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Sugar Grove resident in Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame

Sugar Grove resident Jim Gibson has received many honors during his long career as a performing artist.

But for the 61-year-old, being inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame is a special honor.

“Sometimes, the hardest places to get noticed are the places where you grew up,” Gibson said. “I can win other awards, whether it’s in Los Angeles or New York or the other places I’ve lived, but coming back home, when they acknowledge you, that’s always special.”

The Hall of Fame honors and showcases the work and performances of artists associated with the Fox Valley who have achieved distinction nationally and internationally. The awards will be presented at an induction banquet celebration Thursday at Villa Olivia in Bartlett.

A 1970 West Aurora High School graduate, Gibson was a member of three different Grammy award-winning bands with B.J. Thomas, The Bill Gaither Trio and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra.

“It’s great that there is such an organization like this that still puts a value on the arts,” Gibson said. “I’m sure there are many people that would love to be inducted, and I was just fortunate enough to be one of those.”

During his life, Gibson has received numerous honors. His hosting of the show “Windy City Alive” garnered him an Emmy in Chicago for best music and variety show for a series, and Gibson was nominated for another Emmy for hosting the Miss Illinois Pageant on WGN-TV.

As a pageant host, Gibson has been involved in more than 1,500 telecasts around the world, including Miss USA, Miss Universe in Puerto Rico, Miss Globe in Turkey and Miss America.

He recently started producing and hosting a new international model search for the MGM Grand.

Gibson said he is glad of all the opportunities he has had.

“Of course, I have some wonderful stories,” Gibson said. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Halle Berry. ... I crowned [her] as the winner and got to know her. And I crowned her later as Miss Ohio.”

Gibson said he has strived to give the contestants a positive experience through his hosting duties.

“My job basically is to make their experience a good one and make their experience something positive in their life,” Gibson said. “My job as a pageant host is not something that I ever set out to do, but it’s something that I have really enjoyed doing.”

Gibson said one of his most surreal moments in his entertainment career was when he was performing in New York City in the mid-1980s with Lionel Hampton and had dinner with Frank Sinatra.

“That is definitely a night I will never forget,” Gibson said.

Gibson said he has done more in his career than he could ever imagine.

“I’m very grateful and incredibly blessed for doing things that, quite frankly, I never dreamed I would have been doing,” he said.

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