Music Hall of Fame in Montclair

Adding a Montclair Music Hall of Fame would be the perfect addition to an area that is thriving with so many successful artists.

montclair music hall of fame
Photo courtesy of

Request for Montclair Music Hall of Fame.

Why do we need a Music Hall of Fame? Because Montclair is an Essex County arts hub! There is the Wellmont Theatre, Jazz Hose Kids, The Montclair African American Heritage Parade & Festival, The Montclair Jazz Festival, Jazz Month In Montclair, The Montclair Jazz Archives, The Montclair Film Festival, The Montclair Center Stage, The Montclair Opera Company and a host of other arts groups and venues that adorn the landscape of this beautiful tree lined town. Why not add a Montclair Music Hall of Fame to that List?

Montclair is one of those communities that a “Music Hall of Fame” would fit nicely amongst everything else that Montclair has to offer. Not too many towns the size of Montclair, even consider a music hall of fame. The groundwork is being laid at this very moment for one in Montclair. Resident Jimmy Eason is the prime mover of this project and he wants to see this project become a reality. I have also been asked to join in and lend a helping hand.

Montclair has a long history of hosting some of the best musical performances and performers in the world, such as the late Bud Powell, who was one of the greatest innovators in the history of jazz and got married in 1950 at Central Presbyterian Church here in Montclair. Those who grew up here include Al Anderson (Bob Marley, The Wailers), Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel, Brand X), Ken Neal (Twisted Sister), Armel Anderson (Twisted Sister), Richard Lloyd (Television), John Orr (Jazz Bassist) and many other jazz, blues, rock and classical icons.

The good thing is that a lot of these people participated in the community.  Their children attended school here, they actually eat, sleep, shop and in a lot of cases also work from here as well. Grammy and Emmy winners also adorn the community of Montclair. All the name dropping aside, the Montclair Music Hall of Fame should be a serious undertaking for a lot of reasons. Just the historical impact of it will be of great benefit to the entire township of Montclair. The Music Hall of Fame will honor all of those who have helped to make Montclair the artistic community it is today.

Here are some recommendations based on some research I did looking at the Grammy Awards and the New Jersey Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

  • Residency requirements should be strongly suggested! In some cases, if all or most other requirements are met, exceptions can be made. And that should be based solely on a strong body of work. My suggestion is a 25 year residency requirement because a Hall of Fame should be taken seriously. We are talking about an award based on a person’s total body of work and how that body of work was achieved.
  • Working musicians should have at least 40-100 performances per year. It should be suggested that the latter amount, meaning upwards to the 100 performance mark, will be strongly considered with total yearly performances, which can include any type of musical public performance or performances.
  • Documentation: The artist considered should have at least some adequate proof of performances including: press releases, reviews, videos, YouTube videos, ReverbNation and any other media.
  • Artists must have recorded at least one CD or record for consideration. Being aware that some recordings are not commercially available or marketed should not effect consideration of the artist.
  • All participants in the recording industry, be they local, regional, national and internationally recognized are eligible.

There certainly will be much discussion on these points, and there should be. Hopefully soon, the forming of the committee will begin and we will be able to move forward with this initiative.

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