By Jack Barnes
In an unprecedented show of support for the Philadelphia Music Alliance, Tonight Show host JIMMY FALLON will be making a special guest appearance at the 2015 Walk of Fame Gala next week to personally induct his house band, THE ROOTS, into the Class of 2015 with a permanent position among its hometown music legends along the famed Avenue of the Arts.
Special arrangements have been made to enable Fallon to arrive at the Gala on Monday, Oct. 26, direct from a Tonight Show taping at his New York studios earlier that evening. He is scheduled to hit the stage just in time to formally induct The Roots — one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business — and present the band with their ceremonial plaque.
With Questlove serving as the show’s musical director, The Roots has been the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since its launch last year. The four-time Grammy-winning ensemble served in the same capacity for Fallon the previous five years on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The Roots’ induction extends a unique Tonight Show connection with the Philadelphia Walk of Fame that began in 1989, when Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick, was inducted. In 2010, fellow Philadelphia native Kevin Eubanks, Jay Leno’s Tonight Show music director for 18 years, also was immortalized with a bronze plaque on the Walk of Fame.
Named one of the greatest live bands around by Rolling Stone magazine, The Roots will be honored by Fallon with fellow Class of 2015 members Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Billie Holiday, Cinderella, The Trammps, Andrea McArdle, and WOGL air personality Harvey Holiday at the new Fillmore Philadelphia, frequently hailed as “the most beautiful club in America.”
With 16 Grammy Awards and a Tony Award nomination among the new honorees, spanning the musical gamut from Jazz, Country, Disco, Hip Hop/Neo Soul, Rock, Broadway and radio, the long-awaited return of the evening Gala considerably amplifies the vital significance of the Philadelphia Music Alliance and Walk of Fame as its 30th anniversary approaches in 2016.
In other new Gala announcements:
- Andrea McArdle will be singing “Tomorrow” her signature song as Broadway’s original “Annie,” which rocketed her to stardom as the youngest performer ever nominated for the Tony® Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
- Sara James & The Hess Brothers, a five-piece teen band from South Jersey, will be performing a tribute to Cinderella, also rooted in South Jersey. Sara James created a Foundation to provide professional music lessons to inspire and educate children who can’t afford music instruction.
A 30-year reunion of the original surviving members of The Trammps will be another highlight among the array of live performances, which also includes American Idol alum Haley Reinhart, and the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Choir. The world-renowned Urban Guerilla Orchestra will be the house band for the evening.
Saturday Night Live alum Joe Piscopo is hosting the grand evening Gala, with additional special guest appearances by Dionne Warwick, Mayor Michael Nutter, Broadway’s “Annie” creator Martin Charnin; WMMR’s Jacky Bam Bam, Philadelphia Sports Hall of FamerSonny Hill, local oldies radio personality “The Geator” Jerry Blavat, and more surprises to be announced.
Afternoon ceremonies inducting the Walk of Fame’s Class of 2015 and unveiling its plaques will be held the same day along the Avenue of the Arts in front of the Kimmel Center, with live music by the Philly Pops Brass Band.
Frank Giordano will be honored with the Platinum Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Philadelphia Music Community. The Platinum Award is given to an individual, organization or company that has been a leader and champion in supporting the music making community in a significant way. Mr. Giordano’s significant contributions to Philadelphia’s music community include his work as President and CEO of The Philly Pops and past Chairman of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.
The PMA also is honoring the CAPA Foundation, with the Educational Award, a financial donation for Outstanding Excellence in Arts and Music. The CAPA Foundation is an independent non-profit organization providing sustained support to CAPA High School students by engaging CAPA alumni and parents, the Philadelphia arts community, corporate partners and foundations focused on arts education. The CAPA Foundation was formed in response to a $1.1 million cut in the operating budget of The Roots’ alma mater as a result of the School District of Philadelphia budget crisis.
The sold-out event, with catering by Wolfgang Puck, will include a charity auction with high profile items including:
- Two (2) Floor tickets to the Billboard Music Awards 2016
- A veranda cabin for two (2) on StarVista Live’s “Flower Power” Cruise starring Blood, Sweat and Tears feat. Bo Bice, Micky Dolenz(The Monkees), Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Jefferson Starship, The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, The Guess Who, and more
- Four (4) tickets to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Major sponsors include Live Nation, Hotel Monaco Stratus Lounge, Great Lakes Brewery, Philadelphia Distilling, ESM Productions, Blank Rome, LLP, O’Donnell & Naccarato Inc, The Clayman Foundation, Martell Cognac, Replica Creative, and Vinedrea Wines.
About the Philadelphia Music Alliance
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame is a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history and a vital force unifying the city’s diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts. The Philadelphia Music Alliance is a community-based, non-profit (501c3) organization, with an overall mission to shed new light on the City’s cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction, and to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music.
For more information, visit www.pmawalk.org
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