Local Grammy winner Lonnie Park to be feted at free Friday event at Center for Arts of Homer
In April, Lonnie Park – a native of Freeville who has been a fixture of the Central New York scene as a musician, songwriter, and producer since the 1980s – shared the 2022 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for “Divine Tides,” which he produced with ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland and Indian superstar Ricky Kej.
Friday at the Center for the Art of Homer, “An Evening with Lonnie Park” will celebrate that Grammy Award with an event featuring an open reception and a concert with live performances and video appearances from artists Park has worked with over the years. Running 7-10 p.m., the event is free and open to everyone.
Park, who has played everything from hair metal and modern country to New Age and atmospheric soundtracks, will be joined by several performers at the show, including Chris Caffery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), David “Rock” Feinstein (The Rods), Sal Giancarelli (Staind, Saint Ansonia), Billy Golicki (Bush Pilot, Terry Fator, Tailor Made), Nate Horton (Ten Man Push), Randy McStine (Porcupine Tree, Vinnie Moore, Stuart Hamm), Jon Rogalia (area country artist), Freddy Villano (Quiet Riot, Widowmaker, Ten Man Push), and John West (Artension, Badlands, Ten Man Push).
“Originally, I just wanted to sit in the audience and have fun, while everyone else got up to play,” Park said in a recent interview at Barncastle Studio, the recording facility he owns and runs in Freeville. “But everyone said, ‘You gotta play!’ So we’re going to have a few guys I’ve worked with on various projects.”
Sheila Ryan of the Center for the Arts of Homer put together the show after she attended the Grammy Awards show in Las Vegas on April 3 with Jon Rogalia, an area country singer who recently joined the Recording Academy (which puts on the Grammys); both Ryan and Park have worked with Rogalia for the past few years to help him build his career.
“We actually saw each other out there,” Park said. “They were down at the end of the aisle, and we were on down by Chris Stapleton. But she had a blast and was really excited about the win, as we all were. Then, when we all got home, she got a hold of me, and she said she had talked to the people there at the Center and they wanted to throw a celebration and reception for the win, which I thought was incredibly generous and nice.”
The live performance component came next.
“They asked if I could maybe bring a few of the friends that I've worked with before,” Park said. “And, of course, if I brought in everybody that I've worked with in the region, we'd be there for a few days performing. But I reached out to a few close friends quickly, and they all said yes. So we’ll probably have about a 40-minute show. And there's also a collection of people who aren't going to be able to be there that I've worked with around the country and around the world who are going to send in little video snippets.”
Park also earned a 2012 Grammy nomination for his work on an album by Singaporean musician Arun Shenoy. But it’s obviously a much bigger deal to actually win the award, which instantly increases one’s credibility in the music world.
“It's very true,” Park said. “It's kind of like a college degree that now you can hang your hat on. But the funny thing is, the person you are and the artist you are before winning a Grammy and the person and artist you are after are the very same thing – it's really how people perceive you. So I think that's why the Grammy is the highest award you can get in the music business.
“And it's one of the most sought-after accolades because of that, because you're voted on by all your peers, the professionals in the business, not fans – it's not a popularity contest, it's a quality contest. And when you get the Recording Academy and all your peers to actually say you did the ‘best’ something this year, and they’re going to award that, it's about as good as it can get. And even though your work doesn't change, all of a sudden people take you a lot more seriously. And they smile a little harder when they're working with you. So it's been a fun ride.”
If You Go
What: “An Evening with Lonnie Park”
When: 7-10 p.m. Friday, June 10
Where: Center for the Arts of Homer
Cost: free and open to everyone