After three years of looking for a permanent home for the Fox Valley Music Foundation, we have found a place to hang our hats and coats. We looked near and far, from Elgin, to the north, and Aurora to the south, and all points in-between.
As fate would have it, Aurora turned out to be the place. Perhaps it can be thought of as being appropriate since the impetus for the formation of the Foundation was founded in the knowledge and love of the Bluebird recordings that took place in downtown Aurora during 1937 and 1938.
The historic recordings were the match that lit the fire that lead to the formation of the Fox Valley Blues Society in the mid 1990’s. The Fox Valley Blues Society begat the Blues on the Fox festival, which was an huge factor in the development of the valley’s premier outdoor music venue named RiverEdge Park located just north of downtown Aurora. The Blues on the Fox festival was a playground for the members of the Foundation before the Foundation became a Foundation!
Since our formation in 2014, we have “helped” with the music part of the Blues on the Fox festival and have worked with Batavia MainStreet and Water Street Studios in the creation of another blues festival called the Blues & Roots on Water Street festival. We have sponsored Singer/Songwriter Workshops and have conducted seminars and lectures at Fox Valley area libraries and Fermilab in Batavia.
The Foundation is in the beginning stages of developing a Music Education program that includes, in part, a Living Music History Video project and the creation of a Fox Valley Music Encyclopedia to be distributed on line, for all to see, and by way of hard copy formats to educational institutions.
All of this has transpired within the last couple of years while working out of the back seat and trunk of the Foundation’s Pink Cadillac (it’s a figure of speech). However, that is soon to be a thing of the past as we have finally found a home.
The Foundation’s headquarters will be located at 19-21 South Broadway in Aurora. The building is south of Galena and just north of Downer and adjacent to Mundy Park. At one time, it was known as the Woolworth building.
As of this moment, we don’t have a name for the place. We’re working on that. But what we do know is that, in addition to being our administrative headquarters, the location will also serve as a 250 seat music venue with a small area dedicated to music retail and the entire space having a museum quality and vibe to it as well.
Our target date for opening is September 1, 2018. There’s a lot of work to be done to properly open up our doors. Interior demotion … build-out … stage … lighting … sound system … remodeling of the bathrooms and the “lunchroom” area … liquor license … electrical … painting … flooring … the list goes on.
Money has to be raised to help defray some of the costs. Music schedules have to be put together. We need to go to “music school” to learn how to run live music events. We also have to go the “movie school” to learn how to video tape, edit and produce those events. It’s mind boggling when we stop to think about everything that needs to be done (as in yesterday)!
Nevertheless, we are excited about our future and what tomorrow may bring. Hope that you hop on board that northbound train and join us in our journey. And just to whet the whistle, we’ve included some artist renditions of what the space may look like when she’s finished. Check it out and let us know what you think. Hit us up on Facebook and give us a shout out. And, by all means, like us if you would!
Imagine Summer in the City … thousands of people wandering about checking out the goings on at Culture Stock and the Plaza of North Island … hundreds are gathering in RiverEdge Park before an mid-evening McCartney show and heading towards downtown Aurora along the River Walk to check out the musicians performing at the Music Foundation’s outdoor stage situated within Mundy Park. Food vendors and street artists abound … music in the air … the sun glistening on the waters of the Fox River … love is in the air and peace permeates the Fox River Valley. It’s a perfect picture!
Dateline February 25, 2018
So … the fun begins … the City of Aurora has allowed us to get into the space and do some nosing around, and to begin a little bit of demo’ing that will “officially” take place March 6 thru March 11. However, some of us couldn’t wait to get our hands on that drop ceiling and a sledge hammer and we did a little “advance” demo work. The following pictures will give you just a hint of what we’re up against during Demotion Week. After we’re done, the City will come back in and do some more of what they need to do and then we’ll be set to start the build-out, hopefully beginning around the first of April.
If you are interested in giving us a hand with the demo, check out the Facebook Event (coming soon) for the “demo party” for details on how to get involved.
Dateline March 15, 2018
Demo for The Venue began in earnest on Sunday, March 4, when Don, Dave and Steve and finished removing the ceiling tile that Bill and Steve tore into a couple of weeks prior. Dave and Don also made a huge dent in the carpet removal part of the project.
On Wednesday, March 7, a bunch of old farts (average age pushing 65), and led by their fearless leader, Dennis Kintop, began knocking down walls and creating a mess that only a great group of friends and family could help to get rid of when all was said and done.
The Over The Hill Gang pushed the envelope for the next two days as well, and by Friday afternoon, every wall, every ceiling tile, and most every piece of flooring had been removed. In fact, two of the four dumpsters were also full of the crap that the OTHG had created.
Dennis was shocked, to say the least … he had no idea that the old men had that much left in the tank!
Here’s some random pics from the three days of demo, and the Saturday clean up, courtesy of Steve Wick and Susan May Romano.