CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Music Hall of Fame member John Ellison performs at the West Virginia Museum of Music open house Saturday, June 12, 2021.
The man who wrote the song “Some Kind of Wonderful” said the museum can inspire other Mountain State musicians.
“As I always say I’m West Virginian to the bone. I’m honored to be a part of all this,” Ellison said.
Saturday’s performers also include West Virginia Music Hall of Fame members Larry Groce and Bob Thompson, singer/songwriter Mike Pushkin, and others.
Workers have spent the past couple of months transforming the former bookstore to add the Museum of Music to the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, which is located across the hall on the mall’s second floor.
Hall of Fame founder Michael Lipton said the Hall will now feature both current and future inductees while the museum has a broader scope.
“We have this gear that you see here and there’s also, it gives us kind of the opportunity to showcase a lot of single artists,” Lipton said.
“He’s really bringing recognition to the artists here in West Virginia which otherwise would never be known,” said Ellison.
You’ll find a lot of vintage instruments and memorabilia inside this museum. Most of that stuff was donated by musicians or the musicians’ families.
The museum houses guitars and classic concert posters, old amplifiers, organs and keyboards, and vintage recording equipment.
“From wax disks to a wire recorder to reel-to-reel cassettes,” Lipton explained.
Ellison donated this African robe which he wore for many performances in the 1980s and 90s.
“I wore it in the south of France when I performed at the Nice Jazz Festival, I’ve worn it in Switzerland, I’ve worn it in Italy,” he said.
The family of Charleston musician Ivor Sheff, who recently passed away, donated his PA system and other equipment.
The 10 by 20-foot stage will be called the Ivor Sheff Stage.
And the late McDonald Cary’s family donated his Hammond organs.
Lipton has also met with the Charleston Town Center’s new owner and says they’re committed to the museum project.
Lipton says a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council helped make the museum possible. It will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Saturdays’ event runs from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., with the musical performances from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.