Though not the best-known hall of fame in the land, the talent within the Oregon Music Hall of Fame (OMHOF) and the organization's commitment to a greater cause—music education—are hardly matched. This year's induction ceremony was no exception, with three rock-solid industry performances (by Monti Amundson, Ural Thomas & the Pain and The Kingsmen), a raffle and auction of signed guitars and, as is tradition, a dance party to "Louie Louie," the song that arguably put Oregon on the rock and roll map over 50 years ago.
Terry Currier, a co-founder of OMHOF, started things off with a recap of the last year: OMHOF, along with rock violinist Aaron Meyer, hosted music education assemblies at schools around the state, presenting to over 5000 K-8 students at schools without music programs. Additionally, Currier reminded those in attendance how easy it is to support this organization: Annual memberships, donations and attending events are just some of the ways you can contribute.
After a break in 2017, regular OMHOF emcee Tony Starlight resumed his duties this year, coming in hot with a bit about TV theme songs reimagined by the likes of The Cure, Green Day and Morrissey. The impressions and schtick would continue throughout the night: He later gave a pretty feasible impression of Stone Temple Pilots branching into children's lit adaptations, "Sex Type Thing" transformed into a grungy refusal of eggs and ham past their prime.
There was some speculation regarding whether this year's Band of the Year and Album of the Year honorees, Portugal. The Man, would make it to the ceremony. If you consider OMHOF's mission, though, why wouldn't they have been there? "It's all about the youth," bassist Zach Carothers said in one of the band's two speeches. And the group has shown their commitment to young people again and again: They were honored in part because of their role in the March For Our Lives rally, and during intermission, John Gourley was busy stuffing the guitar raffle box, the proceeds of which fund music scholarships for students around the state.
The band also took the time to shout out 2018 inductee Ural Thomas (who opened for them at Edgefield this summer—see photos here). Thomas for his own part gave arguably the best performance of the night, showcasing his smooth moves, twinkling eyes and undeniable, frequently proclaimed love for people. Thomas' quick footwork often steals the show when he and The Pain perform, and the fact that he's nearly 80 certainly adds a dimension.
Established artists weren't the only ones to give outstanding performances, though: In order to best showcase the benefits of OMHOF's philanthropy, three of Aaron Meyer's students, a trio of violinist siblings aged 9 through 15, took the stage to offer a rock-styled "Perpetual Motion" (from the educational standard Suzuki books) in addition to an original composition. Though they were a little hard to see over the guitars at the edge of the stage, the young performers more than made up for it with their tone and togetherness. Put simply, the benefits of even a few Skype lessons were evident, and the mission of OMHOF supported. —Katey Trnka