Music Hall of Fame gears up for night of entertainment
As the Southeastern Indiana Musicians Association enters its 17th year for inductees, the organization has taken a new direction with regard to their award ceremonies.
Historically the awards have taken place during the Aurora Farmers Fair on Wednesday nights.
“We are grateful to the Aurora Lions and Farmers Fair for their support all of these years, but this year we are going to change things up,” says Andy Jackson SEIMA board member.
The annual award ceremony is being relocated to the historic Gibson Theater in Batesville, said Caz Burdette, SEIMA board president.
The 17th Annual SEIMA Hall of Fame Awards Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Gibson Theater in Batesville.
More information will be posted at http://www.seimusic.org or like Southeastern Indiana Musicians Association on Facebook.
“Our organization represents musicians from Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland Counties, so we feel its important that SEIMA has a presence in those counties as well.
We look forward to putting together a night of entertainment for our inductees, their families and current members as well as the public,” said Burdette.
The ceremonies will include live performances by local artists, current hall of fame members, and special guests, along with the award presentations.
“I too am happy to be working with the Southeastern Indiana Musicians Association. As a current hall of fame member, I welcome the opportunity to host a more intimate event that really focuses on the inductees and their stories. Its a special moment to these men and women to be brought into this Hall of Fame and be recognized for their musical contributions to the community and we want them to feel that appreciation,” said first-year board member Brian Noble.
The organization hopes to extend its community outreach beyond the hall of fame next year by raising awareness and funding, through hosted concert events along with the awards ceremony and through private and public donations to the organization.
SEIMA seeks to support music programs in local schools and help provide better musical equipment and affordable instruments to the students who need them in all of the counties represented.
Establishing a scholarship program for career-minded musicians in the community is another priority for the group. First-year board member Dean Koumoutsos is focused on pursuing arts based funding for the organization via available federal, state, and local grants.
“It’s exciting to have new members on our board this year and we are looking forward to a greater involvement in the local music scene in the community. We have plans to work with existing event organizers as well as embarking on our own events, focusing on exemplary local talent and showcasing them alongside established national acts,” said board member Brian DeBruler.
Most people are unaware of our area’s rich musical heritage and that is something we aim to change as well, he said.
“This community is growing and we have an incredible commodity in our music here. We already have regionally supported musical events in our community and we plan to expand on that significantly across the area in all the counties we represent,” said DeBruler.
But before you attend the ceremony Nov. 3, take a moment to meet this year’s nominees:
Edith Bentle Blasdel, Greendale
(Posthumously) Piano, Organ, Violin
Member of the multi-talented music Bentle Family with some members in The SEIMA Hall of Fame. Member of a local community orchestra along with her husband, Elvin Blasdel and conducted by Raymond Mettler. Edith was the keyboardist for The Bright Christian Church and played at many area venues with Elvin. Very accomplished piano teacher with numerous talented students. Credited for not only teaching music, but gave them courage, patience, enthusiasm, boosted morale, and passed on the love of playing music. Passed away in 2014 at the age of 101.
Ed Krause, Batesville
Gained notoriety as the drummer member of The Dantes, a popular local band for many years. Co-founder of another popular local group, Matrix, with Deno Koumoutsos. Ed played many instruments including keyboards and saxophone as well as lending vocals on many of their songs. For many, Ed is a principle member of The Eureka Band from Batesville playing the sax. The Eureka Band is the longest established group of its kind in the USA. Ed and his wife Debbie are very active with various local community organizations donating their time to help out.
Randy ‘Rudy’ Mattox, Aurora
Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Played bass guitar with The Dave Baker Band. Played bass and backup vocals for Uncle Chub and The Mud Ducks. Considered by many to be the best lead singer in Southeastern Indiana, Randy formed The Ragin’ River Band in 1981 and won multiple rounds of the legendary Cincinnati Battle of The Bands. He has also performed at many Southeastern Indiana establishments, benefits, wedding receptions, and Harley of Cochran’s Party’s.
Joe Powell, Batesville
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals
Very active in the music scene of Southeastern Indiana for over 70 years. Was in the well-known local group, The Country Travelers, along with Bernie Gilbert and Carroll Stenger, were around for nearly three decades. Before that, Joe was with the group, The Sundowners, with Jim and Margaret Kennedy and Bobby Mackey, in which Joe help mentor Bobby before moving on to stardom. More recently, forming the family group, The Powell Family Singers along with wife Doris, siblings, and other family members. Invited to and played at Renfro Valley, Kentucky. Well-respected not only for his musicianship, but also for church and community work.
Jeffrey ‘Poe’ Withered, Aurora
Electric and Acoustic Bass Guitar, Cello
One of the most respected bass guitarists in Southeastern Indiana, Poe has shared his talents with many groups including Visual Kaos, Stranger, Grimlock Fog, and Harley Day & The V-Twins. His group Visual Kaos has opened up for Warrant and his group Grimlock Gog opened for Overkill to a sold out show at Cincinnati’s Bogarts. His music has been featured on Cincinnati’s WEBN and Class X. Poe is generous in helping filling in for absent bass players and helping out with charity events when asked. Poe’s brother, Zerbe, is also going into The Hall of Fame.
Garry ‘Zerbe’ Withered, Aurora
One of the most popular drummers in Southeastern Indiana, Zerbe has thrilled the area for over 40 years in groups like Missing Persons, Borderline, Speedlimit, Fog, Withered, Harley Day & The V-Twins, and Just Faces. Currently with the group, The Indiana Mud Bogs. Zerbe is generous in helping out with charity events when possible. Zerbe’s brother, Poe, is also going into The Hall of Fame this year.
This year’s event also will feature three distiguished nominees:
Kenzie Bentle is a musician and educator from Southeast Indiana. He began his music career at the age of 10 playing drums in his brothers’ eight piece dance band named The Harmony Lads. Then as popular music changed, he joined the five piece Rock and Roll Band called The Dukes, playing teen dances in the Tristate area. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music achieving a bachelor’s degree in music education and later obtained a master’s degree in music at Ball State University. He was the drummer and music arranger for the show band Cops And Robbers, which traveled throughout the United States playing night clubs and show rooms.
He has also been the music director at Moores Hill High School, the assistant director for the East Central High school bands, director of the East Central junior high bands and the first music director of the Sunman-Dearborn Middle School.
He later became the head director at East Central and the Music Department Head for the Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools.
He is the composer of the East Central High School Alma Mater and was the music director for Sunman Elementary before retiring from the school system. He has been a private music instructor for the Bowman Creative Arts Center located in Burlington, Ky. He also composed the horn arrangements on the album “Helicopter Rose” by Blake Rainey in Atlanta, Ga. He recently composed and recorded the music entitled “The Rising” for the internet video “What Has Our World Become” on the websites, happinessfusion.com and YellowBodhi.com. He is a solo pianist with a CD entitled “Diapason” on the Southern Lovers Music Label and Electron Sound Garden Studios of Atlanta, Ga.
Kling’s musical journey, began with early piano lessons and music teachers throughout public schools. His parents, although very frugal due to necessity, thought it important to start him on piano lessons at age 6 with which continued through eighth grade.
He had several different teachers, one of whom was particularly effective in motivating and challenging me to excel including grade school music teacher Dorothy Pennock who also was in charge of the band program, where at fourth grade she informed his parents that I should play trombone. He loved band and its interactive nature both musically and socially.
When it was time for Bright and Guilford schools to consolidate into North Dearborn High School, Charles Green was named as director. At this time, King was only in sixth grade but Charlie was ready to have a big band and he combined all of the students into a marching band that would have its first performance at the Lawrenceburg soap box derby parade.
They practiced by marching through Guilford and the old covered bridge
He was in the North Dearborn band throughout high school and with invitations to march at the Indianapolis 500 parades it put little North Dearborn High School on the map. North Dearborn High School was also the birth place of a popular dance band that played throughout the area, Tom and the Dukes. At one point Charlie told Kling he needed him to fill in as organ player for the Dukes for the summer because he was going to Europe during the school break. The thing was, Charlie never intended to return to the band and never mentioned it again!
In later years Kling continued playing in a weekend band called Free & Easy that played throughout the tristate area.
During college he caught the teching bug early. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, his first teaching position was at Jac-Cen-Del Schools in Osgood. There he had the opportunity to learn it all: beginning and intermediate band at the two elementary schools, junior and senior high school band, high school choir and show choir.
After three years there he received a call from my old high school director, Charlie Green saying that North Dearborn and Sunman High Schools were consolidating into East Central High School and he needed an assistant and junior high band director. He taught with Charlie for five years and then along came the consolidation at South Dearborn High School. South Dearborn became my home for the next 25 years, the last five years were spent has principal. He remains in touch with many of these students.
In retirement he continues teaching music lessons at his home studio and write his own music.
James “Jim” Helms
Jim Helms induction as a member of the Southeastern Indiana Musicians Hall of Fame follows a long career and wide range of experience in the areas of education, and TV entertainment as well as being a performing musician.
His education career spanned 51 years including 35 years in secondary schools retiring as a high school principal, and an additional 16 years as a college chancellor. However he also has had a long career of some 60 plus years in music and entertainment along the way.
Jim started on a ukulele at age 9, got his first guitar at age 12, and proceeded to learn and play it. He began playing with a country band, Dempsey Sims and the Melody Ramblers at the age of 14 and received his first ever pay of $10 per night. He had also started playing with a Cincinnati based rock and roll band, The Rendezvous, around age 16.
Dempsey Sims and the Melody Ramblers recorded at King Records in Cincinnati and for Starday Records in Nashville/Madison, Tenn.
The band also played live on WMOH radio in Hamilton, Ohio, in the late 1950s and into the 60s. At that time Jim played mostly rhythm guitar, but also played some lead guitar, bass, and sang. He also was an announcer on WMOH.
Jim had also started playing organ about this time and by the mid 60s was playing a weekly live organ show on WMOH radio. Jim signed a contract with the Chapelle-Johnson Entertainment Agency in Cincinnati in 1965 and worked with them playing organ for many years.
Then in about 1970 Jim formed a duo by adding Jack Ketcham. The next phase of his career began when Jim became the house organist/announcer for pre-show entertainment at the Beef N’ Boards Dinner Theatre for the Cincinnati Tri-State region.
He has served as a master of ceremonies for many events over the years, as well as does public speaking for many groups at graduations, clubs, and banquets. Jim became a teaching colleague and good friends with band director Charles Green, North Dearborn High School and later East Central High School.
They became close friends and later Jim became very involved in helping Charles with the ECHS band. In more recent years Jim has had the opportunity to travel in the Nashville music scene with Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, and Little Jimmy Dickens.