Just like the people that make up the nation, the influences of American music came from every corner of the earth. When thrown into the cauldron of migration from north to south and east to west, when sung in the corn rows and wheat fields and floated upon the rivers that nourished us, those disparate musical flavors became American flavors. They assumed a new character that resembled this new homeland. And those sounds and songs and melodies have gone on to travel the world and back again.
The legacy of that music needs to be preserved, and the future of that music needs to be nourished. That is why Boston’s “Boch Center” – a guardian of two iconic theatres, the Wang Theatre, a national historic landmark, and the Shubert Theatre, that anchor the Theatre District in this historic city – is creating “The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.”
To be housed in the Wang Theatre, the Hall of Fame will celebrate the history of Folk, Americana and Roots music through displays, memorabilia, artifacts, multi-media, lectures, concerts and special curated exhibits from the Museum Collective. As much as any city in the country, Boston has been the musical birthplace for the styles and artists we celebrate, making it a fitting home.
While performing recently at the Wang Theatre, Neil Young said “Boston is the Folk Music capital of North America.”
Central to the vision of this enterprise is the launch of the Boch Center’s “Folk & Americana Music Series,” a series of multi-artist concerts, lectures and songwriter showcases that provides musical and financial support for the endeavor.
The Music Hall at the Wang Theatre will be home to a series of lectures and smaller-scale performances that expand the educational mission of the Hall of Fame and provide exposure to the next generation of artists who are keeping these musical traditions alive. The lectures will feature interviews with artists, archivists such as David Bieber, music journalists, band managers, record company executives, music photographers such as Ron Pownall, Robert Corwin and others who can share insider experiences and insights into the art and history of folk, Americana and roots music and those who make it. The Music Hall is also an ideal venue for the presentation of promising singer-songwriters and instrumentalists in an intimate, 100 seat setting.
There are living artists today who have penned the songs that will forever be staples in the songbook that defines the last century. They will be remembered a century from now. This is to be their Hall of Fame, and we will bring them to Boston to perform in it. There are artists past whose songs will forever be in that same songbook. This is to be their Hall of Fame also, and we will celebrate them in it. And there are the music lovers who provide the oxygen these artists breathe, and this is to be their Hall of Fame. We will entertain and thank them in it.