2022 Liddell Award winners honored
Honorees make impact on local music scene
A luncheon was held Thursday afternoon to honor Whatzup newspaper’s 2022 H. Stanley Liddell Awarded winners.
Held at Sweetwater Sound, Clyde Theatre Executive Director Gregg Coyle and musician/business owner Alicia Pyle were recognized, while former North Side band director and founder of The New Millennium Orchestra Ed King was unable to attend due to an illness in his family.
Named after Piere’s founder Stan Liddell, whose advertising was critical to Whatzup in its early days, the award is presented annually to individuals who have made an impact on the arts and culture in Fort Wayne and surrounding communities.
Along with this year’s honorees, many former Liddell winners were present, with 2013 recipient Julia Meek introducing Pyle and 2002 recipient Rick “Doc” West introducing Coyle.
Mentioning that Coyle has a vision of hosting 150 events at The Clyde, which includes The Club Room and Crescendo Coffee & More, West also pointed out the rough road the venue has had to navigate since the pandemic began in March 2020.
“Imagine handling those three outfits,” he said of the Clyde, Club Room and Crescendo. “Dealing with concertgoers. Dealing with people learning to mask up: ‘No you can’t dance.’ That sort of thing.”
Since coming to the city in November 2018, Coyle has “managed to steer this major concert facility through its infancy and a pandemic,” while also giving local musicians a place to perform six nights a week.
“Gregg is the person I think that will be key in making Fort Wayne one of top 10 music cities in America,” West said.
At 34 years old, Pyle is the youngest recipient of the Liddell Award, which dates to 2001, when Liddell won it. The first two awards, which included West’s win, were called Special Achievement awards before taking Liddell’s name.
“One thing that separates Alicia from all the rest of us, is it took us a long time to develop our things and really make our impact in Fort Wayne,” Meek said. “Alicia has been able to accomplish everything and more and is going strong at her young age. This is what makes her so special and unique.”
Along with owning two small businesses and playing around the area, Pyle also took it upon herself to help musicians that were struggling during the pandemic, hosting a fundraiser that raised more than $16,000.
“Her advocacy for every local musician is remarkable, and you don’t often find musicians who are that giving and concerned about every single person in the world and in the town,” Meek said.
Displaying her advocacy, Pyle referenced a sentiment shared by 2018 Liddell Award winner Marshall White. During introductions, White, CEO and founder of Unity Performing Arts Foundation and director of the Voices of Unity Youth Choir, mentioned he hopes to one day see “more African-Americans like himself around the table”.
“There’s untapped resources,” Pyle said. “There’s a whole community of kids and culture in Fort Wayne that we need to need to spend more time on.”