Rochester Music Hall of Fame strays from promised mission
When established in 2011, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame (whose mission ostensibly is to, “recognize those with ties to Rochester whose talents, efforts, perseverance and creativity have contributed to the creation of musical excellence”), included in their charter class, the performances given in Rochester in 1851 by the “Swedish Nightingale”, soprano Jenny Lind, as well as her performance venue, the long-vanished Corinthian Hall. Note that it was her performances, not the artist herself, which were honored. Lind of course had no other, “ties to Rochester”. Interestingly enough, in the succeeding 12 years, no additional artist performances have been inducted into the Hall. On the classical front, the Rochester performances by such world-renown singers/musicians/composers as Enrico Caruso, George Gershwin, John McCormack, Gustav Mahler, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Yo-Yo Ma have been ignored.
Doubly interesting is that, despite inductions into the Hall having been heavily, almost absurdly, weighted in favor of rock, blues and jazz, the Hall’s selection committee has taken no notice of the local performances of Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie and many others. As to venues, in the last decade only one other, the Eastman Theatre, has been inducted into the Hall. Conspicuous by its absence is the former Convention Hall, today’s GEVA, despite having been the stage where such musical greats as Enrico Caruso, George Gershwin, Fritz Kreisler, John McCormack,Gustav Mahler, Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninoff performed. A list of talent that certainly equals, if not out shines, that of either Corinthian Hall or the Eastman.