Funk Music Hall of Fame opens with gala affair

(February 17, 2018) Dayton, Ohio was the center of the music universe last night, as hundreds of music fans assembledfor the Grand Opening of The Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center (aka TheFunkCenter) in Dayton. CEO David R. Webb, Sr. and a large group of musicians, fans and civic leaders put their hearts and several years into the creation of a new home to honor the great music genre that was birthed a half century ago and which has, at times, dominated popular culture.

(February 17, 2018) Dayton, Ohio was the center of the music universe last night, as hundreds of music fans assembledfor the Grand Opening of The Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center (aka TheFunkCenter) in Dayton. CEO David R. Webb, Sr. and a large group of musicians, fans and civic leaders put their hearts and several years into the creation of a new home to honor the great music genre that was birthed a half century ago and which has, at times, dominated popular culture.

For a small town, Dayton has had an outsized impact on the music world, and nowhere is that more evident than in funk music of the 70s and 80. The Ohio Players, Bootsy, The Deele, The Dazz Band, Slave, Roger Troutman, Zapp, Heatwave, Lakeside, Faze-O, Shirley Murdock, Van Hunt, Dayton, Sun, The Majestics, Overnight Low, New Horizons, Aurra and many more hail from the region (and that doesn’t even include soul and jazz greats like The O’Jays and Nancy Wilson).

TheFunkCenter is planned to focus not only on historical music, but also music education for future generations. Webb says, “TheFunkCenter's mission will be to teach young people to play instruments, understand what it takes to work in all aspects of the performing arts, learn about the role music plays in creativity, critical thinking skills and self-discipline, and to improve their deductive reasoning skills in reading, math and science.” Each of these areas is crucial, he added, to helping students face the challenges life presents as they approach adulthood.

The museum is now housed in a storefront in downtown Dayton, and guests who went on guided tours last night were duly impressed with artifacts such as performance outfits, classic album, concert posters and lots and lots of background information. And Webb told me that current space constraints limit them to displaying only a small portion of their planned exhibits.

Expect to see much, much more from TheFunkCenter, including concerts and more multi-media displays. But last night was an auspicious start.

We congratulate the team in Dayton for preserving the legacy of an incredible era of music, and we're looking forward to the plans they have to take the funk forward. If you're traveling through Ohio, this is a stop that will make you smile.

By Chris Rizik

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