Kenny Thomasula, singer, keyboards, percussion – Non-Performer
BMHOF Class of 2014
Kenny Thomasula’s work in music has been so ubiquitous that sometimes you may have not even realized you were hearing him.
That’s because he’s been involved in music professionally since 1970 in a series of bands ranging from Hernandez, Junction West and his own Kenny Thomasula&Breakthru, but he has also done countless radio commercials, performed national anthems at numerous sporting events and worked on many albums.
In the 1970s, Thomasula performed with Breckinridge, Hernandez, Destiny and National Trust, singing and playing both percussion and piano.
In the early 1980s he moved to Florida, where he played with Ben Champion and the Jazzberry Patch. Elliot Zimmerman, who recorded several songs with Thomasula that were later done by the Ink Spots and Spider Martin, described him as “a huge part of the music scene in South Florida in the early 1980s.” Zimmerman recalled Thomasula backing up the Ink Spots, Ahmad Jamal, Martin, Dizzy Gillespie and JacoPastorius during that era.
After returning to Western New York, He started Kenny Thomasula&Breakthru with Jim Beishline, Jim Kurzdorfer, Dave Schiavone, Bruce Johnstone and Abdul Quadir. It ran from 1989 through 2010. He also performed with Junction West from 1989 through 2012 and worked with Barbara St. Clair, Stan Szelest and Mike Caputy.
Caputy, a Buffalo Music Hall of Famer, toured with Thomasula behind Muscle Shoals guitarist Will McFarlane in the mid-‘80s. The drummer said Thomasula “holds his own” with many of the greats he (Caputy) has played with on tour and in the studio. Thomasula also performed in Caputy’s band.
“Stylistically, his vocal deliverance covers every genre of music from rock ‘n’ roll, top-40 to rhythm & blues and jazz,” Caputy said. “His talent in the studio has enabled him to maintain a long-standing reputation for giving his listeners exactly what they want.”
That ability has also put him in demand with producers making advertising jingles.
“Kenny Thomasula has been one of my ‘go-to’ vocalists in my jingle business for over 25 years,” said Ken Kaufman of AdSongs. “His amazing range and his intense vocal style have graced the airwaves of Western New York in many incomparable musical ad campaigns.”
Kaufman listed ads for Jan’s Smoke Shop, Fantasy Island, Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome, Top, Norstar Bank, Alladin’s Carpet Cleaning, “Go Bills” (the Marv Levy song), and the “Bulldog Theme” as among the highlights.
Thomasula has also performed national anthems for the Bufalo Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Blizzard, Destroyers and University at Buffalo football and men’s and women’s basketball.
Thomasula has also been a consistent supporter of area charities as a performer in countless benefit shows and in volunteering services to groups such as Locks of Love and Camp Good Days and Special Times.
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