The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame held a VIP red carpet preview Tuesday night of its new museum, located at 97 Main Street — the former location of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Education and Cultural Center in Stony Brook.
“This is Long Island’s first Hall of Fame! The Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame!” announced LIMEHOF chairman Ernie Canadeo at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the museum, which will be open to the public starting Friday at noon.
The nonprofit organization, which formed in 2004, has held seven galas (every two years from 2006-2018) and inducted more than 120 artists but the Stony Brook museum is its first home.
The seed for the Hall of Fame stemmed from co-founders Jim Faith, Rich L’Hommedieu and Norm Prusslin, who met at Stony Brook University in the fall of 2003 to discuss the idea.
“We were tired of Long Island being identified as Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. There are great artists who came from here with massive talent. That’s what really interested us,” said Faith. “After the first gala in 2006 at the Patchogue Theatre, we were humbled by everyone that showed up. It gave us the energy to move forward.”
Celebrity guests at the preview included guitarist Jay Jay French and Mark Mendoza of Twisted Sister, guitarist Randy Jackson, bassist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso of Zebra, bassist Joe Bouchard and drummer Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult, singer/songwriter Jen Chapin, Paula Janis and Carole Demas of “The Magic Garden” and singer/songwriter Elliott Murphy.
The first floor of the museum features its debut exhibit, “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene — 1960’s-1980’s,” which highlights Long Island concert venues like My Father’s Place in Roslyn, The Mad Hatter in Stony Brook, Oak Beach Inn, Malibu in Lido Beach, Speaks in Island Park and Pips Comedy Club in Brooklyn.
“People are looking at everything and remembering, You can never go back but you can get close,” says creative director Kevin O’Callaghan. “It’s both a dream come true and a labor of love. I’m watching my heroes walk in tonight, it’s really unbelievable.”
French recalled the lessons he learned working the Long Island club circuit.
“The Long Island clubs allowed us to put on arena concert level performances. It taught us so much,” he said. “The young musicians today will never see that again. This is a real testament to an era that’s gone now.”
On the second floor, the museum has its permanent Hall of Fame exhibit showcasing more than 120 inductees. There’s a variety of authentic artifacts from inductees on display throughout the building…