Who says Toledo is a drive-by city? When it comes to music, northwest Ohio should be bookmarked as a prominent destination on your map or iPhone. More things happened musically in the Glass City than not this year.
From a high school senior student booking pop star Kesha at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center to Jason Aldean and Bob Seger kicking off national tours in the city, here’s a recap of some notable musical moments during 2017:
■ January: Maumee Valley Country Day School senior student Maya Dayal booked pop star Kesha to perform at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center through her organization Bands4Change. The concert was the first show Bands4Change had ever booked. The nonprofit and Kesha also teamed up to host an online contest to select two local artists/bands as opening acts. Of 15 entries, Toledo-area indie-rockers Light Horizon and Whitehouse acoustic duo Graduation Day were selected. “We just got lucky with Kesha,” Ms. Dayal told The Blade in January. “She took a chance on us, and we’re really thankful for that. It’s a great opportunity.”
Desmond Anderson, 2, checks out the Vinyl Listening Station during a memorial and tribute jam session for Culture Clash's owner Pat O'Connor at the West Toledo store, Tuesday, January 03.
■ April 18: Toledo City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring April 22, and every subsequent third Saturday in April, also known as national Record Store Day, as Pat O’Connor Day in the city. Mr. O’Connor, who passed away December, 2016, formerly owned Culture Clash Records in Toledo and was a founding member of national Record Store Day.
“It was an honor to have known [O’Connor] and to be able to have called him my friend,” said Steven Steel, Toledo City Council president, during that April city council meeting. “It’s very appropriate, as he was instrumental in creating Record Store Day nationally, that we here at home continue to recognize Record Store Day on an annual basis as officially Pat O’Connor Day.”
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■ June: The Toledo Symphony named noted Canadian conductor-composer Alain Trudel as its new music director, less than a month after its last maestro, Stefan Sanderling, officially vacated the position. “I wouldn’t be accepting this position if I didn't think [Toledo Symphony musicians] compared well to others around the world,” Mr. Trudel told The Blade in June. “I have three pillars, all of equal importance: the excellence of the music making, the education aspect, and our community. You need to be relevant in your community. [People] talk often about corporate citizens; well we’re cultural citizens. That’s important, because otherwise you’re just playing for yourself."
■ July: The city of Toledo re-opened the downtown’s Promenade Park with performances by Calysta Bevier and Crystal Bowersox, both local singers who gained fame through national television appearances on American Idol and America’s Got Talent. Thousands flocked to the park for the concert, the first in a ProMedica Summer Concert Series. Randy Oostra, ProMedica president and chief executive officer, told The Blade in July he hopes to book more concerts next summer.
■ Aug. 31: 12,000 people flocked to Put-In-Bay to watch country star Toby Keith perform on the island. Logistics were staggering for Bash On The Bay, which included thousands of concert-goers, vehicles, and Keith’s tour buses and semis all taking ferry rides from the mainland for the festival.
■ September: Toledo pop punk band Silver Age received news from a Vans Warped Tour representative that it had been chosen as 2017’s Ernie Ball PLAY Warped grand prize winner, a $60,000 honor that came with the opportunity to record a three-song EP with producer John Feldmann, who has worked with popular bands and artists such as 5 Seconds Of Summer, Panic! At the Disco, Good Charlotte, and the Plain White T’s. The band was selected from more than 17,000 bands across the country. The $60,000 prize includes a year’s supply of guitar strings from Ernie Ball, $10,000 to spend at Guitar Center, guitars and bass guitars provided by Ernie Ball Music Man, and various other equipment.
Janet Jackson enters the stage in a beam a light during her State of the World Tour at the Huntington Center in Toledo on Saturday, October 28.
■ Oct. 28: Pop superstar Janet Jackson performed before 7,000 fans at the Huntington Center. The concert was a re-scheduled date after the pop star canceled a 2016 show in Toledo uponr becoming pregnant earlier that year. The 105-minute performance was like one giant dance party – a testament to someone who has been in the music industry for more than 40 years.
The year also saw performances from mainstream artists like Paul Simon, Jason Aldean, Bob Seger, Dionne Warwick, Keith Sweat, Sammy Hagar, Maxwell, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Matchbox Twenty, the Oak Ridge Boys, Rob Zombie, Hunter Hayes, Kansas, and many others.
■ November: Toledo learned that famed singer-lyricist Jon Hendricks had passed away at the age of 96. Born and raqised in Toledo, Hendricks was widely recognized as the “Father of Vocalese” and had every bit as much influence on the development of jazz — that freewheeling, improvisation-rich genre of music with African and Caribbean influences that is often described as America’s only true art form — as his mentor, pianist Art Tatum.
■ Local promotion company Innovation Concerts opened two new music venues in the Toledo area known as Boonies Roadhouse and Civic Music Hall. The company also books local concerts at Frankies Inner City and the Ottawa Tavern.
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