Music Store owner is Urban Hero →

Village Vinyl’s owner, Keith Pope, is up for an Urban Hero award. He is nominated in the ‘Art’ category for what he provides the community and musicians from the GTA and further. Since just after opening Village Vinyl he recognized that the community of South Etobicoke was home to many talented musicians as well as talented music students at nearby Humber College. They frequented Village Vinyl Music Emporium & Cafe and he listened to their stories about the lack of venues to play/practice/launch and hone their music. Keith decided to try to help them by turning Sunday afternoons at the music store into ‘Sunday Sessions’. They started small and humble. Local musicians played their tunes and local music lovers and Village Vinyl Music Emporium & Cafe customers and supporters listened. The live music was free, record/CD shopping and cafe offerings were available if desired but a purchase was not required. ‘Sunday Sessions’ gained local renown, musicians told other musicians of the warm and welcoming and appreciative audiences at Village Vinyl and the afternoons got busier, more varied in music styles and genres. Keith keeps the ‘Sessions’ varied with performances by raw young aspiring musicians, recorded and well known professionals working on new material, the formerly famous and even occasionally a few of the talented local amateurs. Generally two or three different performances fill the afternoon. Genres are varied throughout the ‘Session’ and weekly, be it Blues, Soul, Jazz, Rock, Indie/Alternative, Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Reggae. A tip jar is placed on the cafe counter for those who are able to and want to help out the musicians with much needed and appreciated funds. Musicians are encouraged to bring in their recordings to sell to the audiences with all sales proceeds given to them. Keith plays their recorded music in the store throughout the year and promotes the sale of their recordings to customers of V V, again with all proceeds returned to them. As a volunteer in the community of New Toronto he has organized the musical portions of local festivals like The Grilled Cheese Challenge and even presented some paying gigs for some of the most talented ‘Sunday Sessioners’ like Showcase 13 at The Assembly Hall and Sunday Night Blues Sessions at V V.  He encourages everyone who comes through the doors to drop by for a “Sunday Session’ experience, to bring their children, their parents and any other music lovers they know for one set or two or three. Keith’s love and appreciation for music, his energy and enthusiasm for its cultural importance and viability, for what it provides people throughout their lives is most evident every Sunday afternoon from October to June. You can vote for him in the Art category once a day until August 13 by using this link: