RAMP founder announces retirement after 45 years

Messenger Post Media
Garry Manuel, founder of Rochester Area Music Project, announces his retirement after 45 years in the Rochester music scene.

Rochester Area Music Project founder Garry Manuel recently announced his retirement from teaching and will pass ownership of the music studio to his son.

Music has been a constant thread in Manuel’s life for 45 years. In the 1960s, Manuel started his musical career with the Liquid Lyte band at Fairport High School. He formed Sunup with James “Goona” Wilson in the ‘70s. This group performed for almost a decade in upstate New York and New England, opening for Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, The James Gang and Eric Anderson.

Bass player Charlie Castilano said, “[Manuel’s] inner joy with all aspects of music was obvious, always exuding leadership and enthusiasm in terms of his vocals, instrumental proficiency and appearance. He has shown these same qualities throughout his musical career as a teacher, business owner and, most importantly, as an inspiration to everyone who has a love for music.”

Manuel started teaching guitar at Perinton Hills Music in 1976.

“He was wanting to teach guitar, so we immediately took him on as our first teacher,” owner Dan Dovideo said. “He was a natural. He was a very valuable contributor to our business. When we closed the store in 1980, Garry took his guitar students with him and formed his own studio in Fairport, which of course eventually became Manuel’s Music Studio and now RAMP. It took a lot of initiative to do this and we are so very glad that he did. In a way, RAMP is a direct descendant of Perinton Hills Music.”

The ‘80s featured the birth of his record label, Sunflare Songs. Sunup’s performances continued, including playing with bands Fair Exchange and Sweet Feelin’. Manuel also recorded jingles for ad agencies and founded Mill Music in Honeoye Falls.

In the 1990s, Manuel expanded into social ministry and founded Project URGE to strengthen under-resourced neighborhoods. This ministry now features multiple sub-ministries working toward building a stronger community.

The last decade saw growth of Manuel’s Music Studio, adding retail and growing different types of instrument and voice lessons. Recording lessons were introduced during the recent transition to RAMP with the building of a recording studio.

“His musical tapestry continues to evolve into a masterpiece as Garry stays actively involved in songwriting and recording projects, social ministry service, and assisting our son as he takes over the managing of RAMP,” said Manuel’s wife, Mary.

Outside of the business, Manuel and Wilson made Sunup into a family affair and renamed it Sonsup. The recording features their sons Ethan James and Marshall Westlake Manuel in edgy acoustic rock with vocal harmonies.