Patchogue, NY (October 20, 2006)–At first glance, Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Run DMC, Neil Sedaka and Twisted Sister wouldn’t appear to have a lot in common. However, that varied group of artists is reflective of–and the impetus for–the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, which hosted its first annual induction ceremony at the Patchogue Theatre this past Sunday. All those acts–and plenty of others–were honored during the attitude-laden ceremony, which was highlighted by an acceptance speech by Joel.
“We were immensely pleased with the outpouring of emotion, warmth and graciousness of every single recipient,” said Tom Bensen, vice chairman of the LIMOF–and in the pro audio industry, vice president of sales and marketing for Powersoft Audio and Optocore. Bensen was on hand for the evening’s proceedings, but not as a corporate entity; instead, he was keeping an eye on it all as sound designer/technical director. “This was, in my opinion, a historic event,” he noted. “Every artist there was able to express how proud they are of their Long Island heritage.”
Certainly, Billy Joel made that pride known in his speech. “”Everything I’ve ever done has been influenced by this place; I’m an Islander,” he said, adding, “When we were playing in the Sixties, we used to hear a lot about the other places in America, like ‘The San Francisco Sound’–Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane. Now lemme tell you something–any band on Long Island coulda wiped the floor with that crap.”
The many honorees, presenters and musical acts–the latter of which included Mountain, Jen Chapin and Little Anthony & the Imperials–were heard through the venue’s Meyer Sound house system. The evening’s audio mixed was by Bob Edwards of Frontier Productions, working on the venue’s Midas XL4 console, while an APB-DynaSonics Spectra-T 24 console handled submixes of podium mics and pre-recorded playback. A Dolby Lake Processor and XTA crossovers could also be found at the FOH position, adding to the evening’s audio quality.
Edwards noted before the opening curtain that monitors were being handled on an XL3, sending audio to Meyer wedges on stage. Supplementing them were EM Acoustics EMS 215 subs and 152s, used as drumfills, powered by Powersoft K6 and K10 amplifiers. The event was recorded for posterity by Steve Remote of Aura Sonic, Ltd. (Flushing, NY), while wireless systems were supplied by Production Radio Rental (White Plains, NY).
Paying tribute to artists who were born, raised or lived on Long Island for a significant portion of their careers, the LIMOF took a strictly geographic view of the Island–thus including New York City boroughs Brooklyn and Queens–as it honored many of the area’s musical alumni, as well as institutions such as music retailer Sam Ash, which was founded in Brooklyn.
The evening was also a big event for the Patchogue Theater itself, a once-gorgeous movie palace that had withered into a failed multiplex by the 1980s. The town has poured $7 million into restoring the venue in recent years, turning it into the centerpiece of an ongoing village rehabilitation project. Thus, the evening’s festivities not only paid tribute to favorite sons of Long Island, they also raised the profile of a venue that wouldn’t mind hosting concerts by some of those acts.
While the event ran two hours over (“That was the only mistake we made, not knowing how to time an awards show, because we’re not in the business of producing them,” laughed Bensen), the evening was nonetheless a crowning achievement for the crew, according to show director Tony Traguardo: “Considering that we had an all-volunteer crew that only had 24 hours to tech and rehearse the event, it was a big success. There were some bumps in the road, but everyone worked hard and we pulled it off; I’m very proud of all of them.”
Bensen concurred, naming the town and Suffolk County governments, as well as local police, as great resources, adding, “Everyone gave a lot of time and professionalism–to the point that every artist said to me, ‘I didn’t expect a production of this level; I figured I was were coming back to Long Island.’ I told them, ‘Just because you came back home, doesn’t mean you have to go back in the garage!'”
Long Island Music Hall of Fame