What does my hair and music have in common? Curious? Yes? No? Oh, c'mon. You KNOW you want to find out...so...read on, my friend!
There are so many volunteer opportunities out there but I think I definitely found the one that suits me. I'm working with the RI Music Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization whose aim is to recognize the state's musicians and industry professionals. I love that! And if you know me, you know how much music means to me. No, I'm not a musician. Can't play a note. Can't sing either. (Though I wasted many a wish hoping and praying that I would suddenly wake up one day and find that I had become Joan Jett!)
This past Sunday was the highlight of the year for the Hall when it inducted its second class of inductees:
- George M. Cohan - an important composer in American history with songs such as "The Yankee Doodle Boy" and "Give My Regards to Broadway";
- Bobby Hackett - brilliant trumpeter who performed w/many well-known singers, like Frank Sinatra;
- Jimmie Crane - gifted songwriter whose songs have been recorded by many top singers including Elvis Presley;
- Sissieretta Jones - one of the greatest sopranos of her time; first African-American to play Carnegie Hall;
- Eddie Zack & the Hayloft Jamboree - Eddie's family was the first to popularize country music in the state and even had their own national radio show;
- Paul Geremia - internationally known folk and blues guitarist; called one of the best country/blues finger picker ever;
- The Cowsills - inspiration for "The Partridge Family", the groovy harmonies of the siblings and their mother were heard on many top hits in the 60's, including the hippie anthem "Hair";
- Steve Smith & the Nakeds - Sony Records rhythm and blues band has played together for 40 years; their '84 indie hit had a recent resurgence thanks to its inclusion on the popular tv show "Family Guy"; and
- Bill Flanagan - talented writer whose career led him from local music critic to writing for Rolling Stone to Executive VP/Editorial Director for MTV.
The day started with a swirl of activity as the Hall's board members and many volunteers (including me and hubby) prepared the venue for the day's festivities. I set up a table for a project I'm working on to benefit the Hall (more on that in a later post!). When the doors opened, hundreds of guests filed in and the ceremony began. Each inductee was honored in word, song and an exhibit.
But my personal highlight of the day was the performance by the Cowsills. I was a fan as a young girl. So much so I begged my mother to cut my hair into the pixie style worn by the youngest Cowsill, Susan. All the girls in my class wanted to look like her, be like her, sing like her, dance like her, dress like her. She was our own style icon.
The Cowsills' music was infectious and fun which led to them being referred to as "sunshine pop". I loved to sing along when I heard their songs on my little AM radio; I owned their records and played them over and over.
Of course, the Cowsills are much older now but their voices still blended in beautiful harmony on the Hall's stage. Sadly, 2 of the original 6 siblings who performed as the Cowsills, along with their parents, have passed away. The four remaining siblings performed their biggest hits and paid homage to their deceased family members during the ceremony. With their playful banter and smiling faces, they seemed genuinely happy and proud to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. And their fans, including yours truly, were very happy to join them for a magical trip down memory lane. For a few glorious moments, I was transported back to an innocent, happy time in my childhood...just wish it could have lasted longer!