Last year, the Cleveland music scene lost a couple of its most historically significant players: Steve Popovich, founder of Cleveland International Records and all-around Cleveland music cheerleader, and former Plain Dealer rock reporter Jane Scott. Popovich had been a constant presence at the Beachland Ballroom, and his sudden and unexpected passing started Beachland owner Cindy Barber thinking about how to preserve the legacy of Cleveland’s musical past — and to fuel its present and future.
The result is the just-unveiled nonprofit, Cleveland Rocks: Past Present and Future, which will launch with a benefit event on Wednesday, September 26 featuring Ian Hunter, who plays the Beachland Ballroom the following night. The two-part event starts with a 7 p.m. Q & A with Hunter at the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater with vice president of education and public programs Lauren Onkey. She’ll interview Hunter, the author of the iconic tune “Cleveland Rocks,’ about his relationship with this city and with Popovich.
It then moves over to Ohio City’s Crop Bistro from 9- 11 p.m. for a reception with Hunter and his wife Trudi that will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and Cleveland rock and roll memorabilia. It’s being supported by Cleveland Food Rocks. The intimate event is limited to 100 tickets. The price, $200, will fund the launch of Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present and Future. You can order tickets at the website or through the Beachland Ballroom.
The nonprofit’s mission statement says that it aims to “support and preserve Cleveland's popular music culture and enrich local social welfare and economic growth by stimulating music-centered initiatives.” It’s divided that mission into four parts: the Legacy Project, which will work to create oral histories, documentaries, and books about Cleveland’s music scene and it significant contributors; Cleveland Rocks Now, which will promote the current music scene and help provide its players with resources, Music Saves the Future, to connect businesses, customers and investors to grow the music community economically, and Keep It Live, to create performing opportunities and grow the audience for live music.
The organization's founding board is Nick Amster, Cindy Barber, Al Kaston, Colleen Miller, Ravenna Miceli, and David Spero.