The new director's strategy is to make the hall of fame come alive.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
SHARON, Pa. -- Mary Wilson of the Supremes will sign autographs beginning at noon Saturday at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame & amp; Museum, 98 E. State St., as one of a series of celebrities who will be appearing there.
She will be visiting the hall of fame a few hours before her scheduled performance at 8 p.m. Saturday at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown in a Monday Musical Club program, where tickets range from $19 to $28. The Supremes were among the first inductees into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
Bob Crosby, hall of fame director since February, said he will be scheduling periodic appearances by nationally and internationally famous performers at the hall when they are in the area to perform in Youngstown, Cleveland or Pittsburgh.
"It's their headquarters. It's their clubhouse. This is about giving this nonprofit organization back to the artists and the people," Crosby said of the guest performer appearances. Other well-known artists have made commitments to appear at the hall in the coming weeks, Crosby said, declining to name them.
"There's an effort to bring this to the attention of the artists and the people, not only here in Sharon, but on a national level. This is a headquarters for vocal groups all over the world," he said. "The collections (of memorabilia) don't mean nearly as much unless you have the artists' spirit here in the same building," he observed.
Donny Osmond's appearance
Singer Donny Osmond appeared at the hall April 23 to announce this year's inductees, a day before he gave a performance at Powers Auditorium in Youngstown.
"Mary Wilson and the Supremes and all the other acts that are here -- these are gold hit songs that will live on forever," Crosby said. "We're trying to preserve it and promote it and bring it to the people," he said of all-time hit vocal music.
The hall of fame's experiments with free and reduced admission in recent weeks have worked well, Crosby said, observing that the hall recorded more than 1,600 visitors during the past two weekends when admission was free. Such large numbers of visitors give the hall a favorable word-of-mouth reputation that can spread almost without limits, he said.
This week, admission to the hall's main building will be free from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission to the barbershop music building will be free from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This weekend, the suggested donation at the exit of the main building between noon and 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, will be $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for students.
Possible live broadcasts
Crosby said he is discussing with radio stations the possibility of live broadcasts from the hall.
Crosby added that one of his long-term goals is to conduct annual hall of fame induction ceremonies and performances in the Columbia Theatre in downtown Sharon when it can be made ready to accommodate such events, using gate revenues to further improve the theater.