Remission,” in 2002. In 2017, the band won a Grammy for best metal performance and was nominated for best rock album.
VCS English teacher Joe Carey and his wife, Marsha, nominated Kelliher for the Hall of Fame.
“I remember Bill for showcasing the true spirit of the artist,” Joe Carey said. “He never fell into that need for conformity. He was certainly true to himself and that was always on full display. His professional accomplishments and accolades all speak for themselves.
“Marsha and I were drawn to Bill’s desire to give back through the master class events he offers to guitar enthusiasts and fans backstage before shows, as well as other teaching opportunities. It was this sharing of his craft, a fostering of the love he has for his art, along with his incredible accomplishments that certainly shows the spirit of the Visual and Performing Arts Hall of Fame.”
As an eighth-grader, Wheeler was asked to participate in the high school marching band. He was lead trumpet for the concert band and jazz ensemble, and played taps for the local Legion post. Wheeler was one of the youngest members of the Rochester Patriots Drum and Bugle Corps at 12 years old.
He auditioned for the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps as a VCS junior. He enlisted in the Marines after he was selected to perform as a soprano bugler. His audiences included foreign and national dignitaries, heads of state, and presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Regan. He performed taps at Arlington National Cemetery.
Wheeler was a featured soloist at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. He left the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant with numerous awards and honors.
Band teacher and nominator Eric Everhart said Wheeler continues to play trumpet as a civilian, primarily playing lead trumpet for a jazz group in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Clopper-Michael Post 10 American Legion Honor Guard in Boonsboro, Maryland, where he performs taps and marches in parades.
Nominator and music teacher Nancy Burt-Preece said she always was impressed by Martinek’s passion for jazz.
“I remember talking to him about the number of hours he practiced to hone his incredible skill at playing drum set,” she said. “He took private lessons with a jazz educator at Eastman, and spent countless hours listening to jazz and watching jazz greats play the set.”
Throughout high school, Martinek played with bands, choirs and pit orchestras. He played in the Citrus Bowl with the Patriot Drum Corps, and received the Louis Armstrong Award as a senior.
He studied music education with an emphasis in jazz at Temple University in Philadelphia, and received his Master of Music in jazz performance and improvisational composition from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College. Martinek was a jazz student ambassador at the Amsterdam Von Conservator and lead percussionist for Princess Cruise Lines.
He is a freelance studio drummer in New York City, where he is involved in music directing, consulting and managing area artists. Martinek is a senior music producer and consultant with the Internal Musicians League, a company he helped start.
The Hall of Fame recipients will be honored in May during a reception at the Early Childhood School, followed by an awards presentation at the Board of Education meeting. Call (585) 924-3252, ext. 1407 for information.