The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published June 30, 1997


Vocal Hall of Fame almost reality

PHOTO Jean Angelo/Herald
Richard McDonald of Sharon paints the trim in the front window of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. The museum should be ready to open this summer in the former Willson's Furniture building at 98 E. State St., Sharon. Plans call for exhibits eventually to be housed in several nearby downtown buildings.

With each passing day, the evolution of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum is becoming more evident.

Workers have completed the awning above the walkway, and the skeleton for the canopy that will welcome visitors is done.

Linda Stewart-Savach, director of museum development, said the lobby, which will feature a larger-than-life video jukebox, is being started. Workers are finishing the interior construction, she added.

The vocal museum _ the dream of The Lettermen's leader, Tony Butala _ is being turned into a reality by James E. Winner Jr. It should be ready to open this summer.

The first floor will be dedicated to educating visitors about vocal music. A time line dating to the 1800s will put some of the better-known groups into context with societal events.

Other exhibits will explain harmony and define other musical terms. The bulk of the group memorabilia exhibits will be housed on the second floor.

The third floor will be the ``Gallery of Greats'' honoring the Hall of Fame inductees.

The first in a series of concerts sponsored by the museum is planned for July 19. The show will feature The Four Freshmen.

This is only the first step in creating an atmosphere.

Winner plans to put barbershop and gospel Hall of Fame Museums in the former Whitmer Smith building across the street and the former Shontz and Myers building a block away on Vine Avenue.

Statues will adorn the street corners and the streets will be filled with music, according to Winner's plan.

``As they go toward the Hall of Fame, I want them to hear the music they will be experiencing when they get inside,'' Winner said. ``We'll be creating a mood.''

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