Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Jody Gerson, Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton, and WMMR’s Pierre Robert Honored in Style as Grand Evening Gala Returns ‘Home’ to Avenue of the Arts Following Afternoon Bronze Plaque Unveiling
ü Mayor Jim Kenney Welcomes Class of 2019
ü Gala Hosted by Mark Goodman (Sirius XM Volume & 80s on 8) with Special Guest Appearances by Todd Rundgren, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, T. Life, BEN-FM’s Matt Cord, “The Geator” Jerry Blavat, and More!
ü Live Performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and the Urban Guerrilla Orchestra
ü Bon Jovi and Graham Nash Send Video Congratulations to Pierre Robert
PHILADELPHIA (October 22, 2019) – The Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA) returned “home” to the Avenue of the Arts in style today, with an afternoon ceremony inducting seven new honorees to the Walk of Fame, followed by the grandest evening gala celebration it has hosted in a generation, at one of Philadelphia’s most classic event destinations.
The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Hooters, The O’Jays, Evelyn “Champagne” King, WMMR air personality Pierre Robert, music industry executive Jody Gerson, and philanthropist Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton formally joined the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame as members of its Class of 2019. With Mayor Jim Kenney presiding, their bronze plaques were unveiled before throngs of onlookers in front of Dorrance Hamilton Hall, preceding a stellar gala event before 500 patrons at the iconic Bellevue Philadelphia, at the opposite end of the Walk of Fame.
“The response was just tremendous,” said PMA chairman Alan Rubens. “We’re thrilled that we were able to stage an historic day capped by a gala of this magnitude. And it’s especially sweet that we could bring the entire day’s proceedings back home to the Avenue of the Arts, where we launched the Walk of Fame over 30 years ago.
“This year’s honorees class is filled with legends from especially diverse backgrounds, allowing us to once again display the variety of this city’s phenomenal music genres – from classical to rock to Philly soul – as well as honoring one of the music industry’s most respected and accomplished executives, and a beloved philanthropist whose contributions to music education in our city is without peer.”
Sirius XM Volume & 80s on 8 host Mark Goodman, a Philadelphia native and WMMR alumnus, came home to host the grand evening gala, with rousing live performances by each of the artist inductees – the Philadelphia Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Hooters, and Evelyn “Champagne” King. Also coming home for the evening was fellow Philadelphian and newly announced Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee Todd Rundgren, a longtime Walk of Fame alumnus, making a special guest appearance to induct The Hooters. Among fellow Walk of Fame alumni, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, Sound of Philadelphia legendary architects, inducted the O’Jays with the Philadelphia Award; Larry Magid, legendary concert promoter and chairman emeritus, inducted Jody Gerson, and “The Geator” Jerry Blavat, oldies radio personality, introduced the “Radio Row” Award and BEN-FM morning personality Matt Cord to induct Pierre Robert. His longtime rock star friends Jon Bon Jovi and bandmates Tico Torres and David Bryan, as well as Graham Nash, all sent personal video congratulations to Robert projected on oversized screens.
- Life, the producer who discovered Evelyn “Champagne” King singing as she cleaned the restrooms of Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, returned to induct the Disco/R&B songstress. Other guest presenters were Ukee Washington, CBS3 news anchor, inducting the Orchestra (Matias Tarnopolsky, Orchestra President & CEO, accepted); and David Yager, President & CEO, University of the Arts, inducting Dorrance Hamilton. Returning as the evening’s house band was the world-renowned Urban Guerilla Orchestra.
Several other Walk of Fame alumni were on hand at the gala, including former teen idol Bobby Rydell, Sarah Dash of Labelle; Jerry Gross of The Dovells; Charlie Ingui of The Soul Survivors; legendary music industry trade publisher and philanthropist Kal Rudman (Friday Morning Quarterback), and Sigma Sound Studios founder and Sound of Philadelphia engineer Joseph Tarsia. Additional notables at the affair included surging Philly hip-hop artist Tierra Whack, Academy Award-winning songwriter Franke Previte (Dirty Dancing), Grammy-winning producers Phil Nicolo and Joe Donofrio; Grammy nominated producer Rick Chertoff; soap opera star Frank Dicopoulos (CBS Guiding Light), orchestra leader and singer Eddie Bruce; jazz musician Gerald Veasley, and R&B songstress Carol Riddick, current co-star of the new touring musical The Un4gettables.
All proceeds from the gala support the new PMA Music Education Fund.
1st PHOTO CAPTION: The Philadelphia Music Alliance Class of 2019 gathers at the afternoon induction ceremonies today along the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame. Credit: Scott Weiner
2nd PHOTO CAPTION: Legendary Sound of Philadelphia producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff join the O’Jays as the multi-platinum R&B vocal group’s newly installed plaque is unveiled this afternoon along the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame. Credit: Scott Weiner.
About the Philadelphia Music Alliance
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, recently proclaimed an official landmark by Philadelphia City Council, is a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history and a vital force unifying the city’s diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts, with a renewed commitment to shed new light on the City’s cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction. This agenda to recognize more local music greats in all genres is part of the community based, non-profit organization’s overall mission to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music, and the foundation of a renewed commitment to schedule induction ceremonies each year.
For more information, visit www.pmawalk.org.