Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame

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The Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame, or the OBMHoF, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to celebrate, document and honour the legacy of the many top vocalists and musicians whose musical careers began in the metropolitan area of Omaha, Nebraska.[1] It has a particular focus on African American music from North Omaha, and is committed to honoring Omaha's blues tradition from the 1920s to the present day. The OBMHoF holds induction ceremonies every two years that highlight, but are not limited to, classical, rhythm & blues, big band, jazz and gospel music.[2]


Vaughn Chatman, a former Omaha rhythm-and-blues player and attorney in Sacramento, California, formed the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame in 2005. According to one local newspaper, the Hall of Fame was formed to acknowledge Omaha's own musicians. "Enough Omaha artists have impacted the industry to rival the legacy from historical music hotbeds like Kansas City, Mo. The contributions of these Omaha-bred-and-born may add up to one of black music’s largest untold stories."[3] Omaha's significance has been better known as a venue for nationally popular African American jazz, blues and rock greats, many of whom performed at the Dreamland Ballroom.


The Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame hold ceremonies every two years to coincide with the bi-annual Native Omaha Days event, which draws thousands to the Near North Omaha neighborhood to celebrate the history of the African American community in Omaha. It's ceremonies have different locations, and there are varying numbers of inductees every biennium.


The first inductions to the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame were in 2005. The induction ceremony was held on 4 August 2005 at Harrah's Casino in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa. There were 40 inductees:[4]


The 2007 Omaha Black Music Hall Of Fame inductions ceremony was held at Qwest Center, Omaha.[5] Other musical awards were made in the Gospel/Civic/Sports Awards Ceremony, and the Blues/Classical/Jazz/R&B Awards Ceremony.

"The Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame inductees are inspirational community leaders, exceptional musicians and vocalists, including gospel pioneers who left their mark on the civic and music scene. This includes top civic leaders, musicians and vocalists who started in Omaha and moved on to other cities to pursue professional and music careers."[6]

In 2007 there were 67 total inductees into the Hall, including 23 who were deceased and 54 living. They represented a variety of music genres and connections to Omaha's Black music community. The categories included gospel, R&B, Jazz, Rock & Roll and Classical music.


The 2011 inductions to the Omaha's Black Music Hall of Fame were held on July 29, 2011 at the Slowdown in Omaha, Nebraska. MAN vs MAN Band's historic performance at the awards ceremony celebrated a 40-year concert reunion. Other artist performing at the event included: Maxayn, Ahnjel, Sam Singleton, and Hank Redd Jr. The 2011 inductees to the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame were: Hank Redd Jr., Jeanne Rogers, Charles "Chuck" Miller, Red Higgins, Bertha Myers, Adrienne Higgins Brown-Norman, Preston Love, Sam Singleton, Maxayn Lewis, MAN vs MAN Band: Walter McKinney, Len Harris M.D., Donald Harris, Kevin Harris, Glenn Franklin, Lonzo Franklin, Melvin Hall, Leroi Brashears, & Nils Anders Erickson; The New Breed of Soul Band and Andre Davis.[1] web page.[7][8]


Inductee Born Died Active from Major Skill(s) OBMHoF profile Notes
Lester Abrams 1945 1960s drummer, vocalist, keyboardist, songwriter, producer [2] [9]
Wali Ali 1970s Guitarist, singer [3] [10]
Donnie Beck 1951 1970s Drummer, bass guitar, organ, piano, singer, composer, arranger [4] [a]
Ron E. Beck 1951 1970s Drummer, singer, composer [5] [a][11]
Larry Bell 1941 2004 1960s Guitar, piano, drums, saxophone [6] [b]
Percy Le'Roy Chatman 1990 1950s Singer [7] [c]
Wesley Devereaux 1950s Singer [8] [d]
Joe Leslie Edmonson 1947 2002 1960s Organist [9] [e]
Glenn Franklin 1970's Drummer, Percussionist, Vocalist [10] [11] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Lonzo Franklin 2009 1970's Vocalist, Songwriter [12] [13] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
King Richard Gardner 1932 2016 1950s Guitar [14] [f]
Vernon Garrett 1960s Singer [15]
Melvin Hall. 1970's Bass Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Vocalist [16] [17] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Donald Harris. 1970's Tenor, Alto and Soprano Sax, Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer [18] [19] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Kevin Harris. 1970's Trombone, Vocalist, Drummer, Songwriter [20] [21] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Len Harris. 1960s Keyboardist, Organist, Songwriter, Producer, Recording Engineer [22] [23] Recording profile aka "The Duke" [24], also known for his Perfect Pitch note recognition abilities. 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Wynonie Harris, aka "Mr. Blues" 1920 1969 1940s Singer [25]
Lloyd Hunter 1961 1920s Trumpeter, Band Leader [26]
Stemsy Hunter (Stemziel Hunter) 1960s Saxophone [27]
Sylvester (Syl) Johnson (deceased) 1948 1970s Singer [28]
Helen Jones Woods 1925 1940s Trombone [29]
Calvin Keys 1942 1960s jazz guitarist [30]
Michael Andre Lewis 1960s Singer, keyboards, synthesizers, band leader, composer, producer [31]
Merle Lewis 1970s Singer [32] [g]
Victor Lewis 1950 1960s Drummer [33]
Preston Love 1921 2004 1940s Alto sax, Band Leader [34]
Arno Lucas 1970s Singer, songwriter [35]
Eugene "Booker" McDaniels 1950s Songwriter, producer [36]
Walter McKinney 1960's Guitarist, Songwriter, Vocalist, Studio Musician [37] [38] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF; Performed and recorded with many artists including Rose Royce
Lois “Lady Mac” McMorris 1970s Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, upright bass, electric bass, keyboards, drum programmer, arranger, vocalist, composer [39] [h]
Ernest "Curly" Martin 1960s Drummer/percussionist [40] [12]
Buddy Miles (George Miles) 1945 2008 1960s Drums, vocals, band leader [41] [13]
Professor Charles Miller 1970s Trumpeter, conductor [42] [i]
Ruth Norman 1950s Composer, pianist [43]
Mason Prince 1950s Trumpet [44]
Billy Rich 1950s Electric Bass Guitar [45] [j][14]
Carolyn Rich 1960s Vocalist [46] [j]
Herbie Rich 2004 1950s Keyboards, saxophone, singer [47] [j]
Billy Rogers 1950 1987 1970s Guitarist [48]
Carol Jean Rogers 1954 1970s Singer [49] [a]
Jeanne Rogers 1934 1960s Pianist, singer [50] [a]
Keith Rogers 1954 1980s Producer [51] [a]
Sam Singleton. 1943 1960s Promoter, Producer, Vocalist [52] 2011 Inductee OBMHoF
Leslie Orlando Smith 1949 1970s Singer [53]
Steppen Stonz 1972 1970s Three vocalists supported by two musicians (drums and keyboards) [54] [15]
Luigi Waites 1950s percussionist [55]
Lalomie (Lomie) Washburn 2004 1960s Singer, songwriter [56]
Richetta (Lewis) Wilson 1950s Singer [57]

During the ceremony the Steppen Stonz were also awarded a "Showcase Legend Award".[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Jeanne Rogers is mother of twins Carol and Keith Rogers, and twins Donnie and Ron E. Beck.
  2. ^ Larry Bell also had a degree in Tailoring and designed many of his bands' costumes.
  3. ^ Percy Chatman, also known as "Mr. Omaha", was the brother of Vaughn Chatman who formed the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame.
  4. ^ Wesley Devereaux is the son of Wynonie Harris
  5. ^ "Lil" Joe Edmonson was known for his philanthropic accomplishments with his youth foundation.
  6. ^ Richard Gardner owned four barbershops in Omaha for 46 years. They were well known as a meeting place for aspiring musicians.
  7. ^ For a period, Merle Lewis used the stage name "Dianna St. Clair"
  8. ^ "Lady Mac" is also an award-winning painter & sculptor, a graphic artist/designer, a poet and author, clairvoyant, a natural healer, and an ordained minister.
  9. ^ Professor Miller also has a distinguished career as an educator, academic and author.
  10. ^ a b c Billy, Carolyn and Herbie Rich are siblings.


  1. ^ (2005) "Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame." The Blues Society of Omaha. Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  2. ^ (2005) About the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
  3. ^ (2005) "A Rich Music History Long Untold",The Omaha Reader, 3 Sept 2005.
  4. ^ OBMHoF 2005 Inductees web page.
  5. ^ Qwest Center Omaha.
  6. ^ OBMHoF 2007 Inductees web page.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Official Lester Abrams web site. Bring it on.
  10. ^ Official Wali Ali web site. Not accessible 1 July 2007.
  11. ^ Official Ron E. Beck web site. Retrieved 1 July 2007.
  12. ^ (nd) "Curly" Martin receives award. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  13. ^ "Buddy Miles - Band Merch, Merchandise, Music". Miles Per Gallon records. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  14. ^ Official Billy Rich web site. Retrieved 1 July 2007.
  15. ^ Official Steppen Stonz web site. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  16. ^ (2005) Awards Steppen Stonz website. Retrieved 20 May 2007.

External links[edit]