News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mark Bennett B-Sides

July 29, 2009

MARK BENNETT: Event to honor musical legend from Terre Haute

TERRE HAUTE — The rock ’n’ roll generation — my generation — knows little, if anything, about Claude Thornhill.

His musical heyday unfolded before most of us were born.

But as the 100th anniversary of Thornhill’s birth approaches, those of us of younger vintages should peek at his legacy. To put it in a baby boomer’s perspective, imagine if John Fogerty grew up in Terre Haute, as Thornhill did. Fogerty, of course, is a master musician, songwriter and arranger, and the creative genius behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, labeled by Rolling Stone as the best band in America in 1969.

That was Claude Thornhill in the 1940s. (Minus Fogerty’s plaid shirts, moppy hair, amplification and Cajun growl.) He created brilliant, edgy, hip sounds as a pianist and big band leader. Down Beat magazine branded his Claude Thornhill Orchestra the “best big band of 1941.”

And he was a Hautean.

I phoned his former trumpeter Tuesday, and asked him to describe Thornhill’s talent. Lyle “Rusty” Dedrick joined his band in ’41 and then rejoined it in 1946 after both he and Thornhill served in the military during World War II. Now 91 and living in Summitville, N.Y., Dedrick responded by dropping a name even us fortysomethings would recognize.

“I’ll quote Duke Ellington, and what he said way back then was that Claude’s band was the only one that was doing something different from the norm,” Dedrick said.

How cool is that? Sir Duke saw Claude Thornhill — born on Aug. 10, 1909, in Terre Haute, the son of a coal miner and a church organist — as an innovator.

That’s why folks in Thornhill’s home neighborhood of 12 Points have orchestrated a celebration on his centennial birthday. Claude Thornhill Day on Monday, Aug. 10, will feature a declaration by Mayor Duke Bennett, and an evening performance of his songs by The Fabulous Forties Big Band at 7 o’clock in Harmony Hall at 1257 Lafayette Ave. With tickets priced at an affordable $10 each, the event will serve as a fundraiser for the 12 Points Greater Northside Association, a nonprofit neighborhood group supporting that historic Terre Haute district.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Mark Bennett B-Sides
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Today in History for July 25th
NDN Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity