London music community celebrates its own with awards and workshops

Mario Circelli, co-founder and chair of the Forest City London Music Awards. (File photo)

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Live performances won’t be part of the celebration.

But it’s still all about the music when the postponed Forest City London Music Awards week is launched Sunday with the release of the 2019 jazz, classical world music award winners and the first of six SoundCheck for Success online workshops.

London Music Week has gone virtual so most of the fun will be online since the pandemic battle won’t allow large gatherings.

But co-founder and chair Mario Circelli said there is still a need to celebrate the accomplishments of London’s music community.

“The point is really to acknowledge what’s happened in the city, musically, and celebrate it and what we’re really looking forward to is to show some respect because these are our own,” said Circelli.

The only live music event is the annual Women of London Music show, this year at the Bud’s Brew Garden outside Budweiser Gardens Friday at 8 p.m. featuring performances by Anne Moniz, Jade Bennett, Kate Channer, Laura Gagnon, Leanne Mayer and Sarina Haggarty. Admission is free and seating is limited.

All of the online events are also free to watch on the FCLMA Facebook page.

Instead of two gala gatherings each with several performances to bookend the week-long celebration, the 27 award winners will be announced online over five days, including seven awards Sunday for jazz, classical and world music, which will be hosted by  London jazz singer and Jack FM radio personality Hilary Welch and Sonja Gustafson, who is nominated in the jazz vocalist category.

Sunday’s show starts at 7 p.m., followed by an online after party at 8:30 p.m. featuring the Mark Swan Trio accompanied by Welch, Gustafson and keyboardist Marque Smith.

The 20 awards for other music genres and related awards — video, venue, producer, contributors — will be announced at 7 p.m. each night Thursday through Sunday, hosted by comedian Steve Patterson of CBC Radio’s The Debaters.

“We’ve got 20 awards to hand out so we thought it would be better to break it up and spread them over four days into more bite-size segments,” said Circelli, adding that voting for the awards increased by more than 15 per cent this year, climbing to more than 37,000.

“That allows us to give the respect and attention each of these awards and genres deserve.”

All awards will be presented online at 7 p.m. on Facebook with the jazz, classical and world music categories Sunday; tribute band, cover band, producer, contributor and live venue categories Thursday; club DJ, electronic, folk roots, pop and country categories Friday; punk, metal, rock, Ontario major recording artist and Independent recording artist categories Sept. 19; and, hip hop, fan favourite, blues, music video of the year and contemporary singer-songwriter Sept. 20 to close the week.

Already announced were the inductees into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, including brothers Bert, Joe and John Niosi, all acclaimed big band musicians who also worked extensively with the CBC, and Grant Smith of Grant Smith and The Power, which had a hit in the late 1960s with Keep On Running, followed by success in the U.S. with Smith enjoying lengthy stays at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in the 1970s.

Lifetime achievement awards were given to the late Martin Boundy, a British-born conductor and organist who led a number of music groups in London over 20 years from 1949-69 and Terry McManus, a retired professor at Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts program, who was also an artist manager, musician and songwriter.

Beyond the awards, London Music Week also offers wannabes and seasoned professionals a chance to hear the thoughts of some of the industry’s most important talents during the SoundCheck For Success workshops.

These include keynote speaker Ken Caillat, co-producer and engineer of Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours, one of the most successful albums in rock history, winning a 1978 Grammy Award for album of the year.

Caillat will also be on the SoundCheck For Success panel titled, Producer! Producer! – How Things Have Changed, which will focus on how to make music sounds unique in a world where genres overlap on Sept. 19.

Highlights of London Music Week

  • Award winners will be announced online on the FCLMA Facebook  page Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Sept. 19 and 20
  • SoundCheck For Success workshops and seminars on the FCLMA Facebook page Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Sept. 19 and 20
  • Forest City London Music Hall of Fame inductees and lifetime achievement award presentations Tuesday, 7 p.m. followed at 8 p.m. by the presentation of the $1,000 FCLMA Ken Palmer Music Bursary awarded to a high school student pursuing post-secondary music education
  • SoundCheck For Success Keynote Address by Ken Caillat, Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Women of London Music show, Friday, 8 p.m., Bud’s Brew Garden outside Budweiser Gardens.


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