News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 9, 2014

The ones who ‘make the music’

15 musicians inducted as part of 2014 class

TERRE HAUTE — Fifteen musical artists’ names are now forever stamped in Wabash Valley’s collective musical memory.

They joined a long list of outstanding musicians when they were inducted Sunday into the Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the VFW Post 972 in Terre Haute. It was the 21st induction ceremony, organized by the Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame Inc.

It was an event honoring outstanding musicians who have been playing in the Wabash Valley for decades, said Rick Waggoner, a member of the board of directors.

“It’s the one time a year … that we come together and honor our own,” Waggoner said.

Hundreds of people witnessed the induction, and the afternoon-long event also included lunch, raffles, silent auctions, Hall of Fame items for sale and, of course, live music.

One of the bands that played was the Lemon Brothers Band, made up of guitar player Logan Lemon, 13; Dylan Lemon, 10, on the bass; and drummer Keith Butts, 11.

“Today … Hall of Famers, today is your day,” said Brad Anderson, another board member. He read a proclamation from the Vigo County Commissioners calling Sunday Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame Day.

Anderson also presented the Akers/ Grindle Award to Waggoner, “whose dedication and service to the Hall stands as a shining example to all musicians of the Wabash Valley,” according to the framed certificate.

Far more than 200 musicians have been inducted into the hall since inductions began. To be accepted into the hall, an individual has to be at least 50 years old and have played in and around the Wabash Valley for at least 25 years, organizers said.

And these are “working musicians,” not necessarily stars or headliners, Waggoner said. They were guitar players, drummers, singers.

“They’re the people that make the music,” he said.

One music-maker and inductee was Brian Blakemore, whose early influences in music included Paul McCartney and the Motown Sound.

His presenter, Paul Scott, told the audience that Blakemore has performed with many artists and “traveled this country performing with many bands.”

“For the past two years, I’m proud to say Brian is a bass player with me … in the Soul Engineers. I’ve had the great privilege of working with Brian, so would you please put your hands together and help me welcome Mr. Brian Blakemore to the Hall of Fame,” Scott said.

“It feels great. I never thought it would happen,” Blakemore told the Tribune-Star.

“All the practicing and all the listening to songs actually paid off. I’m so honored. … I thank God for giving me the talent.”

He said music has brought “a lot of happiness” to his life.

Another inductee also expressed happiness.

Terre Haute native David Beel has been playing drums for bands in the Wabash Valley for about 47 years.

When asked about how he felt about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, his initial response was “old” because “that’s where you’re at” when you get inducted.  

“I feel happy,” he said later.

“All inductees deserve to be honored this way.”

Beel said he got his start in music when his parents “kind of forced me to go into the high school band” back in 1967.

And he just fell in love with playing and kept at it.

His reasons? “For the love of music,” enjoyment and just being with his peers, Beel said.

Aside from joy, Beel said music has allowed him to meet like-minded people. Many of them may not be famous but they are a close-knit group that know and support each other.

“You become brothers with everybody,” he said.

And he got a bit emotional as he recalled the many “talented people” he met and played with along the way, some of whom he has known for more than three decades. As the generation ages, he said he keeps on losing his close friends.

But looking back at his musical career, “It’s been a blast. I’ve had a great time,” Beel said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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