Belanger: After two years of COVID-19, the excellent London Music Week hits all the precise notes

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The first time I heard from Rory Dodd was in April when I received the press release from the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame announcing that he would be inducted into the Hall this year.

Port Dover native Rory Dodd (left) sings with Meat Loaf during a concert tour. Dodd, who now lives in Simcoe, met Meat Loaf in New York and toured with him. (RORY DODD COLLECTION)

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The first time I heard from Rory Dodd was in April when I received the press release from the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame announcing that he would be inducted into the Hall this year.

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I knew all about the other names on the list: two-time Grammy nominee and two-time Juno Award winner Loreena McKennitt, Canadian disco-era singer Cherrill Rae, country music star Larry Mercey, and global electronic music icon John Acquaviva.

But Rory Dodd, born and raised in Port Dover?

Well, it turns out he’s backed up on many of the works that make up the songbook of my life, including James Taylor, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Ian Hunter (of Mott the Hoople), Lou Reed and Steve Forbert.

He also sang on one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, an album I appreciate for its artistry and impact but never really enjoyed. Dodd toured the world with Meat Loaf.

Rory Dodd, who grew up in Port Dover, was backup vocalist on one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. Rory Dodd, who grew up in Port Dover, was backup vocalist on one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.

I finally found out that it was his beautiful voice that I sang along to that provided the lyrics “Turn around, bright eyes” on Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 chart-topping Total Eclipse of the Heart.

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Thanks to the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, I now know who Rory Dodd is and I offer this truth as a great example of why the Hall was established 20 years ago – to preserve and celebrate the musical history of London and the region.

On Saturday, Dodd and the other nominees will be celebrated at a 7pm reception at London Music Hall, where viewers will enjoy performances by the Graham Lear Trio (Lear is a 2018 nominee), 2021 nominee Paul Mills and Rae. It’s free to the public, as is Sunday’s Forest City London Music Awards gala, also at London Music Hall, where the nominees will be introduced to the crowd and Rae will perform again.

Also on Saturday will be the popular SoundCheck for Success Professional Development Day at the Boys and Girls Club of London’s Digital Creative Arts Centre. The day includes the Producers Panel with acclaimed American music producer Bob Marlette, a keynote speech (via Zoom) from Nashville-based Canadian songwriter-producer Karen Kosowski, a songwriter circle, and seminars on several other topics including commercials, drums, and music for film , television and other movement media.

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The overarching London Music Week has brought plenty of music to London over the past week, including a concert at Dundas Place last weekend, the Forest City London Music Awards gala for classical, jazz and world music, a hip-hop show with supporting artists of musicians and others suffering from mental health issues, a series of shows featuring London cover bands and tribute artists, which will continue at the East Side Bar and Grill on Saturday nights and London Live on Wednesday, and will see 22 artists perform in 14 venues across the city ​​occurred.

The week-long celebration also included the unveiling of Anderson Craft Ale’s lager from the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, the cans of which bore the photos of several inductees from previous years.

For me the most significant event was the unveiling of FCLMA Radio, a 24/7 internet-based radio station playing songs created and recorded by artists from London and the region, essentially a historical archive that will grow in the years to come new songs from new artists and keep them digital.

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Mario Circelli, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, demonstrates the internet connection to FCLMA Radio, a 24-hour internet station playing music from London and local artists.  (JOE BELANGER/The London Free Press) Mario Circelli, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, demonstrates the internet connection to FCLMA Radio, a 24-hour internet station playing music from London and local artists. (JOE BELANGER/The London Free Press)

So there are many good reasons why London Music Week 2022 will be remembered as befits a 20th anniversary celebration.

There are also many people to thank, especially the dozens of volunteers who produced this week, led by FCLMA Founder and Chairman Mario Circelli; Janis Wallace, producer of the Classical, Jazz and World Music Gala; Hall of Fame Curator Rena O’Halloran; graphic artist Darla Stratton (also singer of cover band Swagger), who designed the beer cans; Tyler Stewart, who organizes Musicians for Mental Health’s annual hip-hop showcase; and Scott Bollert (singer of After the Lounge), who produces the popular and important Battle of the High School Bands.

I repeat, these are volunteers. They don’t get paid, but through their efforts, the musicians who performed throughout the week were paid. And they’re a big part of why London was named a City of Music by UNESCO as one of just 50 music cities.

There’s another reason why this 20th anniversary of London Music Week will not soon be forgotten.

After two years of pandemic, it was a powerful reminder of how much we missed being together and listening to live music, but also how important it is to our collective soul.

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Twitter.com/JoeBatLFPress

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