The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame celebrates the musical heritage of the state through documenting the legacy of the professionals that have made the most impactful contributions to the music industry nationwide and Rhode Island music culture.
The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, as it is today, was incorporated in 2012 as a joint initiative between two Hall of Fame projects—The Rhode Island Popular Music Archive and The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
The Rhode Island Popular Music Archive was started in 2006 by Mederick Bellaire to honor Ken Lyon in concert. The Archive also began working on a discography of other Rhode Island musicians and acquired the personal artifacts, including lyrics written by hand, demos, and memorabilia, of Anders & Poncia. There was no physical location for these artifacts to be displayed; however, the archive was available to be viewed online.
The Archive began using the name “The Rhode Island Popular Music Hall of Fame” in 2010 when they joined their efforts with Al Gomes and Bob Giusti to merge The Hall of Fame with the Archive. A concert was held with Anders & Poncia performing some of their past hits and they were the first act to be inducted into the Rhode Island Popular Music Hall of Fame.
A year later Bob Billington spearheaded a committee that laid out a plan to create a Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame that was more traditional and included all types of music. The Hall and Archive became aware and it was quickly agreed to incorporate all three entities and have a brick and mortar museum, thus, the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame was born.
The museum currently only showcases wall exhibits that visitors can walk around and read that tell the background of the various artists that have been inducted into the Fall of Fame. Each panel is designed by graphic artist Jack McKenna and explores 200 years of Rhode Island music legacy.
In the future, exhibits will also showcase music memorabilia for Rhode Island musicians and industry professionals. Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame is currently seeking donations, grants and sponsorships to be able to expand their exhibits and incorporate more interactive and audio elements into their space. The historical archive can be viewed on the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame website and is updated with the help of volunteers. The online archive is considered to be a long term project that will be continually updated.
Some of the Inductees to the Hall of Fame include: Cheryl Wheeler, Sugar Ray &The Bluetones, Dave McKenna, Marty Richards, Bill Harley, Bobby Hackett, George Masso, The Others, Frankie Carle, The Castaleers, Eileen Farrell, Georgie Peorgie, The Fireflies, The American Dream, Marty Ballou, Brenda Bennett, The Adapters, Nelson Eddy, Sissieretta Jones, Dick Leger, The Tombstone Blues Band.
The Induction events are the highlight every year for the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. These events take place over multiple days and are announced via press conference in the beginning of the year when the Hall of Fame announces who the inductees will be. The number of inductees to the Hall of Fame will vary every year, in 2017 there will 10 new artists being honored.
Each artist is honored with a concert that is held at venues usually near Pawtucket such as The Greenwich Odeum and The Met. These concerts take place on multiple days and weekends and tickets are sold in advance. There is also one induction ceremony in which all of the artists come together at The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame and their commemorative exhibits are unveiled and they are formally inducted into the Hall of Fame. This event is also open to the public with advance ticket sales. In previous years, these events have sold out so it is a good idea to purchase tickets well in advance. Details are available online.
While the main function of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame will always remain induction events, they are also dedicated to improving the lives of local musical artists and their families.
Tune in and Tune Up- This program is a health awareness initiative that seeks to help self-employed music industry professionals understand and access their healthcare options. Participants can enjoy seminars, workshops, get discounts at select retailers, get reimbursed part of the cost of your annual physical, and other great perks.
175 Main Street Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860, Phone: 401-724-2200, website
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