New England Jazz Hall of Fame to be Housed at WICN, in the Worcester Cultural District
WICN to Provide the Hall of Fame's First Physical Location, Providing Public Access to Historical Information about Jazz
WORCESTER, Mass.,The New England Jazz Alliance (NEJA), which operates the New England Jazz Hall of Fame, and WICN, New England's NPR jazz and folk station," today announced that WICN will house the New England Jazz Hall of Fame at the radio station's headquarters. Located at 50 Portland Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, WICN's facility is at the core of Worcester's recently-designated Cultural District.
April is observed nationally as Jazz Appreciation Month, after an initiative of the Smithsonian Institution, making today's announcement both timely and relevant to the celebration of jazz, America's classical music. It is a happy coincidence that WICN and NEJA make this announcement today," said WICN interim general manager Tom Lucci and NEJA president Edward Bride, in a joint statement. April 29 is Duke Ellington's birthday, and three Ellington alumni Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and Paul Gonsalves were among the initial 10 inductees in 2001."
In December of 2001, NEJA established the New England Jazz Hall of Fame, initially comprising a traveling exhibit that tells the story of jazz in New England. While the story of New England jazz is still told locally through our mobile exhibit, it has always been our goal to set roots in a community where jazz is appreciated and where the historical information will be more widely accessible," said Bride. By establishing our first physical presence at WICN, students, researchers, and jazz fans of all stripes have access to the historical information at our permanent home in Worcester, an hour's drive from New England's three most populous state capitals, Boston, Providence, and Hartford."
WICN and NEJA have been working on the arrangements for more than a year, and both Boards approved the plan early in 2011. The architectural firm Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects (GRLA) has drawn preliminary plans, and work will be under way this summer.
Having the New England Jazz Hall of Fame as part of WICN's facility, we take a major step in fulfilling our mission of boosting the arts and culture, which contribute to a quality of life that keeps a community vibrant and economically alive," said Lucci. The New England Jazz Hall of Fame at WICN will be located on the walls of our performance studio. It's a wonderful space adjacent to our broadcast and production facilities."
WICN has already put on many live on-air performances and functions in this space since it opened in 2004. We are very excited to add the great history and heritage of the Hall of Fame. Its presence enables us to reach better both the Worcester-area cultural community and jazz lovers from throughout the region," said Lucci. We thank the Fletcher Foundation for its generous support of the renovations to launch the New England Jazz Hall of Fame at WICN."
NEJA also announced that nominations are now open for the next election. Jazz fans, experts, the media, researchers and members of the general public are all welcome to submit names, and the rationale for their choices, through NEJA's website, NEJAZZ.org. In order to be eligible, musicians must be deceased for at least five years, and must have made significant contributions to jazz while living in New England. The election will take place next fall, and winners will be announced after the first of the year. The induction ceremony will take place during Jazz Appreciation Month in 2012.
WICN Public Radio, Inc. has been a vibrant presence in the cultural life of Central Massachusetts for over 40 years, and proudly serves as New England's NPR Jazz and Folk Station." WICN broadcasts at 90.5 FM from Worcester on a newly-enhanced signal that reaches a growing audience towards Boston, Providence, and Nashua, and streams at wicn.org. Its schedule features twenty hours of jazz daily, plus notable folk, blues, and public affairs programs from knowledgeable, passionate hosts. Besides playing the best in recorded music, WICN supports the music through regular live interviews on Jazz New England," live in-studio performances, the Brown Bag Series" of free concerts at Mechanics Hall, Jazz at Sunset" outdoor concerts at the Ecotarium, and other events.
About the New England Jazz Alliance
NEJA's mission is to operate and promote the New England Jazz Hall of Fame, and thereby celebrate and perpetuate the jazz tradition and call attention to outstanding New England jazz artists.