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Jan and Pete: A Love Story

“I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away” – American Pie
by Don McLean

This song rang through society’s collective consciousness when it was released as a number-one US hit, lasting four straight months in 1972. The refrain, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie” became a tribute to the unexpected loss of early rock and roll stars. Looking back, this song – in a very personal way – became a seminal moment in the lives of many people around the world.

I mention this because of the sad news – reported on local media – about the closing of the London Music Club (LMC) run by Pete and Janice Denomme. I came to know them personally through mutual friends; and later, played at Open Mic nights.  We also debuted our original ‘60s rock group called Reunion at their club.

Pete was always the most encouraging of people… especially when you hadn’t played on stage for a while! For years, he left space in LMC’s weekly schedule of successful artists for the sole use of unheralded entertainers – many of which proved to be exceptional. The point is you felt like family… no matter what your proficiency… it didn’t matter… you were always treated with respect.

Oftentimes Pete personally ran the sound and lighting system; if it was important to you, it was doubly important to him. And with that type of supportive atmosphere, you inevitably became better and better. They both seem to feel that this type of giving back to the community was important to running a meaningful, as well as a profitable enterprise. They lived it. And it worked for most of LMC’s 17-year, non-pandemic, run.

How many music venues provide for this type of contribution to musicians and fans alike?

Plus, Jan was not only “a pretty face”; she ran the operation behind the scenes, as well as, welcoming everyone with a warm and friendly smile. Together, along with a supportive cast of family and friends – although it was hard to distinguish between the two groups – they were the ultimate ambassadors for the local music scene.

I feel sorry for those who missed out on their outpouring of love, generally, and see the many fundraising activities they made to specific charitable causes. Business-wise, we may not see their kind of caring in the local music biz again. But the mark they left on the community is well-defined in our hearts.

Thanks again, Pete and Jan, for the memories!

“And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while” – American Pie
by Don McLean

Watch on Youtube

That’s the way I figure it. FP

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