Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.
Jeffrey James is ready to take the Long Island Music Hall of Fame into a new era.
The Farmingdale-based fine arts consultant was named new chairman of the Hall of Fame last month, replacing co-founder Jim Faith, who stepped down to focus more on his family and concert production business, which includes the Great South Bay Music Festival. "We wouldn't be where we are without Jim," James says. "But I understood what he meant when he said it was time to step down."
It will be up to James, along with co-founder and vice chairman Norm Prusslin, to lead the new effort to open the Hall of Fame's doors in Port Jefferson, and he hopes the group will be able to raise enough money to accomplish it by early next year.
"The main goal is getting the building open," James says. "We want to update the website and work on some programs, but creating the physical museum is the top priority."
James admits it will be harder to raise the $2 million the group needs for the museum with so many focusing on aid for those looking to rebuild after superstorm Sandy on Long Island. However, he said he believes the Hall of Fame should be able to rally musicians and music fans to get the job done.
"We've already been able to accomplish extraordinary things," James says, pointing to the group's four successful galas that have inducted many of Long Island's most important musical artists, from Billy Joel to Public Enemy, from Harry Chapin to Joan Jett.
"The level of dedication we've seen is amazing," he adds. "We're going to get it done."
Contact The Long Island Sound at glenn.gamboa@ newsday.com or follow @ndmusic on Twitter.