Faced with too many uncertainties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame’s 2020 induction ceremony and concert has been moved to April 25, 2021 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
“We just couldn’t do it,” Hall of Fame Board President Jack Whittier said. “I’m really bummed about this.
“Everything was changing so fast, we couldn’t believe it. And it’s changing week to week.”
The 2020 event was originally scheduled for two weeks ago, with five new inductees: The traditional folk musicians The Dady Brothers; Grammy-winning sound and mixing engineer Mick Guzauski; jazz singer Nancy Kelly; jazz drummer and percussionist Roy McCurdy; and industry innovator and founder of the Greece-based music-technology firm Whirlwind, Michael Laiacona.
At this point, Whittier said, there will be no additions to next year’s Hall of Fame inductions; the class of 2020 simply becomes the class of 2021.
Among the options that were being considered as a way to keep the event in 2020 was putting on the event in conjunction with September’s KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. But even if the venue were open then, Whittier points out, it’s likely it would be available only at 25 percent capacity.
“With all of the musicians and support people, that’s 400 or 500 people right there,” he said. “Are we going to have an event with only 100 or 200 tickets available to the public?”
The music performances for next year’s show have yet to be worked out. The availability of one-time Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens and Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander is uncertain. They were to perform for Liacona’s induction. The Hall of Fame expects to announce their status, as well as the musicians accompanying Guzuaski's induction, by late fall or early winter.
Ticket refunds, including service charges, are being offered for this year’s event. Tickets for the 2021 induction ceremony and concert will go on sale in November.
The Douglas Lowry Award, granted to two graduating high school seniors who plan on continuing their music education in college, will still be presented this year. The finalists will audition in June, with the winners earning a $1,000 award for college expenses.
Depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic and public gatherings, the Hall of Fame museum, 25 Gibbs St., may play host to some events before the end of 2020: The reading series Books Backstage, which began last year, and a new series celebrating local singer/songwriters.
Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.