Eddie Ray was all smiles as he greeted the inductees, family members, sponsors and other guests Dec. 4 who previewed the N.C. Music Hall of Fame.
Ray is the hall’s operations director and vice chairman of the board. The new site opened Dec. 5. The old site was at 109 W. A St., Kannapolis.
Thanks to the help of longtime friend and supporter Mike Curb, a fellow musician, the hall, which honors North Carolina music legends, now shares space with Curb Museum for Music and Motorsports at 600 Dale Earnhardt Blvd., Kannapolis.
The move has more than doubled the display area for the hall.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to exhibit more artists at the same time,” Ray said.
He explained that the limited space at the past location allowed only 30 exhibits, which meant they had to rotate the artists.
The new location has room for more than 60 exhibits, while sharing space with the Motorsports museum. Ray said the visibility of the new location and the NASCAR tie-in will expose more people, both local and tourists, to the hall.
Ruth Brooks, of Concord, walked alone for a while as she explored the hall during the preview. She said she had taken children from the Multi-cultural Community Student Union of Cabarrus County to the old hall location during their summer enrichment programs.
Speaking of the new location, Brooks said, “I am so excited about being able to bring the children to enjoy the wide open space. When they see this space, they’re going to say, ‘This is awesome.’ It is so warm and inviting, you feel like you are in the presence of the artist.”
2013 inductees Jack Stallings, Tommy Plyler, Sid Smith and John B. Edwards, members of the original Catalinas, posed for pictures with Bill Kopald, chairman of the board for the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, while reminiscing about being a local band that became nationally known.
Ken Knox, who now lives in York, S.C., came to represent General Johnson and the Chairman of the Board, one of the first groups inducted into the hall. Knox said he, along with band mates General Johnson and Danny Woods, “Feel like the adopted sons of the Carolinas. We made you feel proud to be Carolinians through our music. We are honored to be in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.”