The Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative unveiled its Hall of Fame on June 16, honoring the musical contributions of Barry Manilow, Cole Porter and the songwriting duo of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The Hall of Fame is conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook's artistic contributors. These artists represent the lyricists, composers and performers responsible for creating America's soundtrack.
"The Hall of Fame will introduce an exciting new era for honoring our country's most notable songwriters and artists. I look forward to sharing their music and celebrating their contributions," said Michael Feinstein, the Initiative's founder and noted American Songbook ambassador.
The June 16 awards ceremony featured Michael Feinstein, the Center's artistic director. Feinstein inducted Barry Manilow, Cole Porter and the songwriting duo of Alan and Marilyn Bergman (creators of Barbra Streisand's greatest movie scores including The Way We Were and Yentl) into the inaugural class of the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.
Feinstein was joined by Clay Aiken in a tribute to Barry Manilow, with Lari White singing hits by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, and Andrea McArdle performing Cole Porter tunes. Nick Ziobro, winner of the 2012 Michael Feinstein Initiative Great American Songbook Vocal Academy and Competition, performed "Here's That Rainy Day," one of the songs which won him the honor. At the close of the ceremony, Manilow sang a medley of his iconic songs. Manilow accepted his Hall of Fame awards in person on the Palladium concert hall stage, with members of the Porter family accepting on behalf of Cole Porter.
The 2012 awards included:
New Standard: Awarded to the artist, songwriter and/or performer, who continues to create the soundtrack of our lives by writing and/or performing music that will stand the test of time and become the pop standards of tomorrow. Inductee: Barry Manilow, 2012.
Legend: Awarded posthumously to an artist who made a significant contribution to the Golden Age of American popular music, typically defined as the period from the early years of the 20th century through the 1960s. Inductee: Cole Porter, 2012. (accepted by Mag Cole Russell, Porter's cousin)
Songbook: Awarded to living songwriters, both lyricists and composers, who have made a significant impact on American pop culture by creating the most beloved songs from the American popular songbook. Inductees: Alan and Marilyn Bergman, 2012.
"The Hall of Fame will elevate the Great American Songbook, much like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame have done for their respective musical genres," said Karen Witt Kelsey, director of the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative. "The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame will induct new members annually. The Palladium concert hall in Carmel, Indiana serves as the official home of the Initiative and the Hall of Fame. We are looking forward to sharing the Songbook with guests from around the country."
The inaugural Hall of Fame inductees were chosen by the Initiative's board of directors. Plans exist for the construction of the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Museum and Archive on the campus of the Carmel, Indiana-based Center for the Performing Arts.
More information is available online at www.TheCenterForThePerformingArts.org and www.FeinsteinInitiative.org
Michael Feinstein's Great American Songbook Initiative is an archive, museum and education center at the Center for the Performing Arts, in Carmel City Center. The performing arts campus includes the 1,600-seat Palladium concert hall, the Tarkington 500-seat proscenium theater and the 200-seat Studio Theater. The Center is a permanent fixture on the Central Indiana landscape and will provide an extraordinary listening experience for audiences, acting as a museum and education center by day and a concert venue by night.