Halls of fame have etched the names of influential figures on their walls, placing notoriety and accomplishments on an eternal altar. There’s a hall of fame for football, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and even the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What about locally? In 2017, Marquette’s musical community saw a need to create a hall of fame for local entertainers and honor Marquette’s musical history. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame inducts Marquette musicians plus musical entities and promoters.
“I did it because if we didn’t get down some of those facts and history, they would be lost,” said Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame founder Cindy Engle. “Right now, if you ask somebody about a venue like The Diamond Club or The Brockton, they have no idea what you’re talking about because those buildings have become other things or are gone.”
The Marquette Music Scene (MMS) is under the umbrella of non-profit organization MÄTI, the Masonic Arts, Theatre, and Innovation Company, which promotes artistic innovation in Marquette. Currently, there are fifty-seven members in the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame. Anyone can nominate an individual, group, ensemble, institute, event or venue. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame even inducts musical talents posthumously, making sure their legacy lives on.
A nomination form is available on the Marquette Music Scene website,marquettemusicscene.com. Qualified nominees must be born, raised, or founded in Marquette County, and may represent any music genre or be associated with a music-related vocation from Marquette County’s historical eras.
“It’s a great honor being picked for something like that because you’re chosen by your peers.
We feel strongly about our musical community. It means a lot,” said Dave Zeigner, a 2017 inductee. He plays Latin jazz and blues with the guitar, bass and piano for enjoyment and composing music. He has also played Latin jazz, Afro-Brazilian music, rock, and performed in a symphony.
Zeigner described the ceremony as similar to being at the Grammys or Oscars. There were many guests, people gave speeches, a couple of bands played, and a jam session ensued.
“A good amount of music is going on in our community, and shining a light on that and the people that created it is important,” said Zeigner. “[The Marquette Music Scene] puts in a lot of work to do it every year. My hat’s off to them….. They shine a light on our community and hopefully pique interest in our musical history founder—not just in the county, but the whole UP.”
Judging criteria is based on three categories: impact, influence, and reach.
The inductee must have had a remarkable effect on developing Marquette County’s musical heritage. The inductees are the backbone of music in Marquette through their musical art, teaching Marquette the technique and joy of music, or taking bands and musicians under their wings to promote their voice and manage their growth.
Inductees have a renowned artistic force, compelling their network of fellow musicians to be inspired by their voice or sound. Marquette music fanatics and connoisseurs, even the community at large, are moved by their work.
Also, the musician’s reach must go beyond the boundaries of Marquette’s county lines—their contributions to the music world must be recognized across regions, the nation, and even across the globe.
Cindy Engle is the sole judge for the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame, but does have Andrew “Bear” Tyler, a business consultant and marketer, assist. A board of directors for the Marquette Music Hall of Fame is in the process of being established.
Engle conducts an intensive and thorough review of nominees’ applications.
She encourages including any letters of recommendation, awards, multi-media, compositions, discography, or other career highlight documentation. Nominees’ activities in the community, technical innovations, musical teaching experience, and much more are also considered.
Additional awards are gifted to approved nominees. For example, the Music Mafia is an annual award granted to a local business owner or venue operator that has helped the music in Marquette thrive the previous year.
“Renee Prusi at The Mining Journal does all sorts of local music write-ups and stories,” said Engle. “Most of the other Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame inductees have been bar owners that have kept playing music and promoting live music as much as possible.”
As the title suggests, the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame awards Rising Stars to bands formed in the last five years who have heavily influenced the local music scene. The award tells the public and music community to keep an eye out for these rising musicians.
The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held every year on Small Business Saturday in the Upper Peninsula Masonic Center’s Red Room.
The decision to hold the ceremony then ensures everyone can participate.
“It enables more band members to come and share [their music and time] with the new inductees,” said Engle. “I try not to be in competition with the other venues when they have big events because we all need each other. I don’t want to take away from someone going to see a band at a bar, so if I can pick a weekend when there are not too many places holding live music, that makes it better for everybody.”
Each inductee speaks to the audience about themselves and receives a trophy that acknowledges musical accomplishments. The Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame will also display inductees’ names on a wall with those of past nominees.
There are hopes to build a showcase where the Marquette Music Scene Hall of Fame can display memorabilia. The 2022 induction ceremony will be at 6:00 p.m. on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in the Red Room of the Masonic Building in downtown Marquette. All are welcome to join and celebrate Marquette’s musical best.
Julia Seitz is a Northern Michigan University student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. You’ll find her either writing creative fiction or researching a new fixation. She enjoys reading scary stories, but is too scared to watch horror movies.
Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.