News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 18, 2012

Album in praise of Wabash River selling ‘incredibly well’

CD release sets stage for 2013 launch of Year of the River

TERRE HAUTE — The Year of the River starts Jan. 1, but in many ways it has already set sail with the successful launch of “The Wabash,” a collection of river songs by area artists.

Earlier this month, the CD, which retails for $10, was first available at the Miracle on 7th Street, a downtown holiday event. It is also available at several local businesses.

Sales have already exceeded 450 copies, said Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces, Inc. and an organizer of the Year of the River.

The CD “is doing incredibly well,” said Don Arney, one of the CD’s producers. “It’s stunning.”

Proceeds from the CD will be used to erect a special memorial to Paul Dresser, who composed “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” a classic American song, more than 100 years ago. The memorial will be near Dresser’s home, which stands in Terre Haute’s Fairbanks Park, fittingly near the river itself.

The release of the CD, which is a rich mix of musical genres and styles in a tribute to the Wabash River, sets the stage for next month’s official launch of the Year of the River, an effort by dozens of local organizations to draw attention to Terre Haute’s major waterway.

The musicians behind “The Wabash” are just one of many groups of local people who have jumped in with both feet to help commemorate 2013 as the Year of the River, said Steve Letsinger of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology art collection and another organizer of the year-long celebration.

With Christmas right around the corner, CD sales are expected to reach even higher in the coming weeks, Arney said.

“It’s a good gift,” said Letsinger, who is also a musician. “I was enamored of some of the songs. I really like the album.”

The CD includes folk, rock, country, bluegrass, Americana jazz, blues and barbershop. It begins and ends with two very different takes on “On the Banks of the Wabash,” Arney noted.

“You’ve got a little bit of everything” on the CD, Arney said. “It all blended together really well. There’s stuff on it you can relate to if you’re from here.”

Individual artists and groups on the CD include Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hanners, Justin Hoeppner, Dicky James and the Blue Flames, Will Foraker, Roxie Randle and Tom Roznowski. There are a total of 13 artists featured on the CD.

The Year of the River is being led by Art Spaces Inc., Arts Illiana and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Permanent Art Collections. Other key sponsors include Indiana State University, the Wabash Valley Community Foundation and MillerWhite Marketing.

Several events are already planned for January, including New Year’s Day hike at Turkey Run State Park to look for eagles, an exhibition at the Swope Art Museum and a presentation on the river’s impact on the founder of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, St. Mother Theodore Guerin and the ministry of the Sisters of Providence.

“It’s going to be a busy year and an exciting year,” said Jon Robeson, director of Arts Illiana. “It’s going to be great.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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