One of the advantages of hosting the Indiana Music Educators Association's conference is experiencing three days of music performances, including headliner Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band, which performs Friday night at the Embassy Theatre.
About 1,000 music educators and 1,000 students will participate in IMEA's state conference, which takes place today through Saturday at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, according to IMEA executive director Lane Velayo.
Music development events also take place at IPFW's Rhinehart Music Center, Embassy Theatre, Allen County Public Library, Courtyard at the Marriott and nearby churches.
Although mainly parents will go to their students' concerts, Velayo said the public is welcome to attend events for free. Only the headliner concert charges admission.
Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band is based on the Lynchburg, Tenn., town band that existed in 1900.
“It's a show that speaks to a simpler time,” Velayo said. “If you are a music fan of any type, you'll enjoy this.”
Bernie Walker, a member of Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band since 1991, said in an email the modern version of the band was created in 1972 by David Fulmer, a musician, actor and advertising producer, when he found a photograph of that turn-of-the-century town band at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg.
“Fulmer came up with the idea of a modern version of the band, with the assistance of arranger/orchestrator Greig McRitchie,” Walker said. “He put together a couple of recordings, and the band taped a TV special for PBS. In 1978, the distillery put the show on tour as a promotional vehicle.”
In 1991, Walker said, the distillery decided not to fund the band or tour anymore. That's when two members of the band bought the right to use the name and everything associated with the band.
The 13-member band's instruments include four cornets, two alto horns, tenor horn, baritone, tuba, drums, mallet percussion (xylophone), banjo and the conductor, or “Perfesser.”
“The band members dress in period attire and represent town folk in turn-of-the-century Lynchburg,” Walker said. “The music covers a variety of genres, including popular tunes from the period, such as 'After the Ball' and 'Camptown Races,' and some light classical/operatic pieces and a little bit of traditional jazz.”
Walker also has written some of the musical arrangements performed by the band.
Walker said the band has taught educational clinics and master classes at music conferences, though the band is only performing in concert at this conference.
“Generally our audiences find the show very entertaining and are always impressed with the high caliber of musicianship exhibited by the band,” Walker said. “Most folks seemed to be very charmed by the laid back and nostalgic nature of the show.”