Alumni Weekend Special Presentation: Rock This Town - SOLD OUT

Friday, June 2, 2023 7:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)
Rock this town poster

Rock This Town brings to life the exciting history of rock music concerts in KW from the 1960s & ‘70s. An insider’s look into the gritty reality of building the local live music scene. This 70-minute documentary features interviews with music business pros plus performances by today’s musicians. Rock stars come and go but live music is here to stay!

Rock This Town was produced by Betty Anne Keller (BA '69), who will join us for an exclusive post-screening chat alongside Joe Recchia (BASC '68, MASC '71) and other special guests.

Step back into Fed Hall and relive the music and memories that made history!

Event Program:

7:00 - 7:30 p.m. - Live music and reception
7:30 - 8:45 p.m. - Rock This Town film screening
8:45 - 9:30 p.m. - Post-screening chat

Watch the documentary trailer:

Remote video URL


  • $15 per adult/alumni; includes a drink ticket and concession voucher
  • $10 per current UWaterloo student; includes a drink ticket and concession voucher

Meet the Speakers

Betty Anne Keller

Betty Anne Keller (BA '69), Producer, Rock This Town

A vibrant and thriving Arts and Culture community is vital to the health and prosperity of our cities. Since her graduation from UW Arts in 1969, Betty Anne Keller has applied her passion for the arts first as a self-employed music promoter, and latterly as a municipal employee with the City of Waterloo to support, build and promote a strong, diverse, and visible community here in Waterloo Region. She champions and celebrates Arts & Culture in all its formats. Betty Anne worked as a live music promoter for live music events 70’s and 80’s bringing groups to the region that would normally not have been scheduled here. She founded and led the summer “School for the Performing Arts” for teens at the Centre in the Square from 1984 to 1989. She served the Creative Cities Network of Canada on the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012 and as Board President from 2008 to 2011. She has worked with several touring Canadian musicians, including Rita MacNeil and Loreena McKennitt. She has mentored numerous local artists and is currently volunteering with Ogo Tawa “Black to the Future-Statues of our Black Heroes-Community Arts Program” helping to create a welcoming and inclusive space for BIPOC artists in Canada. Betty Anne’s most recent success was to produce the documentary film “Rock This Town” in 2022. She continues to pursue her arts advocacy efforts in Waterloo and beyond.

Joe Recchia

Joe Recchia (BASC '68, MASC '71)

Recchia never dreamed he’d become a concert promoter when he entered Waterloo Engineering in 1963. But when his love for music went unrequited in his new social setting, he took matters into his own hands and brought some of the era’s biggest pop stars to campus and the surrounding community.

Ever heard of Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, the Bee Gees, Alice Cooper or Cat Stevens? Recchia had, probably long before you did. And he signed them all, plus others, to rock the town.

“When you want me to get something done, I don’t know the word ‘€˜can’t’,” the gregarious grandfather says.

Campus life nearly six decades ago, Recchia recalls, didn’t offer much in the way of culture, and since nature abhors a vacuum of any kind, he filled it his own way. At first organizing engineering student dances, he persuaded popular Canadian acts like Little Caesar and the Consuls to come to Waterloo.

And after he connected with New York City promoters, things really took off. Recchia had to deal with prima donnas like Ike Turner. But he got to party with Supertramp. He set up a circuit that brought megastars to 75 universities across Canada.

And then in 1975 he moved on to an engineering career that eventually led him to a senior vice-president’s office with Michelin Canada.

“I’ve had an incredible life,” Recchia says.

Gary Stewart

Gary Stewart

When “The Beatles” landed on TV on February 9 1965 Gary Stewart was 8 years old and music was starting to drive the culture. Hairstyles, clothing, drugs, art and festivals were in constant flux. By 1973 he was revelling in the KW shows that he read about in Circus magazine or Rolling Stone. Universities, colleges and even local high schools were all providing live music. Driven to find a way to be involved, Gary entered the business program at Conestoga College and was soon booking talent as the entertainment programmer for the Doon Student Association. A fulltime position with the UW Federation of Students followed. Live Music was king. Grade 13 was still alive and most first year students were of legal drinking age. His venues included Village Pubs, South Campus Hall, the Bombshelter pub – and later Bingemans and Waterloo Inn. In 1984, Fed Hall opened with a kitchen, bar, 1000 seats, 20 x 40 ‘ stage , in-house PA. The team were off to the races.In 1985, “The Clash” sold out at the PAC, and on the high of this success Gary left UW to begin a 30-year career as the owner, operator of his own multi use venue –€“ Super Skate Seven. Later to be known as The Twist, The Vid, The Flying Dog, Revolution, and Pearl. A key player in the local music scene, he provides this perspective on the music business: “It’s not always about the numbers. It’s about community, sharing experiences and making this world a better place for everyone. Never lose your heart. Never lose your soul. Arts and culture bring us together. Carry on.”

Meg VW Headshot

Moderator: Megan Vander Woude (BKI '12, MA '13), Senior Communications Officer, University of Waterloo

Meg Vander Woude is a two-time Waterloo grad, writer and podcast host. In her decade-long career, she's written on a plethora of topics, from cybersecurity to wineries. As the host of UWaterloo Alumni Podcasts, she leads guests through thoughtful conversations that dig into their career journeys, uncover their expertise, and explore timely topics. She's often in awe of the alumni she interviews, including an Olympic announcer, a top-rated financial advisor, Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, and (of course) passionate entrepreneurs.

When Meg isn't making podcasts, she's listening to them — usually while she cooks a from-scratch meal or knits her next outfit. Please come find her after the panel if you'd like to talk about yarn.

Live Music from Matt Weidinger

Matt Weidinger
Matt Weidinger has established himself as a full time musician since the age of 16 having surpassed thousands of hours in the trade. During his formative years, Weidinger found a home within the thriving blues scene in Kitchener- Waterloo, playing regular club gigs with its leading practitioners while still in high school. Since then Matt has worked his way up to being one of the most sought after and well known entertainers in Ontario. He is a singer/ songwriter and a multi instrumentalist. He has three original albums under his belt and although considers the Hammond Organ, his instrument of choice, is equally comfortable on piano, guitar, bass and mandolin. He joined forces with Lance Anderson in 12-piece band called "Matchedash Parish" whose debut album Saturday Night earned them a 2020 Maple Blues Awards nomination for New Artist of the Year.

Rock This Town Exhibits and Displays

Special Collections & Archives Rock This Town Exhibit

Special Collections & Archives’ latest exhibition, Rock this Town, showcases music in Waterloo Region both on and off campus, from Sangerfests to Oktoberfests, from polka to punk.

This exhibit was created to compliment the documentary Rock This Town, produced by Waterloo alum Betty Anne Keller (BA ’69), screening Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m.

Join us on the first floor of Dana Porter Library to celebrate the opening of this exhibit on Thursday, May 25 from noon €“– 2 p.m. Staff from Special Collections & Archives will be on hand and light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

Rock This Town: Music and Memories

Can you imagine a day without music? It surrounds us from the moment we wake up. You had to own an instrument or know someone who did, to hear music being played. Before radios became common, you might only hear music at a concert or a parade. Music became a force that brought people together. Since the beginning, Indigenous songs, stories and ceremonies had a great deal more importance, meaning, and impact to their daily life.

This exhibit endeavors to highlight some of the multifaceted live music moments we have enjoyed in the area, which includes a rock and roll confessional of memories from those who were part of the local music backdrop from the late 60s to the 80s. Through interviews, memorabilia, and music interactives, the exhibit is packed with backstories of famous musicians who played in Kitchener-Waterloo. Not to be overlooked are the many local successes we have turned out such as 80s Juno award winner for R&B/Soul recording of the year Erroll Starr, Copper Penny, Major Hooples Boarding House Band, and Helix, just to name a few. You will learn why music and song continues to be an ingrained component of Indigenous life that flourishes in the modern era. It will celebrate early Waterloo when music was much rarer. How we hear music will be displayed with a history of musical devices featuring local industries Marsland Engineering, Electrohome and BlackBerry.

Learn more about this exhbiit at the City of Waterloo Museum website.