JUNE 19th to 26th, 2022

Forest City London Music Awards and Forest City London Music Week presented by  Unifor the union / lesyndicat

The not-for-profit Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) exists as a regional music incubator to preserve the rich music history of our region, celebrate the music makers of today and encourage a new generation of musicians.

Four Pillars of the FCLMA

We’re always looking for passionate people who can help make the awards program and Forest City London Music Week happen every year. Please contact us to inquire about joining any of our teams.


The FCLMA is proud to acknowledge that the land on which we gather for our events is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendt, Attawandaron and Lenape Indigenous peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties, including Treaty 6, the London Township Treaty.


The Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) believes in a world that is inclusive in approach and where equal opportunities and equitable outcomes exist for all. We are committed to developing and supporting a robustly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, where all members create and feel a sense of belonging. Through all our endeavors, FCLMA strives to provide a basis for equality and inclusion. 

Forest City London Music Awards, curators of Canada’s only city specific Music Hall of Fame is grateful to have been awarded a London Heritage Award 2019.  We thank the Architectural Conservancy Ontario – London Region (ACO London) and Heritage London Foundation (HLF) for this distinction.

Forest City London Music Awards Board of Directors – For the sympathetic reuse and conservation of a downtown landmark building at 182 Dundas Street, the former home of Nash Jewellers, and creating an inspiring venue and home for London Music Hall of Fame and London’s rich musical heritage



Check out the 2019 Nominees and Winners!



FCLMW 2022 Events

Forest City London Music Music Week

FCLMW 2022 Events



182 Dundas Street downtown.
Open weekends.



Images from all our past FCLMA award shows & events.



News & Events

London Music Week: Initial gala honours best in classical, jazz, world music

Katy Clark and Nicole Tan took home awards for top vocalists at the 20th annual Forest City London Music Awards for classical, jazz and world music.


Katy Clark and Nicole Tan took home awards for top vocalists at the 20th annual Forest City London Music Awards for classical, jazz and world music.

Clark won the classical solo vocalist award and Tan won for jazz vocalist at the gala at Aeolian Hall Sunday in front of a full house.

“Everything went really well,” said producer Janis Wallace. “The performers were great and the feedback we got from the audience was all good, many saying it was the best awards show they’ve attended yet. It was a great variety of performers and a real showcase of the diversity of musical talent.”

The gala was the first of two awards shows to celebrate London Music Week, the remaining genres including pop, rock, country, blues, will be awarded Sunday at London Music Hall with several events planned each day leading up to the gathering to celebrate the city’s musical talent.

Among the welcomed surprises was Clark Bryan winning for classical instrumental (solo).

“Clark puts his heart and soul into everything he does,” said Wallace. “We’re all lucky to have someone like him in our community we get to hear play but also for all the other things he does at the Aeolian.”

Other winners included London Community Orchestra for classical instrumental, King’s University College Chamber Choir for classical vocal choir, Paul Aitken for jazz instrumental (solo/group), and the band Latin Power for world music.

The Paul Aiken Trio is performing a free concert Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame’s Rosewood Room.

Guitarist Paul Aitken, winner of the jazz instrumental (solo or group) category of the Forest City London Music Awards, will perform a free show with his trio at the hall’s Rosewood room Tuesday at 7 p.m. (Supplied photo)

Wallace said highlights of the gala were the induction of two-time Grammy nominee and two-time Juno Award winner Loreena McKennitt into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame and the performance of a hoop dance by Indigenous dancer/musician River White.


All London, all the time on music hall of fame’s new internet radio station

There are no more excuses for not listening to London’s wealth of musical talent.


The Forest City London Music Hall of Fame has launched its own internet radio station, FCLMA Radio, featuring London’s music talent around the clock, in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

“It’s important for what we do,” said Mario Circelli, chair and cofounder of the Hall of Fame, which is holding its annual London Music Week, concluding Sunday with the awards gala at London Music Hall.

“Here’s an opportunity to listen to our artists all the time. We’ve got thousands of songs online. More importantly, it’s a method for us to archive our own talent. We’re digitizing cassettes, albums and CDs of our artists and we’ll be adding new tracks every month. This will be an archive to preserve the original music made by Londoners for future generations to listen to.”

Royalties will also be paid to the artists for their music played on the new radio station, said Circelli.

Also unveiled Monday was Anderson Craft Ales’ annual release of a Helles beer featuring the images of Hall of Fame inductees. This year the beer series includes Kittie (for the second time after huge demand last year), drummer Graham Lear, Johnny and The Canadians, folk legend and music producer Paul Mills on a can with John Smales, who owned and operated Smales Pace folk club, fiddler J.P. Allen and The Demics.

London graphic artist Darla Stratton, left, holds a glass of Anderson Craft Ales’ Helles beer with Forest City London Music Hall of Fame curator Rena O’Halloran leaning on a stack of beer cans, designed by Stratton, bearing the images of several inductees to the hall of fame.  (JOE BELANGER/The London Free Press)

The cans were designed by Darla Stratton, a London graphic artist and vocalist for the cover band Swagger.

“People love this, especially the artists,” said Hall of Fame curator Rena O’Halloran. “They’re all just thrilled when they see it. Many of them can’t believe it and they’ll order cans for their families and friends. The music fans seem to love it, too.”

There’s a limited supply of the specialty cans, which Anderson also produces for a few other music events, including Sunfest.

“Beer and music go together so well,” said Gavin Anderson, president of Anderson Craft Ales. “We like to work with the local events. It’s fun and just a great pairing.”


Has London’s music hall of fame ever had a more diverse class of inductees?

A diverse set of stars will be inducted in June into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame.

A diverse class of new inductees has been announced for the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame. It’s a group that includes Grammy nominee Loreena McKennitt; Canadian disco-era singer Cherrill Rae; country music star Larry Mercey; globetrotting electronic music icon John Acquaviva; and Rory Dodd, a backup singer on albums from some of the biggest rock and pop stars ever. Our Joe Belanger has more on the class, which will be honoured at a June 26 gala:


Joe Belanger
London Free Press
Apr 30, 2022  •  April 30, 2022

Two-time Grammy nominee and two-time Juno Award winner Loreena McKennitt, who last month headlined two concerts at Aeolian Hall that raised more than $70,000 for Ukraine relief, will be among those inducted into the hall on June 26 at the Forest City London Music Awards gala.


McKennitt, born in Morden, Man., has lived in Stratford for 40 years, settling there in 1981 to work at the Stratford Festival.


“It’s always very gratifying to be recognized for my work, I certainly feel honoured,” McKennitt, 65, said, adding she’ll be attending the ceremony at London Music Hall in downtown London. “You know, when you’re young and starting out in this business, you’re working hard with your head down and then one day you look up and it’s 20, 30 years later, so it’s a great honour to receive.”

Cherrill Rae, 67, whose birth name is Yates, was born in the U.K., but her family settled in St. Thomas, where four of her five brothers operate Yates Electrical Services. She had several international hits during the late ’70s and early ’80s in a duo with her husband Robbie, whom she met while performing on his British television show in in the mid-1970s.


They settled in Canada and toured and recorded as The Raes, releasing a string of hits, including Don’t Shut Me Out, the Juno-nominated hit Que Sera Sera, A Little Lovin’ (Keeps the Doctor Away), which climbed to 61 on the U.S. hot 100, and I Only Wanna Get Up and Dance, which also charted in the U.S.

From 1978 to 1980 they also had a CBC television series, The Raes Variety Hour, and were nominated in 1980 for a Juno Award for most promising group of the year. They divorced in 1982 but remained friends. Robbie, who eventually settled in Thailand, died in 2003.

Cherrill Rae continued to perform as a solo act and as a member of several acts. In 2008, she released the CD, Look At Me Now.

“I thought everyone forgot about me,” said Rae, who now lives in Florida but has performed in London, where her family still lives, several times in recent years. She also performs at disco revival shows across the U.S. “I was totally humbled when they called and honoured.

“I couldn’t believe it when they called. It’s really, really nice. I’m just thrilled.”

John Acquaviva, who is out of the country and unavailable for comment, got his start in London in the early 1980s. His talent has taken him to the pinnacle of the electronic music genre and, nearly 40 years later, he’s still touring the world.

In 1989, Acquaviva and fellow DJ Richie Hawtin founded Plus 8 Records, one of the world’s most popular and influential techno labels. They also co-founded Definitive Recordings in 1992, which has produced six No. 1 tunes on Beatport.com, including Gail in the O, the second-longest-running No. 1 song in Beatport history.

When the music world went digital, Acquaviva and Hawtin were again at the forefront with the development of Final Scratch, a software program that allows DJs to connect digital files to turntables and have instant access to thousands of songs without crates full of records.

“It’s sometimes easy to toss around accolades when talking about musicians, but Acquaviva is one where they all apply,” said Mario Circelli, the hall of fame’s founder. “I got to work on projects with John in the middle 1980s and it was easy to see he was the most talented in the bunch.

“He was always ahead of the curve, on top of the scene and incredibly talented.”

Hanover native Larry Mercey, who now lives in Ilderton with his wife June, is a country music legend.


Mercey broke into the music business in the mid-1950s and is still performing, although he took some time before and during the pandemic to put his memories to print in the book, Have Mercey: My First 60 Years Making Music.

The autobiography begins just before Mercey made his professional debut and started performing with his brother Ray, later joined by younger brother Lloyd, as the Mercey Brothers. The group was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989, the same year they disbanded.

But this latest honour is one Larry Mercey shares with no one.

“I’m very, very excited about this honour because it’s not the Mercey Brothers, it’s me, and I’ve been on my own now for a lot of years,” Mercey said. “It’s always special to be recognized. It says you’ve done something and other people respect you for it. And you get to hold your head up a little higher.”

Rory Dodd may be the least-known among the inductees, yet his career as a backup singer exposed him to some of the greatest artists in rock history, including Meat Loaf, Billy Joel, Celine Dion, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bonnie Tyler, Lou Reed and Patty Smyth.

The Port Dover native’s voice is on one of the bestselling albums of all time, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, which has sold an estimated 40 million copies worldwide since its release in 1977.

“It’s a humbling experience,” said Dodd, who now lives in Simcoe.

“I’m the best kept secret of Norfolk County, but that’s fine,” he adds. “People don’t read the liner notes on the albums. They don’t know and I’m not a guy who blows his own horn.”

Said Circelli: “Rory proves you can take the boy out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town of the boy. Rory hit the fabled heights of rock music.”

Also announced Friday were lifetime achievement awards going to John Smale and Brian Mortimer.

Smale was the founder of the iconic London folk venue Smales Pace, where some of Canada’s best folk and roots artists performed, including Bruce Cockburn, Paul Mills, Laura Smith, Stan Rogers, Murray McLaughlin, the Good Brothers, Jackie Washington and Willie P. Bennett.

Mortimer, an Ottawa native, came to London in 1972 and within a few years was operating several music venues, including Mingles (the rock room), the Firehall (blues and roots music) and the Cookery, a stage for local acoustic acts. Among the acts he brought to the Firehall were Matt (Guitar) Murphy of the Blues Brothers fame, Eddie (The Chief) Clearwater, Jeff Healey, Colin James and Tom Wilson, while Mingles played host to David Wilcox, Kim Mitchell, DOA, Cub Koda and the Gun Club.

Mortimer was also one of the founders of the Great Lakes Blues Society and was the main sales and sponsorship person for the Forest City London Music Awards. He has also organized the annual Firehall Reunion for more than 30 years after the bar closed.

The inductions take place during the final night of London Music Week June 19-26.

The week begins with the jazz, world and classical music awards gala June 19 at Aeolian Hall, followed by six days of showcases and musical events, including the high school battle of the bands and the SoundCheck for Success professional development day.

The week closes with the inductions and the awards gala for the remaining categories (rock, pop, hip hop, country, folk, etc.) June 26 at London Music Hall. The public can vote for their favourite nominees in 24 categories online at fclma.ca until May 6.



Two bands, a producer, violinist and country singer to join London’s music hall of fame

Canada’s own Singing Cowbody, a world-class violinist, the band who opened for The Supremes and The Dave Clark Five and a band that toured Ontario for decades will be inducted into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame.

The inductees include country star Earl Heywood, Johnny Stevens and the Canadians, violinist Lara St. John and B.W. Pawley and Plum Loco.


Joe Belanger
Publishing date:

Apr 09, 2021  •  April 9, 2021

Also being honored during London Music Week June 6 to 13 for lifetime achievement will be the late Greg Simpson, who spent five decades in the radio business and working with London musicians and bands and various organizations, including the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame. Simpson died last June after a series of strokes.

“Every year it’s a tough process to identify worthy recipients, because of the incredible music history of London, but our Hall of Fame team did a great job this year in identifying five incredible talents that took our city around the world,” said Hall of Fame curator Rena O’Halloran.

The virtual ceremony will be held June 8 at 8 p.m. live-streamed on the hall’s Facebook page.

London music week also includes the announcement of the music award winners for all genres and the wildly popular music industry workshops, seminars SoundCheck for Success.

Nominees for the music awards will be announced Monday.

Mario Circelli, co-founder and chair of the awards and Forest City London Music Hall of Fame (182 Dundas St.), said “it’s an incredible class of inductees.”

“It really reflects the calibre of talents that’s been coming out of London since the days of Guy Lombardo and his brothers,” said Circelli, referring to the big-band legends who enjoyed international fame.



Earl Heywood
Earl Heywood

Earl Heywood was a family man first.

But to the rest of the country he was Canada’s Singing Cowboy.

“Yes, he absolutely was a family man,” said his daughter, Pat Cook of Kincardine, who even took to the stage with her father, mother Martha and brother Grant, who is still an active musician.

“He was a good father and a great guy to talk to.”

The son of a farmer, who grew up outside of Exeter, Heywood was inspired by Gene Autry, America’s Singing Cowboy, and influenced by a distant cousin, Gordie Tapp who starred on the television show, Hee Haw and inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, joined by Heywood in 1989.

Heywood died in 2006 at the age of 89. His wife, Martha, with whom he continued to perform in the 1990s, is in a nursing home.

He was a regular for years on the popular radio show CKNX Barn Dance. He was given the moniker Canada’s Singing Cowboy the first time when being introduced at London’s Princess Theatre. He had his own radio show, Serenade Ranch.

During his career, he toured the east coast of the U.S. and in Canada. He appeared on the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville, and at a Philadelphia television station in 1953, his back-up band was an unknown group known as Bill Haley and the Saddlemen before he became Bill Haley and The Comets, pioneers of rock ’n roll with hits including Rock Around the Clock and Shake, Rattle and Roll.

Heywood was a renowned songwriter and in 1970 released the 14-song album Tales of the Donnelly Feud, which sold 35,000 copies in Canada, leading to appearances on the CBC’s Stompin’ Tom Connors show. During his career, Heywood would release 10 albums and composed more than 350 songs.

He counted among his friends the legendary Hank Snow, Wilf Carter and Gene Autry, but also Larry Mercey, a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

“He was one of my mentors,” said Mercey, now 80, who also got his start at the CKNX Barn Dance and was delighted to hear Heywood will be inducted to the Forest City London Music Hall of fame.

“He was always very friendly and helpful and Martha was his right arm. He taught me to make it a business and he really looked after family and taught me the same.”



Lara St. John
Lara St. John

Lara St. John is missing her home.

“I haven’t been home for more than a year,” said the violinist, whose brother, Scott, made it home ahead of the pandemic and performed with London Symphonia last October. Lara originally was scheduled to perform but couldn’t due to the pandemic.


Instead, St. John has been hunkered down at her New York City apartment with her husband, Steve Judson.
Unable to perform live, St. John has developed a virtual chamber music series featuring a variety of musicians performing in an empty space in her apartment building once occupied by a store.

She has given only a few performances during the last year and was excited to hear of her induction into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame.

“This is really great,” said St. John, who will turn 50 on April 15. “It’s definitely a big honour coming from my home town.”

The induction follows her being named to the Order of Canada in late November.

St. John has been playing the violin since she was two, the daughter of the late Ken St. John, a former teacher at Medway High School and her mother, Sharie, a retired music coach.

She first performed with an orchestra at the age of four, studied in Paris, made her European debut at the age of 10 with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, toured Europe for three years before studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she later received her degree, but where she also was the victim of a sexual assault by one of her instructors which caused a furor when it was revealed in 2019.

St. John went on to do post-graduate work at the Moscow Conservatory and also studied at the Guildhall School in London, Mannes College of Music in New York and the New England Conservatory in Boston.

She has gone on to perform at some of the world’s greatest venues and with major symphony orchestras including Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Boston Pops, the Knights, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa) and with major orchestras across South America, Europe and Asia.


She founded her own record company Ancalagon Records in 1999 and has released 13 recordings since 1996.

Said Circelli: “Lara has played with some of the world’s most prestigious symphony orchestras and venues around the world and she has always taken London’s flag with her.”



Johnny Stevens and The Canadians in this 1964 shot from Free Press files.
Johnny Stevens and The Canadians in this 1964 shot from Free Press files.

Reini Strasser had one word to describe how he felt when he got a call about Johnny Stevens and The Canadians being inducted into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame

“Gobsmacked,” said Strasser from his home in Melbourne southwest of London.

“After all these years . . . I never thought of myself as anything spectacular. But that was a golden era (of rock’n roll).”

Strasser played bass in the band, behind singer and front man Johnny Stevens and alongside drummer Billy Hilton, lead guitarist Ken Gough, organist Lou Crockett, piano player Joe Dengler and sax player David Atwood.

The band, which played R&B in the style of bands who were part of the British invasion, was formed around 1963 and included members of The Belaires and The Hi Fi’s, first calling themselves The Johnny Stevens Sextet before settling on Johnny and the Canadians when they went to New York to sign a record deal that led to two singles, Say Yeah! and A Million Tears Ago written by Gough and Crockett.

Eventually, they were managed by the late Saul Holliff, who promoted and managed Johnny Cash for 17 years.

Their popularity surged and they worked full-time, touring throughout Ontario and Quebec, often sharing the stage with other stars, including Ronnie Hawkins, David Clayton Thomas and Bobby Curtola.

They once rejected a month-long tour of Florida when the promoter suggested they needed to replace their singer, who was black.

Strasser said the late Stevens, a native of Nova Scotia, was the leader of the band, handsome and a great singer but, unlike most front men, not egotistical.

“He could charm an audience and he was always smiling,” said Strasser, who left the music business when the band folded in 1967, working instead as a technologist for several firms.

“He was always very polite and well spoken. The guys all got along good. There were a lot of practical jokes. But the group stayed together where often you see bands break up over personality conflicts.”
There was no real negative stuff among the guys.”

Johnny Stevens and the Canadians played all the major venues of the day and opened for The Dave Clark Five and The Supremes in London arenas.

Circelli describe Johnny Stevens and the Canadians as a “ground-breaking” band who helped break down racial barriers, the late Stevens one of the few Black front men in Canada in the early days of rock ’n roll.



Paul Mills
Paul Mills

The chemistry wasn’t quite the right mix for Paul Mills.

Today, there are dozens of Canadian musicians and thousands of folk music fans across the country who are quite happy about that.

The musician, musical arranger, graphic designer and retired record producer/engineer who began life studying to become a chemical engineer is being inducted into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame.

“I’m thrilled, flabbergasted,” said Mills, who became a member of the Order of Canada in 2018.

“I couldn’t believe when they called and told me. It feels wonderful.”

Mills is a chemical engineering graduate of Western University who gave up that plan when the pull of music, especially folk, proved too strong.

“I played guitar and I would play with friends and I joined the folk music society (late 60s) and then just realized ‘I’m not an engineer, I’m a musician’ and I added it all up and decided I’d become a record producer,” said Mills.

It was a decision that had a major impact on the Canadian folk music scene. Besides working as a producer for the CBC, Mills went on to produce records for such luminaries as the late Stan Rogers (all his albums except one), Ron Hynes, Sharon, Lois & Bram, London native the late Laura Smith, Natalie MacMaster, John Allan Cameron – close to 200 albums since the early 1970s.

It was the CBC Radio that gave Mills the break he needed in 1972 when he was hired as a music producer then moved to the radio drama department as producer and executive producer.

On the music side, he conceived and produced a national folk music program called Touch The Earth hosted by Sylvia Tyson.  On the drama side, he helped develop the award-winning series, The Scales of Justice which was later adapted for CBC Television. He eventually became a senior manager for CBC Radio.

Mills is a founding partner of the Borealis Recording Company and he owned and operated his own production company and recording studio called The Millstream for 20 years.

Stan Rogers was his best friend, who died tragically in 1983 when the Air Canada plane he was on flying from Dallas to Toronto caught fire in the cabin. The plane made an emergency landing but Rogers and 22 others died after five crew and 18 other passengers escaped.

“I would have to count Stan as one of my favorite artists to work with,” said Mills. “He was a kind-hearted man, but he could be very head-strong.”

When asked if there was one able he produced that he’d call his “favorite” Mills laughed.

“I like them all.”



Guitarist John Till, drummer Wayne Brown and bassist Shawn Till perform during the final show of B.W. Pawley and Plum Loco. File photo
Guitarist John Till, drummer Wayne Brown and bassist Shawn Till perform during the final show of B.W. Pawley and Plum Loco. File photo

The gravelly voice on the phone cackled with delight.

“I think it’s great,” said Brian Pawley, on hearing his old band, B. W. Pawley and Plum Loco were being inducted into the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame. “I’m very surprised.”

Pawley was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in the band which also included John Till (who backed Janis Joplin in the Full Tilt Boogie band), Ken Kalmusky (a bass player who played in Ian and Sylvia Tyson’s Great Speckled Bird) and Billy Hilton (a local London drummer who had played with the Johnny Stevens and the Canadians) and Dave Warner on piano.

They played the bar circuit across the province for more than three decades with a few interruptions and personnel changes along the way.

Their music was what Pawley described as “cow rock” or “crock, Texas-style stuff, sort of rock and country.”

“We had some fun, I’ll tell you,” said Pawley, who moved to Prince Edward Island a few years ago.

They didn’t record an album.

“We were too busy having a good time,” said Pawley of the band that became one of the most popular in the province, even drawing the attention of the Toronto Star which published a half-page story about the band in the early 70s.

Pawley left the band in 1980 to play with Ronnie Hawkins and got to work with Lonnie Mack, John Lee Hooker, Tony Jo White, Sam and Dave, Dr. Hook and opened shows for country stars including Dolly Parton, George Jones and Jerry Reed. In 1983, Pawley got a record deal releasing Too Many Parties in  and Livin Lovin’ and Drinkin’ and toured extensively until 1990 when he re-joined Hawkins for three  months.

He then returned to the region and reformed Plum Loco.

“It was one of those bands where it becomes like family,” said Pawley, who is still playing gigs on P.E.I. “We were all really close and stayed close.”

Circelli said one of the endearing facts about Plum Loco is “they did things their way.”

“They pounded away on the club circuit year after year, which is how you made it back then, playing the clubs, which is how you built and sustained a career in those days. They were a great band.

Live performances may be part of London music awards in June


There will be a celebration of London’s musical talent in June.

The Forest City London Music Awards is looking for nominations in 28 categories, including rock, pop, country, folk, classical and jazz.

People can recommend their favourite artists until March 28. Nominees will go to a panel that will determine finalists for a public vote starting April 12.

Award winners will be announced during London Music Week, June 6-13, with a virtual presentation of the classical and jazz awards, followed by a possible hybrid event of live and streamed performances.

“Sure it’s worth it,” said the event’s co-founder and chair Mario Circelli. “During the lockdown, people pivoted and went to live streaming online and when they got used to the fact it was going to be a different year, a lot of artists, bands and individual musicians turned inward to focus on honing their skills, writing and then recording when the lockdown eased and it was safe for small groups to gather. There’s been a lot of great music created.”

Some categories, including best cover band, club DJ, tribute artist and live venue, will not be awarded this year due to the pandemic.

There may be live performances by local artists at the awards presentations, depending on pandemic restrictions.

“Yes, this year we are looking to do a hybrid show with some pre-recorded elements,” producer Jenn Watts said.

“It could be at a venue or a drive-in. We’ll just have to follow whatever guidelines are in place. It’s all kind of a moving target right now, so we don’t know for certain.”

The High School Battle of the Bands, which was suspended last year, is back.

The competition will be a live-streamed showdown June 10-11 on the Forest City London Facebook page.

The SoundCheck for Success professional development workshops, which were a virtual hit last September, boosted by keynote speaker Ken Caillat who produced Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, will also return.

“We’ll probably have a hybrid SoundCheck for Success,” Circelli said. “Last year, we reached a much wider live-stream audience and we were able to access industry people, musicians and producers, from the U.S. and across Canada to participate. We drew an audience from across the country, the U.S. and even a few hits from Europe.”

The deadline for the Ken Palmer Bursary is April 16. The $1,000 bursary, named after the late musician who played mandolin and sang with the bluegrass band The Dixie Flyers, is awarded to high school students in their final year who are pursuing post-secondary education in music. Palmer was also artistic director of the Home County Music and Art Festival.

Visit fclma.ca to make a nomination, apply for a bursary, compete in the High School Battle of the Bands, vote (starting April 12), or for more information about the awards.



London’s Music Community Pays Tribute to City’s Front-Line Workers



CBC News – Introducing the 2020 London Music Hall Of Fame Inductees

Big-band Niosi brothers, Grant Smith to be inducted into London Music Hall of Fame


Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) Announces 2020 Hall of Fame inductees and Lifetime Achievement Recipients

The Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) recognizes four Hall of Fame inductees and two Lifetime Achievement Award recipients in The Class of 2020. 


Honoured with induction into the Forest City London Music Awards, London Music Hall of Fame are:

  • Three brothers from the big band era — the late Bert, Joe and John Niosi
  • Rhythm & Blues belter and Las Vegas showstopper Grant Smith.

Receiving FCLMA Lifetime Achievement Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to music business and education as well as being community leaders in music, are:

  • The late Martin Boundy, a conductor who inspired countless community ensembles
  • Iconic artist manager, musician, songwriter and Fanshawe Music Industry Arts professor Terry McManus.

FCLMA Board member and London Music Hall of Fame Curator Rena O’Halloran says “The Niosis and Grant Smith had a profound impact on London music and their addition to the HOF captures their contribution”.

The Niosi brothers and Smith join more than 20 individuals, groups and ensembles such as The Lombardo Family, Tommy Hunter, Kittie and Gordie Tapp as HOF inductees.

Boundy and McManus follow the lead of such Lifetime Achievement honourees as the late Saul Holiff, who managed Johnny Cash, and Indigenous music activist and community-builder Mary Lou Smoke.

“The Lifetime Achievement honour is awarded to an individual who has been an outstanding contributor to the London and area music community over many years” says Mario Circelli, FCLMA Chair. “It is without a doubt that both Martin Boundy and Terry McManus have left their fingerprints on London music”.

The Class of 2020 will be celebrated at events during London Music Week 2020, which has been postponed from May 3-10 until the fall because of COVID-19. The accomplishments of all six members of The Class of 2020 will also be honoured in displays at the award-winning London Music Hall of Fame, 182 Dundas St.

Response to COVID-19 – FCLMA/FCLMW Postponement

In response to COVID-19, and to ensure the health and safety of London music fans, staff, and volunteers, the London Music Awards and London Music Week 2020 are being postponed until the fall.

We have been following developments surrounding the Coronavirus and taking our lead from the Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health and CEO Dr. Chris Mackie and his team. We thank them for their expertise and advice as this situation continues to evolve. We respect his recommendations and hope that everyone remains healthy and safe.


The FCLMA Board of Directors did not take this decision lightly as our volunteers and local music champions work incredibly hard to organize a music celebration of this magnitude. And we are proud of being Canada’s only city-centric music week #FCLMW. We also know what our event has come to mean to the music community and its importance to our community and the surrounding area.

Please keep in mind that while we all work through this difficult period, voting for your favourite performers in the various categories will continue online at https://fclma.ca/ until March 31st, 2020 as planned and the deadline will remain.

  • Upon completion of the voting process (March 31, 2020), the winners will remain sealed and held by MNP Chartered Professional Accountants and will not be announced until the rescheduled award(s) ceremonies.
  • Please vote for your favourites and plan to join us as when we celebrate our successes together.
  • Juried categories: Submissions for Producer/Engineer of the Year and Music Video of the Year continue to be accepted at https://fclma.ca/ until March 31st.

Because we understand how disruptive and painful this situation will be to our music community FCLMA will honour dozens of artist agreements that have been extended for #FCLMW2020 or the #FCLMA2020.

  • Those arrangements for FCLMA London Live and our FCLMA Women of London Music performers will be paid 50% of performance fees immediately should artists require with the balance being paid when we celebrate in the fall. To request funds please e-mail chair@fclma.ca
  • We understand this is a small gesture but we are determined to remain true to our pillars of Preserving – Celebrating – Encouraging – Supporting our music community. The FCLMA stands with the local music community.
  • It is imperative that we keep the music alive and our musician’s working, not only at this time but also year-round.
  • The Forest City London Music Awards maintains committed to encouraging young musicians in high school to pursue a post-secondary education in music. We will award two (2) cash bursaries of $1000.00 each to worthy applicants for the 2020 awards cycle. The deadline remains the same and information is available at: https://fclma.ca/bursary/
  • We are also adjusting the announcement of the 2020 Forest City London Music Awards inductees to the London Music Hall of Fame and announcing this years Lifetime Achievement recipients.
  • Please join us on April 8th at 7pm for a Facebook live watch party and celebrate our Hall of Fame Inductees and lifetime achievement recipients with us.
  • We are proud to be Canada’s only city-centric music hall of fame and honoured to preserve our city’s rich music history.

This is an unfortunate time for live music, but we know we are taking prudent steps to keep people safe. During this period of “social distancing” please continue supporting these artists by buying their music, and visiting and “liking” their social channels. We also encourage you to continue to support our music community be supporting efforts by artists such as Sarah Smith

who is working hard to fundraise for our music friends in need. There are other musicians and fans also planning/doing this type of support.

  • Let’s band together, create fund raising events and use social media to support and connect our music community during these days of social distancing.
  • Mental health remains a focus and is important to reach out to people by social media, cellphones and other means to ensure everyone will make it through these trying times.
  • FCLMA launched #Musicians4MentalHealth several years ago and now more than ever we must ensure everyone’s mental and physical health and well-being is paramount.

It is our promise that the rescheduled Awards Show Galas and performances will be the time to regroup and celebrate our resiliency as a music community and showcase the acclaimed talent in the Forest City.

We thank all of sponsors, supporters and friends for 18 great years!


Latest: FCLMA’s London Music Week 2020 postponed until the fall. New dates to be announced later with scores of paid performers and free events.

Gig details: More than 25 London acts who had London Music Week gig fees set to be paid 50 per cent of fee now, rest at gig.

Voting: Record-setting online voting continues in more than 20 categories at FCLMA.ca until March 31. Results confidential with winners announced during London Music Week.

Juried categories: Submissions for Producer/Engineer of the Year and Music Video of the Year continue to be accepted at FCLMA.ca.

London Music Hall of Fame: 182 Dundas Street is closed as part of our overall response to COVID-19.

London Music Hall of Fame Founders:

Unifor Canada https://www.unifor.org/

Budweiser Gardens https://www.budweisergardens.com/

Turner Drug Store http://www.turnerdrugs.com/

London Music Hall, Mike & Vicki Manuel and the Manuel Family http://londonmusichall.com/

Board of Directors – Non-profit

Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) & London Music Hall of Fame 182 Dundas Street, London ON







FCLMA Announces London Music Week 2020 – #FCLMA20







FCLMA All Stars

December 31st, 2019 – FCLMA All-Stars in Victoria Park
New Year’s Eve in the Park kicks off at 7 p.m. and runs until midnight in Downtown London’s Victoria Park (580 Clarence St.) Tuesday, Dec. 31.

This is a free event and is open to all ages.

Free public transit kindly provided by London Transit Commission is available to help you and your family get to the celebration.

For more information, visit www.londontourism.ca.

December 13th , 2019 – A Not So Silent Night

Holiday cocktail party featuring Swagger, Sarah Smith and Denis Gauthier performing holiday favorites.  At the London Music Hall Of Fame Ball Room.  All proceed to the London Food Bank.  Tickets through Event Bright: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-not-so-silent-night-tickets-74160924321














The London and area music community is tuning up for the biggest party of its year at the 17th annual Forest City London Music Awards Gala May 5 at the London Music Hall.












Says show producer Jen Watts: “This will be a night that unifies the community with plenty of marquee performances”.

The first music awards were handed it in 2003 at the old Club Phoenix (now Moxie’s) and the program has gained momentum and grown every year. “When we started planning this project back in 2001, we could only dream that people would look forward to this celebration — but the community has embraced this event,” says Mario Circelli, chair of FCLMA.

The 2019 gala show looks to hit new highs. Show hosts Tara Dunphy and Tom Dunphy have won quite a few FCLMA trophies themselves with The Rizdales — and the two will bring that flair to their gala performance.

Also set to perform at this year’s gala are two Class of 2019 London Music Hall of Fame inductees. Nora Galloway, first known to fans from her days at Smales Pace and Home County Folk Festival, is one. The other is iconic fiddler John P. Allen who has played with Ian Tyson, Sylvia Tyson, The Good Brothers, Dixie Flyers, Tommy Hunter and Prairie Oyster.

Local blues stars Delta Stone & The Wardogs, powered with new music and video releases, are also on the bill. After triumphing on CTV’s The Launch earlier this year, 21-year-old Londoner Saveria takes the Forest City London Music Awards gala stage for a performance slot.

The show will feature Canadian rap royalty Maestro Fresh Wes performing the hit that put Canuck Hip Hop on the map “Let Your Backbone Slide” as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the track’s release. That performance will feature support from two London Hip Hoppers Casper The Ghost and Sum-01. Adds Jen Watts, “We are reaching high and punching big.”

Forest City London Music Week 2019 is anchored by two deluxe attractions. London Music Week 2019 starts April 28 at Aeolian Hall with the FCLMA Jazz, World and Classical Awards Gala. Aeolian Hall’s Clark Bryan and Bryan Gloyd are co-hosts and the two stellar pianists are also set to perform.

“We have two galas and a galaxy of stars on hand,” says FCLMA board member James Stewart Reaney. “We ‘bookend’ our celebration of London’s music excellence with the Aeolian gala for starters and then winding up on the next Sunday at another venue that has been so good to us, the London Music Hall. As we have said since Day One: ‘London music is world-class and so are its fans.’ “

Dozens of gigs, big and small take place at venues around London before the 2019 edition of the week closes on May 5 at the London Music Hall with the 17th annual Gala.

What: Forest City London Music Awards galas — visit fclma.ca for details on the galas and Forest City London Music Week 2019. Admission to the galas is free, but donations are welcomed.
When: April 28 – Jazz, World and Classical Music Awards Gala — 7 p.m. at Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St.
May 5 – Forest City London Music Awards Gala — 7 p.m. at London Music Hall, 185 Queens Ave.

Forest City London Music Awards announces FCLMA – London Music Week April 28 to May 5

London Music Week shines the spotlight on the rich musical life of the community. It recognizes outstanding contributions, superb performance, writing and producing, and it nurtures up-and-coming talent.







London Music Week kicks off with the FCLMA Classical, Jazz, World Music Awards Gala on April 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. while the show starts at 7 p.m. at Aeolian Hall.

Throughout the week, live music is showcased at downtown venues. A professional development program is offered through SoundCheck for Success. The day includes panels, discussions, mentorship opportunities, exhibits and performances presented by FCLMA. The Battle of the High School Bands provides an opportunity for young musicians to strut their stuff and compete for a prize package that includes a professionally produced digital release.

“The FCLMA is proud to highlight musicians from our city and surrounding area,” said Mario Circelli, chair. “We believe in the strength of our music community and supporting emerging and established musicians is the right thing to do.”

FCLMA Pop Music Awards Gala May 5 at London Music Hall. Doors at 6 p.m. Show at 7 p.m. Free

The week culminates with the FCLMA Pop Music Awards Gala on Sunday, May 5. It’s a night of love, accolades and live music by nominees and winners. As well as announcing the winners in almost 20 categories, FCLMA recognizes the careers and contributions of the latest inductees to the London Music Hall of Fame.

If You Go

What: FCLMA London Music Week

When: April 28 to May 5, 2019

Where: Live performances at several downtown venues; Classical, Jazz, World Music Awards Gala at Aeolian Hall; Pop Music Awards Gala at London Music Hall

London’s Music Hall of Fame a Hidden Gem – CTV London News Story


FCLMA announces special free Juno exhibit and concert Feb. 23

Londoners have a lot to be proud of as the JUNOs arrive in town. The city is host to the biggest music awards event in the country. It is also host to past, present and future award-winning musicians – at the London Music Hall of Fame.
















  • JUNO exhibit at the London Music Hall of Fame opens Feb. 23
  • Woodshed Concert Series presents Hall of Famers Marie Bottrell, Larry Mercey Feb. 23
  • Forest City London Music Awards’ London Music Week April 28-May 5

Free exhibit of London at the JUNOs at the Music Hall of Fame

Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) invites everyone to check out the city’s prominent role in Canadian music during the JUNOs at the Hall of Fame, 182 Dundas St. – the only Canadian city-specific music hall of fame.

Also free: Woodshed Concert Series and FCLMA present a Hall of Famers performance by Canadian Country Music Hall of Famers Marie Bottrell (with guitarist Steve Piticco) and Larry Mercey. Mercey is a multiple-JUNO winner; Bottrell has eight JUNO nominations. Admission is free — but fans are encouraged to bring a donation for The Kids Mental Health Optimist Club of Canada.

“We wanted to celebrate London’s JUNO winners and nominees in a grassroots way — and are thrilled Larry and Marie can join us,” said FCLMA board member James Stewart Reaney. “They have played awards events over the years. But this is the first time they’ve been on the same bill for us.”

“We love the way the Woodshed has brought London indie, roots and community sounds to gigs since 2014. We also love their commitment to ‘Live music for great causes’ — and look forward to co-hosting more events with them,” he said.

Rena O’Halloran, committee member, added the hall shows a rich history of London’s connection to the JUNOs. “The Hall of Fame has gathered together evidence of London’s impact on the JUNOs. From JUNO statuettes to gold records, original artwork, albums and CDs, you can see it all at our special exhibit, London at the JUNOs.”

The hall itself is worth checking out. For its creative reuse of the former site of Nash Jewellers, the Hall of Fame is nominated for a London Heritage Award Feb. 21. Visitors can see the original mosaic tiled entry and rosewood display cases.

If You Go

What: Grand opening of the JUNO exhibit

When: Feb. 23, noon to 5 p.m. Woodshed Series Concert with Marie Bottrell and Larry Mercer at 2 p.m.

Where: London Music Hall of Fame, 182 Dundas St.

Canada’s Only City Specific Music Hall Of Fame Up For London Heritage Award 

These Awards are given out each year by ACO London and HLF in recognition of outstanding leadership excellence in heritage conservation across the London region. Notable past Honourees include Wes Kinghorn, Ann and David Lindsay, and Vintage London, and structures such as the London Normal School, The Unity Project, London Roundhouse, and the Clock Tower Inn in Strathroy as well as many private homes throughout the London region.











This year’s winners will be announced on the evening of Thursday, February 21st at the 12th annual Gala celebration at the historic Delta Armouries Hotel in the heart of downtown London. The ACO London Heritage Scholarship recipient and London property owners receiving heritage designation plaques will also be recognized at this event.

The Forest City London Music Awards Board of Directors congratulation all nominees and is proud our London Music Hall of Fame is among such outstanding heritage conservationists.

FCLMA Invite You To The Biggest NYE Party In Town

Janis Wallace, Special to Postmedia Network

FCLMA All Stars NYE Rehearsal


You’re invited to the biggest party in town, and it’s free.

The Start.ca New Year’s Eve in the Park takes place in Victoria Park. “There is free transportation, free skating, free music, free hot chocolate, free mittens, and free fireworks – at 9 p.m. and midnight,” said Marcus Plowright, chair of the event’s volunteer organizing committee.

Last year, in -28C temperatures, 15,000 people came out. “You couldn’t see the end of the crowd from the stage,” Plowright recalled. This year, organizers have partnered with several local sponsors to reach as many Londoners as possible. “We’ve expanded to include family hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Plowright said.

“My job is to put on a good show. I try to convince a lot of well-meaning, hard-working citizens to participate in the biggest party. We fundraise to throw this party, which is paid for by sponsors and donations, including the City, which donates the venue and a small part of the overhead.”

The New Year’s Eve bash costs about $50,000 – $100,000 to cover talent, production costs, security, lighting, heating (on stage), policing, stage management, and fireworks. The two firework shows alone account for about 20 per cent of the budget.

“It’s a big, big fireworks show that goes on a long time. It’s pretty impressive,” said Plowright. This year’s entertainment includes princesses and superheroes for the younger crowd and bands and singers that appeal to all ages and tastes.

“It’s all local talent – I’m very proud of that,” said Plowright. “We want to promote local, and it keeps the costs down and makes it relatable. We want music those 15,000 people know – various types of music and Canadian favourites from the past 40 years.”

Event manager Mario Circelli has drawn on his experience and network to line up a program of award-winning musicians.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” he said. “We’ve got some of the hottest musicians, not only in London but across the province. It’s a celebration of Canadian music. We selected crowd-pleasing tunes everyone will know.”

The entertainment will flow non-stop on two stages from 7 p.m. to midnight, starting with the Amabile Singers on the main stage, then the Magen Boys on the secondary stage. Behind it all is the 14-member Forest City London Music Awards All-Stars and the four-member Forest City London Music Awards Rap Pack of JR Fillion, Sum 1, Ashley Weisbeck and Alex Ven DJ.

Many of the performers are Forest City London Music Award recipients.

The rock duo Swagger was Fan Favourite last year and bassist Mo has been the bass player chosen for the London Music Awards fantasy band two years in a row; Swagger vocalist Darla Stratton was also last year’s fantasy band vocalist.

Asked how she’ll stay warm on New Year’s Eve, Mo said: “I’m going to run around a lot.”

Known for her energetic performances, that’s no change – but the gloves on stage will be new. She’s been practising with fingerless gloves for the cold.

Stratton is also performing with the All-Stars and bringing tea and honey to stay warm.

“We’re known for being animated,” she said. “We’ve never done a half-hour outside. I’ll do lots of warm-ups ahead.”

Guitarist Greigg Fraser is another member of the All-Stars. His five-man band Howzat’s latest release is Shatter, featuring the single Tell Me. He’s performed with or opened for many Canadian music luminaries such as Rush, Max Webster, the Spoons, Rik Emmett, Skip Prokop, Lawrence Gowan, and Downchild Blues Band.

Jazz singer Denise Pelley is in the Music Hall of Fame. She has performed with guitarist Jess Cook, blues legend Jackie Richardson, opened for Aretha Franklin and has a long list of awards, accolades and honours.

Scott Bollert, best-known as the lead singer in After the Lounge, also joins the All-Stars. “It’s the adrenaline that keeps you warm,” he said. “The crowds are amazing. Going off last year, they show enthusiasm about the great Canadian music we’re performing.”

Brent Jones is adding vocals and keyboards. He runs Quiet Earth Studios on a rural property west of London and is co-founder of Back to the Garden Music and Arts Festival. “This is my first outdoor New Year’s adventure,” he said. “I’ll be singing three songs and joining on harmony on some, playing piano on some. I think it will be fun.”

Some of the other All-Star include drummer Brad ‘Lavard’ Ondrovcik of ’63 Munroe and Twin Fin; drummer Fil Beorchia; John Brocksom, a classically trained multi-instrumentalist; vocalist Anne Moniz; Kate Channer; guitarist Paul Aitken; bassist Paul Loeffelholz; vocalist Tanya Lovell; FCLMA winner Saraina Haggarty and singer/songwriter Alan Charlebois on vocals and guitar.

The winners of the Jack FM Road to New Year’s contest MAD! will also perform.

Plowright said 29 local bands entered and four were selected for a battle of the bands in front of a seven-person panel of judges. The winning trio M.A.D. is made up of two 14-year-olds playing lead and bass guitars and a 12-year-old drummer.

“They will open the show and steal the show,” said Plowright.

For his part, Circelli just wants everyone to have a great time.

“The goal is to make it a complete celebration, fun for the whole family,” he said. “The program is accessible and enjoyable for kids of all ages. I’m passionate about local music. There is no doubt in my mind the musicians we have in the city are as good as any musicians anywhere. This showcases our vibrant music scene.”


The Road To New Year’s Eve

Love Music, Love Performing? This is your chance to be a star.


Calling local musicians to participate in the “Road to New Year’s Eve” contest organized by Jack 102.3FM. The “Road to New Year’s Eve” could be your road to playing in front of thousands of fans at London biggest and only free New Years celebration. It’s Start.ca New Year’s Eve in the Park and you could be slated to perform Monday, December 31 at Victoria Park opening for the London Music Awards Allstars.

Interested participants just need to submit an entry form including links to two of their songs by November 25. Entry form and more information available at https://www.jack1023.com/ Four semi- finalists will be selected to perform at FitzRays on Wednesday, December 5 for a panel of music industry judges. Semi-finalists will receive FitzRays gift certificates and the winner scores $500 and the opportunity to play at London’s biggest New Year’s celebration.

Start.ca New Year’s Eve in the Park is a community-driven event supported by the City of London. This free, fun and family-friendly event brings thousands of Londoners together to enjoy a magical night filled with entertainment for all ages. More to Do, More to See, More to Celebrate!

Doors Open London – The London Music Hall of Fame Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, 2018


Enjoy a curator-led tour of this facility and learn about London’s music history and Hall of Fame inductees – including Guy Lombardo, Tommy Hunter, Garth Hudson, Priscilla Wright and others.

Londoner and drummer Graham Lear (FCLMA Hall of Fame 2018) played with some of the worlds biggest bands; Santana, REO Speedwagon, Gino Vannelli and Paul Anka. Check out his personal road gear.

Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Doors Open London (DOL) is the City of London’s largest collective celebration of history, heritage and culture. In its 17th year, DOL is one of the longest-running community celebrations in Ontario. This year’s event will be themed on History comes alive in London. Come and explore and learn about London’s heritage and hidden gems through re-enactments, live theatre, pop-up interactive plays or other interactive performances.

This unique two-day event is designed for visitors to discover the city, ask questions and reflect as they travel to London’s meaningful places. Sites will be open for exploration free of charge for local residents and visitors. This annual event has become widely recognized as a weekend of communal gathering, celebration and recognition for London’s heritage sector – featuring hands-on interactive activities that invite the public to participate behind the scenes.


Rolling Out The Red Carpet For Cash Writer Chadwick & Filmmaker Holiff


Acclaimed author Julie Chadwick has a London Music Week date. Chadwick shares tales from The Man Who Carried Cash (Dundurn Press). It’s the inside account of the drama that unfolded as the late Londoner Saul Holiff managed troubled country music superstar Johnny Cash from 1960 – 1973.

Holiff not only “carried Cash” during those tumultuous years, he was the man who brought Johnny and June Carter together. Julie Chadwick is at Brown & Dickson on Saturday, April 14, at noon.

“I was surprised by two things — one, by the depth and intimacy of how they interacted at times; when they worked well together they were so complementary that their partnership was a dream, and led to incredible highs and successes,” Chadwick says in a LondonFuse story about her book. “But independently, they were powerful figures with their own ideas and direction, and when they clashed it was intense and sometimes ugly.

“Secondly, I was impressed by Saul’s sense of vision. In his own business earlier on and with Johnny, he was consistently thinking outside the box.”

Later on Saturday, Chadwick is at a screening of Jonathan Holiff’s My Father & The Man In Black at the Jack Richardson Ballroom followed by a Q&A. It’s a fundraiser for London Music Hall Of Fame.

LMW 2018 winds up Sunday, April 15, with a 7 p.m. gala at the London Music Hall.

And … Saturday, April 14 @ 7:00pm
182 Dundas Street
London, Ontario
Tickets: $20

Special Hometown Screening of “My Father and The Man In Black”
The only inside look at the legendary Johnny Cash, as seen through the eyes of his longtime manager, Londoner Saul Holiff—the man who put Johnny together with June. Hosted by filmmaker Jonathan Holiff, this event is a fundraiser for The Jack Richardson Music Hall of Fame.













London Jazz, Classical and World Musicians Honoured

The Jazz and Classical Music Awards gala was held at Aeolian Hall, where a full house enjoyed several performances by bass-baritone singer Chad Louwerse, Eagle Flight Singers, Laurraine Sigouin, the Mark Swan Quintet and Pride Men’s Chorus London.


The gala was hosted by Aeolian Hall founder Clark Bryan and his husband Bryan Gloyd.

“The talent in this city holds up to anything in Canada” – Mario Circelli

Bryan was elated that his El Sistema Aeolian, which he directs, won the award for Classical Instrumental (Group).

“One of the things we always forget is just how much talent and drive we have in our musicians and London has a lot to celebrate,” said Bryan.

“The only reason I stay at this work is because of that (El Sistema) program.”

Bryan founded El Sistema in 2011, the free, intensive after-school music program based on a program founded in Venezuela in 1975 by conductor José Antonio Abreu, who died last week. There is also a program for adults.

Among the other winners was the Indigenous group, Eagle Flight Singers, who took home the award for world music, and cellist Christine Newland, who took home the classical instrumental solo award. Newland has become a popular musician in the city, often appearing on stage and on recordings for local artists, including rocker Sarah Smith, nominated in the rock category.

Eagle Flight Singers

Mario Circelli, the awards founder, was pleased with the results and looking ahead to the gala for pop and rock and inductions into the London Music Hall of Fame Sunday at London Music Hall.

“The talent in this city holds up to anything in Canada,” said Circelli, a former musician and now a record and video producer.

“People should know about it. Next Sunday is going to be a blast, but the real word to use to describe this whole week is ‘celebration.’”

Other winners of the Jazz and Classical Awards are:
Pride Men’s Chorus London, classical vocal (choir or group); Nicole Tan, classical vocal (solo); 5PGB (Five Piece Groove Band), jazz instrumental (solo or group); and, Hilary Welch, jazz vocal (solo or group).

London Music Week continues Monday at 7 p.m., with Women of London Music, featuring Emm Gryner, Megan Schroder, Camie and Jenn Rayna, at The Angry Goat Public House, 855 Wellington Rd. South. Admission is free.

The FCLMA also operates the London Music Hall Of Fame at 182 Dundas St., London, where the contributions of more than 20 inductees are celebrated.

London Free Press

LMA 2018 Invites Media & Public To London Music Week

The London Music Awards has a score and more of events lined up for London Music Week April 8-15.


The official opening show is the jazz & classical awards gala on Sunday

April 8 at 7 p.m. More awards and London Music Hall Of Fame inductions take centre stage at the closing gala at the London Music Hall on April 15 at 7 p.m.

But the first sounds of LMW 2018 are heard on the afternoon of Friday April 6 at the Hall Of Fame. The Hall celebrates the big week with extra days open and extended hours. The public and media is invited to join in.

Spicing Friday’s open Hall is a live broadcast by CHRW 94.9 Radio Western’s DJ Mediafrenzy (2 p.m.) and Dave (whatwave) O’Halloran (4 p.m.) from the adjoining Rosewood Lounge.

“Playing a whole set of local tunes, DJ Mediafrenzy invites you to come by, visit the music museum (Hall Of Fame), chat about bands and celebrate the amazing local music talent in this city,” the DJ (Melissa Parrott off-stage) says on her Facebook page.

DJ Mediafrenzy

“Directly after, Radio What Wave (helmed by FCLMA steering committee member O’Halloran) takes over for another two hours of local goodness.”

The weekend launch for LMW 2018 continues on Saturday at the Hall in the afternoon and at the Eastside Bar & Grill when JRLMA award-winners Full Petty Fever have a night-time gig.

Then, the Aeolian Hall gala marks the official opening of LMW 2018. The Eagle Flight Singers. Pride Men’s Chorus, Laurraine Sigouin and Chad Louwerse share the stage. The Aeolian’s executive and artistic director Clark Bryan and its jazz programming curator Bryan Gloyd are co-hosts. The gala is free with admission via an EventBrite “ticket.”

Hall of Fame, 2018 Inductees & Other Honours Announced

The London Music Awards has unveiled its three 2018 Inductees to its Hall of Fame and two LifeTime Achievement recipients in addition to announcing the hosts for the 2018 LMA Awards show April 15 at the London Music Hall.


Who comprises the London Music Hall Of Fame’s Class Of 2018? Acclaimed drummer Graham Lear; the late Gordie Tapp, a TV star on many country-music themed shows; and London rocker Doug Varty. Their excellence will be represented alongside more than two dozen peers from London music over the decades in the Hall Of Fame, 182 Dundas St.

Also being honoured: Longtime London promoter Nick Panaseiko is to receive a FCLMA Lifetime Achievement Award. He joins the late Saul Holiff, announced earlier as a 2018 Lifetime Achievement honouree, as a recipient. The three Hall Of Fame inductees and two Lifetime Achievement honourees will be formally recognized during London Music Week 2018, which goes April 8-15.

Hosting this year’s Gala Awards show are rising stars Julia Haggarty and Chad Price

The FCLMA also operates the London Music Hall Of Fame at 182 Dundas St., London, where the contributions of more than 20 inductees are celebrated.

Graham Lear

Doug Varty

Gordie Tapp

Directors Honours Londoner Saul Holiff with 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award 

The London Music Awards is honoured to announce Saul Holiff as a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.


The Lifetime Achievement award is presented to an individual who has been an outstanding contributor to the London and area music community over many years. The FCLMA board of directors grants this distinction to thank such people and inspire others to make an impact on the community.

Saul Holiff certainly made an impact. As the manager of U.S. country superstar Johnny Cash from 1960-1973, Holiff helped shape the future of the modern Canadian music industry. He managed the careers of many Canadian artists, including Tommy Hunter and Debbie Lori Kaye — and made London a music business city in the 1960s.

Holiff was among the first to bring live Rock ‘n’ Roll to Canadian audiences, including Bill Haley and His Comets; The Everly Brothers; Buddy Holly; Chuck Berry; and, Jerry Lee Lewis. He also promoted country acts, including Marty Robbins; Kitty Wells; Jimmy Rodgers, Faron Young; and, Johnny Cash (starting in 1958).

In his autobiography, CASH, the singer said: “It was Saul who pushed me to take my show, and my career, to another level. I was perfectly happy where I was, doing what I loved to do and getting paid for it but, after I got to know Saul, I started liking his ideas. Instead of just ballrooms and dance halls, Saul said I should be aiming at Europe, the Orient, and big places in big cities. And that was just the beginning.”

The first Lifetime Achievement Award honouring Londoners who have made an outstanding commitment to music was handed out by a LMA forerunner in 2003. 

Holiff will be honoured at the Awards Gala April 15, part of the 2018 Jack Richardson London Music Week, April 8-15.

The Forest City London Music Awards

The not-for-profit Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) is a regional music incubator to preserve the rich music history of our region, celebrate the music makers of today and encourage a new generation of musicians.









The FCLMA also operates the Jack Richardson Music Hall Of Fame at 182 Dundas St., London, where the contributions of more than 20 inductees are celebrated.

Creating a February Fever – Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever February 22, 2018

The London Music Awards (FCLMA) will be heating up February by making it hotter than a pepper sprout. If that sounds like the words to Jackson — the signature song of country superstars June Carter and Johnny Cash — it should. The awards program is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cash’s on-stage proposal to Carter on Feb. 22, 1968 at the old London Gardens with a country music gala 50 years to the day after it happened.


February 22, 2018 at the London Music Hall, LMA presents – Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever – A 50th Anniversary Celebration of that Magical Night at the London Gardens, February 22, 1968

Tickets https://www.londonmusichall.com/events/

Guests of honour include W.S “Fluke” Holland, Cash’s drummer who was behind the kit at the iconic 1968 London Gardens show and Tommy Cash, Johnny’s younger brother. JRLMA winners The Marrieds perform a tribute to Johnny and June with guest appearances by Holland and Cash.

 Proud supporter of Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever

What you need to know:

More London musicians will be joining the show and other guests who know the Cash-Carter-London story will be here on Feb. 22 or during Jack Richardson London Music Week 2018 (April 8-15).

Filmmaker Jonathan Holiff and author Julie Chadwick will be here on April 15 as London and the FCLMA continue to celebrate that hot February night.


  • Drummer WS “Fluke” Holland is known around the world as a pioneer

of Rockabilly, Country, Folk and Rock & Roll. His driving “train-like” rhythms and innovative shuffles are distinctively present on dozens of icon-hit records including, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, I walk the Line. Boy Named Sue and dozens of other recording by Johnny Cash and The Tennessee3. WS was behind the kit for Cash’s band for the magical night February 22, 1968 at the London Gardens.

  • Tommy Cash is the younger brother of Country music icon Johnny Cash. He is an accomplished musician himself. After serving in the Army Tommy played with Hank Williams Jr.. Through his career Tommy scored a number of Billboard hits. In 1969 he delivered his biggest hit, a tune dedicated to JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King entitled, “Six White Horses.” Tommy continues to tour, is a motivational speaker and the voice behind dozens of television commercials.
  • Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul … the late Londoner Saul Holiff managed Johnny Cash through the 1960s before parting ways on the Londoner’s terms in 1973.
  • It was Saul Holiff who brought June Carter into the Cash touring family in 1961. As the tours continued, Cash and Carter — who were married to others — fell in love.
  • June Carter had been married twice, had two children, and had toured for years with her mother, Maybelle, who was part of the original Carter Family, country music pioneers in the 1920s.
  • In the early 1960s, June Carter co-wrote Ring of Fire with fellow songwriter Merle Kilgore. Ring Of Fire was about her relationship with Johnny Cash. In 1963, Johnny recorded the song with the Carter Family singing backup, and added horns. The song became a No.1 hit.
  • The on-stage proposal came a few years later. Holiff recalled that the country superstar, deeply in love with Carter, kept his plans to propose on stage a secret. Cash kept hinting something big was forthcoming before popping the question on Feb. 22, 1968. Making the proposal on-stage at the London Gardens in Holiff’s hometown was a nod to Holiff’s support of Cash through the Cash-caused disasters of earlier days.
  • That night, Carter initially tried frantically to brush off the invitation. She shot back “sing a song, John” and tried to lead the band into the next number on the setlist. Cash stoically waited for an an answer. There were cries of “say yes” from the audience, Carter did accept the proposal. But her “yes” must have been quiet. “They were all a dither for a moment or two, and I don’t think she answered him, or at least not so that we all could hear,” former London-area journalist Ralph Willsey recounted in a story for the Ottawa Citizen in 1998.
  • The made-in-London wedding proposal eventually led to one movie with Oscar buzz, an excellent documentary film and a fine book,
  • The proposal became a big moment in 2005’s hit biopic Walk The Line, Joaquin Phoenix was Cash. Reese Witherspoon was Carter — and won an Oscar.
  • But the location for the proposal was given as “Ontario, Canada” and the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in Memphis provided the fictionalized setting. The 1960s’ hockey barn and London where it really happened were not on screen.
  • Much worse, Walk The Line left Saul Holiff out of the story. That odd and hurtful omission helped inspire another film. Setting the record straight is Jonathan Holiff’s terrific documentary film My Father And The Man In Black. London-born Jonathan is the son of Saul Holiff.
  • In turn, B.C. author Julie Chadwick was inspired by Jonathan Holiff’s moving film to write The Man Who Carried Cash about the Londoner and the country superstar — and June Carter — teaming to conquer the entertainment world.
  • One last Cash and London note. — Londoners will remember the ATM connection to the Man in Black.
    “How many times have you been caught short, and the only thing between you and your money is the clock … you know, Canada Trust has a better idea,” the musician told Canadian TV audiences in a 1985 commercial announcing the rollout of the London-based Canada Trust’s  line of automatic “JohnnyCash” machines.
  • June Carter and Johnny Cash died months apart in 2003. Saul Holiff died in 2005.
    • — With files from London Free Press, Postmedia News, Wikipedia, The Guardian

For more information contact James Stewart Reaney 226-268-7063, Scott Bollert 519-494-5518