Joey Hollingsworth is famed as a dancer, singer, writer and actor. During his stellar career, he has represented Canada internationally and lent his talents to support Martin Luther King’s message during the U.S. Civil Rights movement at events with Harry Belafonte and the late Brock Peters from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. He made his debut on the CBC in the 1950s with the show Pick The Stars and later appeared on Razzle Dazzle and co-starred on Portrait with French-Canadian performer Joel Denis (as the first black Canadian and French Canadian respectively to co-star on CBC). Joey was the first black Canadian to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was also a frequent guest appearing in over 48 episodes during the 1960s and1970s on Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood / Mister Rogers Show as the Dancing Salesman where his tap dancing shoes became famous. Living with his adoptive parents on Simcoe Street, Joey started tap dancing lessons as a young child. In 1946, while he was a pupil at Aberdeen Public School, he met and danced with the legendary Bill “Bojangles” Robinson at a London show. London fans remember him dancing on the cafeteria tables at Beal secondary school as a teenager or for the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau during an election campaign.
With a name that caused some radio deejays a bit of concern, Uranus formed in their hometown of London, Ontario in 1977. They bucked the current trends of arena rock and disco, preferring instead to play rock'n'roll and rockabilly, packing their favourite venues. After a slow start with their debut record in 1978, they signed with Trilogy Records in Toronto a year later, before releasing You're So Square in 1980. On the strength of this single, the band hit the road for a highly successful Western Canada tour during which they ended up performing on CBC Television. Twice! They convinced the owners of the Blue Boot Hotel (through beer sales alone) to open their doors to the up-and-coming punk scene that was forming. They paved the way for bands like the Demics, the Regulators, and the Zellots who now have a new-wave / punk appropriate home in the Cedar Lounge. A second single, ‘The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle’ was released, and an Eastern Canada/European tour was in the works. The band though, decided to pack it in at the height of their fame. All the members of Uranus are still active in the local music scene to this day.
Gerald and Marlene Fagan have been a musical force in London for over 50 years. Both dedicated music professionals, their work with choirs has made an incredible impact in London and beyond. They met at the University of Western Ontario's Music School in the late 1950s and married in 1961. In the 1960s and '70s Gerald taught music in London, Ottawa, and Listowel, while Marlene raised their family of 5 children. Nevertheless, she always kept her hand in music, leading church choirs and accompanying for Gerald when her schedule allowed. Back in London permanently by 1978, Gerald became Coordinator of Continuing Education at Fanshawe College and built the Fanshawe Chorus, the Gerald Fagan Singers, and the Concert Players Orchestra. Over the next 34 years, they would even tour internationally. Gerald has been invited to judge at the Junos and CBC competitions, conducted for choirs across the country, and was even named a member of the Order of Canada in 2016. He retired from Fanshawe in 2012 and he is now Artistic Director of the Bach Music Festival of Canada and director of London's newest chamber choir, Chor Amica. Gerry acknowledges Marlene's role in collaboration. As a skilled manager, Marlene organized every detail of the Fanshawe College Chorus activities from space rental to finances with regular accompaniment on the piano. Marlene also found time in the late 1980s and early 1990s to run a talent agency, EML International Artists Management.
James Stewart Reaney covered everything from operas to Neil Young concerts in more than 30 years at The London Free Press. He retired on Jan. 26, 2017. Born in Winnipeg in 1952, James moved to London in 1960 when his parents decided to return to their London-region roots. Encouraged by LFP colleagues, he produced the first extensive Top 10 listing devoted to London albums and has been named a London music scene personality of the year. As a columnist and reporter, he profiled many London creative spirits. In collaboration with LFP colleagues, he hosted weekly videos devoted to London performers & creators for eight years. He continues to champion the London scene on multiple platforms. James is a passionate supporter of the Jack Richardson London Music Awards as a board member & advocate for its Jack Richardson London Music Hall of Fame at 182 Dundas Street. He is also an active member of the London & Middlesex Historical Society & helmed its three editions of The Great London Songbook (events matching local performers with hits associated with the Forest City's glorious musical history). In other community roles, he has volunteered his time at St.Paul's Anglican Cathedral and the Orchard Park Sherwood Forest Ratepayers. He is married to Susan Wallace. Their daughter, Elizabeth, teaches in Toronto. For decades James was the go-to writer for area musicians looking for support. His support of local music has been un-matched and his retirement from the London Free Press was met with sadness, dismay and tremendous gratitude by the music community for his support and dedication to the scene.