What is the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame?

The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame (RIMHOF) is a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and preserving the legacy of Rhode Island musicians, educators and industry professional who have made significant contributions to the national and Rhode Island music scene. RIMHOF will carry out its mission through the annual election of inductees, creation of a museum of artist- and music-related exhibits honoring inductees and commemorating the state’s musical legacy, and an online music archive of information about, and audio recordings by, those involved in Rhode Island’s past and present music scene. In addition, RIMHOF is committed to continuing that legacy by developing programs and services aimed at promoting and strengthening Rhode Island’s current and future music scene and ensuring that music continues to play an important role in the lives of all Rhode Islanders.

How was RIMHOF created?

The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame is the result of a merging of two separate Hall of Fame initiatives. The first involved inclusion of a Hall of Fame with the Rhode Island Popular Music Archive, a project designed to preserve, promote and celebrate Rhode Island’s great musical legacy through the creation of a musical archive to include information, recordings, memorabilia and ephemera from musicians, composers, and producers, in addition to presenting retrospective concerts. Three members were elected to this Hall of Fame since 2010. The second effort, begun in 2011, involved creation of a more traditional Music Hall of Fame that would encompass all Rhode Island music and participants in the state’s music industry, and include the building of an actual museum in Pawtucket.

In 2006, Mederick “Rick” Bellaire, Vice Chair of the newly formed Hall, organized the Rhode Island Popular Music Archive, with the initial effort culminating in a retrospective concert honoring Ken Lyon held at The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket in April. A DVD release of the concert footage and a “Best Of” compilation CD gathering together Mr. Lyon’s most important out-of-print recordings were then released. In 2009, the Archive began organizing discographies and songographies of the output of Rhode Island musicians and assigning projects to the Archive volunteers. Importantly, the Archive accepted the donation of the personal archives of Anders & Poncia, two of the most successful musicians in Rhode Island history. This material included demo recordings, hand-written lyrics, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia. At this time, the Rhode Island Popular Music Archive website began posting content on the internet.

In 2010, the Popular Music Archive gained the use of the name “The Rhode Island Popular Music Hall Of Fame” by combining their resources with those of earlier efforts spearheaded by Al Gomes and Bob Giusti. The newly merged Hall of Fame and Popular Music Archive held a retrospective concert honoring the achievements of Anders & Poncia, during which Anders & Poncia became the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in a ceremony conducted by John Cafferty of The Beaver Brown Band.

Mid 2011, The Hall and Archive became aware of a group of individuals, led by Bob Billington of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Dave Goldstein, Rich Lupo, Josh Cournoyer, Russell Gusetti, Jonathan Flynn and Mike Gadzacko of Hope Artiste Village, to build a Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in Pawtucket and a more traditional music Hall of Fame, encompassing all genres of music and participants in the state’s music industry. Things coalesced quickly and it was agreed to merge all efforts and entities into an incorporated Hall of Fame with a physical museum component and an on-line web based archive.

The three artists incorporated into the original Hall of Fame were inducted into the new Hall as part of the first induction class in 2012.

What does RIMHOF commemorate?

The Hall will honor and commemorate all genres of music and all aspects of the music industry, including artists, writers, producers, media, educators, promoters and business executives.

homenewDescribe the museum and exhibits.

The Museum currently features wall exhibits depicting the background of inducted artists. In the future, it will consist of memorabilia from inductees including audio/video materials, in addition to exhibits depicting Rhode Island’s musical history and current music scene.

Jack McKenna, official Graphic Designer for the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Museum, has created a unique style for the Hall’s exhibits which provides visual continuity for visitors as they explore Rhode Island’s 200 year musical history, moving through different eras and genres. The exhibits are designed with an eye to the future. As RIMHOF continues to seek donations, grants and corporate support for the museum, the displays are ready-made to incorporate artifacts, audio and interactive elements to enhance the visitor experience. The RIMHOF Board of Directors thanks The Hope Artiste Village for donating the museum space and graphic designer Kelly Convery for creating the RIMHOF logo.

How are inductees chosen and inducted?

A list of nominees are submitted by the organization’s Nominating Committee and final names each year are approved by the Board Of Directors. The actual election is conducted by a Board vote. The number of inductees, criteria, categories, procedures and nomination and election dates will be determined by vote of the Board. All honorees will be inducted at an annual ceremony and concert. The initial induction list was chosen by the Board of Directors and were inducted on February 26, 2012. Annual induction ceremonies usually take place around late April or early May of each year.

Criteria for induction into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame:


A) Candidate was born in Rhode Island
B) Candidate pursued career from Rhode Island
C) Candidate identifies and/or is perceived as a Rhode Islander


A) Performer
B) Producer
C) Composer
D) Educator
E) Behind-the-scenes (manager, executive, venue owner, writer, etc.)


A) Nationally and/or internationally recognized accomplishments
B) Contributions of note to or in support of the local music community


A) Approximately 10 years or longer as a professional in the field
If you have a suggestion for a future Hall Of Fame nominee, please send the name and a brief description of their accomplishments to: info@rhodeislandmusichalloffame.com

Describe the board and officers.

RIMHOF currently consists of 16 board members, with bylaws calling for 7-19 elected board members for 3-year terms. Officers include: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer who will serve for 1-year terms. Current board members consist of some RIMHOF founding members and others. View list

How can someone become a member? What are the requirements and benefits?

Currently RIMHOF has no membership plan. Future membership fees and benefits may be determined by the Board. Any membership will be nonvoting except for voting for inductees from a list of approved nominees.

What committees exist?

Committees dictated by the Hall’s bylaws include the following:

  • Nominating Committee (for officers and inductees)
  • Publicity Committee (with web/social media subcommittee)
  • Special Events Committee
  • Archive Committee
  • Finance Committee (including fundraising)
  • Other committees will be determined by Board approval and currently include the Outreach Committee.

How will the Hall raise funds? What will they be used for?

The Hall may raise funds via a number of resources and activities:

  • Annual induction concert and related events
  • Hall sponsorships
  • Web sponsorships and advertising
  • Grants
  • Fundraising concerts and other events
  • Sales of products via direct sales and options
  • General donations

Funds will be used to carry out the day to day activities of the Hall, creation and upkeep of the Museum, building of the historical archive, marketing and publicity, and special financial and other programs to encourage Rhode Islanders to develop music related projects, receive musical education, and get involved in the state’s musical scene.  Funds raised through TUNE IN & TUNE UP events will be used for that program.

What programs and services will RIMHOF offer?

In addition to its annual induction ceremonies and events and building of the museum, the Hall operates the TUNE IN & TUNE UP program designed to educate musicians and members of the music community about medical and healthcare issues and assist them with making better medical and health related decisions.

What information will be contained in the Historical Archive?

The archive will contain detailed information about the state’s music artists, composers, producers, business execs, educators, programs, and venues. Information will include, where applicable: bios, books and publications, articles, recordings and other works, in addition to audio and video recordings related to each entity. The current version of the historical archive can be viewed here.

How can someone get involved with assisting RIMHOF efforts?

RIMHOF seeks volunteers to work on existing projects including events, and serve on committees. In the future, volunteers will be needed for other activities.