Martha Abbott ~ A native of Columbus, Sister Abbott has served as pianist/director of many local church choirs, most notably the Mt. Herman Baptist Church Inspirational Choir, where she served in this capacity for 15 years. She also led choirs at Mt. Olivet and Corinthian Baptist Churches, and for five years staged a series of annual concerts at the Union Grove Baptist Church. In addition to recording three albums and performing on numerous radio and TV programs, she arranged and composed many original hymns and gospel songs. After 43 years, Sister Abbott relinquished her duties as choir director to focus on "ministering in song", wherever she is called to do so.
Thomas "Tom" Battenberg ~ Born in Dayton, Battenberg came to Columbus on a piano scholarship to pursue a music education degree at The Ohio State University. Once here, he switched to trumpet, playing in the marching and concert bands, orchestra, brass choir, and Jazz Forum. By his senior year, he was also holding down the third trumpet spot in the Columbus Symphony. Following graduation, he moved onto Arizona State University, where he earned his master's of music degree in performance and won the position of 2nd trumpet in the Dallas Symphony. It was then, Jack Evans, director of the OSU Marching Band, called, inviting him to teach trumpet at his alma mater. For the next 26 years, Battenberg taught trumpet and performed in the Faculty Brass Quintet. From 1970 to 1990, he was the director of the internationally acclaimed OSU Jazz Ensemble, recording 10 albums and winning many awards. For 35 years, he has played with the Columbus Symphony and also founded the OSU Faculty Jazz Sextet and the High Street Stompers Faculty Dixieland Band.
Richard E. Burkart ~ Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Burkart is the product of a diverse musical background, which includes classical, jazz, Dixieland, and pop. Taking bachelor's and master's degrees at L.S.U. and a doctorate in music at the University of Wisconsin, he taught trumpet and other brass instruments for 40 years in Texas, Wisconsin, and Ohio, before his retirement in 1996. He had come to Ohio State in 1971 as professor of trumpet and went on toe serve as president and vice president of the 8000-member International Trumpet Guild. During his career, he also performed numerous solo recitals and solo appearances with bands, orchestras, quintets, etc., throughout the country. He was instrumental in establishing the Ellsworth Smith/ITG International Trumpet Solo Competition with the aid of the Columbus Foundation.
William "Bill" Carpenter ~ A Columbus native, Carpenter was only 14 when he joined the band of Al Brown (Les Brown's uncle) as a trumpet player. He then played with Howdy Gorman and Mac Tooill before enlisting in the Navy, where he was a member of 3 different bands. Following his discharge, he attended Ohio State as a music major and performed in the Concert Band, Orchestra, and Marching Band. Locally, he has worked with the likes of Al Myers, Paul Dijoia, Dan Rice, Bob Jolly, and Nelson Foucht. He has also played with the New York-based bands of Joan Brandon, Jimmy Dorsey, Charlie Barnett, and the Hardwick Orchestra. Carpenter continues to play with the Worthington Civic Orchestra.
Sonny Craver ~ A graduate of South High School, Craver toured with Stomp Gordon as a blues and jazz singer when he was 17, before joining the King Kollax Band. After a stint with The Harmonaires, he replaced Joe Williams in Count Basie's band and later joined the Hank Crawford Band, settling in Los Angeles. His career began when he sang "Stormy Weather" over WLW radio at the age of 3. Since then, he has worked in various show business ventures, from record production (Pigmeat Markham's "Here Comes the Judge"), being a deejay both here and in California, operating local night clubs, and acting. Craver has had parts in the TV shows "The Kid From Left Field", "Rescued From Gilligan's Island", and the short-lived series with Barbara Eden, "Brand New Life". In "White Men Can't Jump", Craver is seen as a member of a trio that performs at the beginning and the end of the film. He started the Stanson label in 1956 and relocated it to Hollywood, California, 1972. Forty years later, he released a CD which was recorded live at LA's Jazz Bakery. Craver continues to perform as the featured vocalist with the Pat Longo Band.
Larry Darnell ~ Born Leo Edward and known as "Mr. Heart and Soul", Darnell started singing gospel music in the church choir at the age of 11. He joined Irwin C. Miller's Brownskin Models, a travelling burlesque show, at 15 or 16 as a chorus boy -- a dancer --but soon was singing such songs as "Stardust" and "Stairway to the Stars" behind the line of dancing girls. Travelling (and sleeping) on the bus with the 25 or 30 members of the show was not particularly glamorous, but Darnell remained with them until they reached New Orleans, where he was seen by Frank Pania. Darnell settled in at the Dew Drop Inn, where he quickly made a name for himself in what was one of the most revered clubs in the city. It was here he was seen by Freddie Mendelsohn, A&R man for Regal Records, who summoned him to Newark, N.J., to record "For You My Love" and "I'll Get Along Somehow", which were released at the same time and reached numbers 1 and 3 on the Billboard R&B chart. After 15 years, he decided in 1960 it was time to come off the road. He limited himself to local clubs and also began performing spirituals again with the organist who used to play for him when he was a young boy.
Nelson Foucht ~ Born in Junction City, Ohio, Foucht earned a bachelor's degree in music education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before commencing a 30 year career as a high school music teacher in Indiana, Zanesville, and, finally, Columbus. Locally, he has played with the Columbus Symphony, Al Waslohn, Chuck Sleby, Don Crawford, the Jazz Arts, Group, Columbus Symphony, Doc Everhart, and Ray and Henry Cincione. For 30 years, he has played and recruited musicians for the "ghost" big bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Guy Lombardo, Art Mooney, Ray McKinley, and others. He was formerly president of the "Shrine Bands of North America", in addition to serving as assistant director of the local Shrine Band and leader of its Dixieland Band. Foucht also led the Nelson Fote Big Band.
Wendell Jones ~ After graduating from high school in Dayton, Jones enrolled in The Ohio State University school of music. During his student days, he was a three-time winner on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. He had earlier won a vibraharp in a talent contest in his home town, beginning his long association with that instrument. At OSU, he was a featured soloist with the concert band and performed at Jazz Forum concerts. For several years, he jobbed with the Morrie Mann Quintet, which included guitarist Jerry Langston. Although he soon moved to Northern Ohio, he continued to play weekends in Columbus. While performing on the marimba at Tommy Henrick's Steak House, he was invited to join the Xavier Cugat Band. In the Fall of 1961, he was hired as a staff musician at WLW-C television for the daily morning show. Six years later, he took a position teaching percussion at Bowling Green State University, retiring as professor emeritus in the College of Music in 1995. .
Glenn Kimmel ~ From Terre Haute, Indiana, Kimmel started playing professionally at 13 and went on the road (and recorded) with the Ralph Flanagan Band six years later. While attending Indiana State University, he auditioned for the "Pee Wee" Hunt band, winning the job as drummer after only four bars. He remained with Hunt for two years and two albums. In 1963, while playing with Hunt at the Deshler Cole Hotel in Columbus, he met his wife-to-be, who was working as a waitress. For six years, Kimmel lived in St. Louis where he was a member of Tex Beneke's combo. Returning to Columbus, he took a day job with the Ohio Department of Transportation and formed his own Dixieland group, The Louisiana Purchase. For the last 18 years, he has held down a weekly gig at Schmidt's in German Village, in addition to working extensively with the Anne Young Trio. Kimmel has been a musician for 47 years and counting.
Donna Marie Leighty ~ Formerly from Ironton, Ohio, "Donna Marie", as she is known to her many fans, is a pianist/organist/vocalists whose talents have been on display in the Columbus area since the 1962, when she moved here to break into the local music scene. She has not been out of work since. For more than 20 years, she could be found at Lombardo's (which she and her husband bought after the original owner died), and has also been featured at the Tommy Henrick's, West Wind, Jai Lai, Columbus Athletic Club, Rogers, and, most recently, Snugglers.
Ted Lewis (Theodore Friedman) ~ Growing up in nearby Circleville, Lewis was stage-struck at an early age and set off for New York while still in his teens, where his father found him working in a cabaret called the El Dorado. Although he agreed to return home, soon he was back again, taking the name "Ted Lewis" because it would easily fit on a marquee. He was an immediate success, and was featured in the Greenwich Village Follies, Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic, and various stage shows. In fact, Lewis was the first person to even headline three Broadway nights spots at the same time, racing from one to the other. By 1918, he was a major recording star and had opened his own cabaret in New York, the Bal Tabarin. With his trademark top hat and clarinet, he was proclaimed variously "the Jazz King" and "the high-hatted tragedian of song". In a career that spanned six decades, Lewis played to seven presidents and King George V of England.
Paul Molleur ~ Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Molleur played piano in a Navy band during WWII. Afterwards, he moved to New York, where he played cruise ships, USO tours, and went on the road with Ina Ray Hutton and Randy Brooks. He moved to Columbus in the early 'fifties because it was his wife's hometown, and the first night began working with Gene D'Angelo's band at the Riviera. Danny Deeds hired him to lead the houseband at the Maramor supper club for 11 years, backing numerous "name" acts. Afterwards, he pursued a career as a soloist, having extended engagements at such local clubs as the Jai Lai and La Scala. For the last 20 years, he has been teaching piano in the Columbus area.
Al Myers ~ A resident of Ashville, mutli-instrumentalist Myers was a member of The Georgia Crackers throughout their glory days, including their stint in Hollywood. However, as Hank Newman and his brothers moved into semi-retirement, he continued with the Al Myers Quartet/Quintette. He also worked with many other local musicians, including the Buckeye Fourt, Morrie Kline Trio, Ragtime Strutters, etc. In an article in Guitar Player magazine, entitled "The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking", Rich Kienzle cites Al Meyers (sic) as one of a handful of pioneers who branched off from Merle Travis and Hank Thompson. He refers not only to his work with the Crackers, but with Bob Newman and steel guitarist Jerry Byrd. Many of the early King country recordings feature Myers as part of the studio band.
Elaine Ostrander ~ A resident of Mt.Vernon, Ohio, Ostrander has been a member of Local 103 since 1959, and was a resident of Columbus for 11 years while earning a bachelor's in clarinet performance and master's in music education at The Ohio State University. In addition to playing sax and clarinet in the group Satin Sounds, she is a noted conductor who has been associated with the Worthington Civic Band for 25 years. Ostrander is a strong supporter of music and music education in Ohio, not only through her activities as a musician and conductor, but as president of the Colonial Music chain with stores in Worthington, Hilliard, Westerville, Reynoldsburg, Newark, and Mt. Vernon.
Don Patterson ~ Patterson, who was born in Columbus, attended University High School. Beginning on piano, he was influenced originally by Carmen Cavallaro (who was to move to Columbus later), then Erroll Garner. He switched to organ after seeing Hank Marr (or Jimmy Smith in 1956, according to Leonard Feather who omits Marr and Bryant from his jazz encyclopedias), but his technique remained "piano-like". At the Club Regal, Marr gave him his first opportunity to play the organ. Later, Marr was to recall that he "saw something in his eye . . . he was affected just like I was and decided he, too, had to play this thing . . ." Marr introduced Patterson to the stops, demonstrated how to do the bass line, etc., but "the rest he pretty much taught himself". Soon Patterson was playing the Regal with his own band, but didn't debut on the organ until 1959. After playing with a number of musicians, he settled in with Sonny Stitt. Patterson went on to establish himself as, perhaps, the premier jazz organist, second only to Jimmy Smith, with numerous recordings on Prestige and Muse. .
James "Jimmie" Peppe ~ Born in NYC, Peppe settled in Columbus in 1910 and attended North High School. At 16, he enlisted to fight Pancho Villa, but routinely entertained the troops on mandolin, banjo, and guitar. Returning to Columbus, joined Walter Smith's Orchestra at Indianola Park (where he was recognized as the first "modern" banjoist in Columbus). Soon, he organized own band, the State Rhythm Kings, playing Spring Lakes, the Green Mill, and Valley Dale. In 1925, he became Zez Confrey's manager. Two years later, he began managing Valley Dale. Along with his brother Lou, he leased Valley Dale in 1932. Three years later, he took over as director of the band department of CBS in NYC. At one time, Peppe controlled 52 bands, including the biggest in the country. He personally managed Sammy Kaye Orchestra. Responsible for booking all the name bands into Valley Dale, Buckeye Lake, and Cedar Point.
Raymond "Papa Honk" Powell ~ Powell came to Columbus from Douglasville, Georgia, with his family and began attending the Ohio State School for the Blind, where he met Ronald (later Rahasaan Roland) Kirk. Kirk encouraged him to take up the saxophone and soon he was playing area gigs. During the early 'sixties, Powell traveled throughout the midwest performing with his friend Willie Pooch, eventually landing a job with honky tonk organist Bill Doggett. While in Omaha, Nebraska, he met his wife-to-be and brought her back to Columbus to start a family. He has continued with play with several local blues bands, including Sean Carney & the Nite Owlz and Willie Pooch. He can be heard on their recordings.
Norman Tyack ~ A graduate of Bexley High School, Tyack is widely known for having played piano for 18 years at the Wine Cellar, where he undoubtedly could still be found if they hadn't torn it down. Since then, he has worked around the area as a soloist and, for many years, with the Anne Young Trio.
Betty Vaughn ~ A pianist/vocalist, Vaughn's first job was as last minute replacement for Edith Clark (sister of The Harmonaire's "Ham" Clark) accompanying Edward "Bunky" Redding. She then moved onto the piano bar at the Dell. In the late 'fifties, she began working with Bill McDonald at such places as the Jai Lai, Pink Elephant, El Tempo, Jenny's, Coral Reef, and the Copa Club. For five years, she was a member of the Boyd Moore Band with a young tenor sax player named Ronnie Kirk (later Rahsaan Roland Kirk). By 1994-1995, Bill and Betty were working as a duo at the River Club. Vaughn, who works under the name Vaughnteh, has worked alternately in combo's under her own name and McDonald's.
Earl Wild ~ "The last the of the great Romantic pianists", Pittsburgh-born Wild began his career as a recording artist over 66 years ago and has appeared on some 20 different labels. As recently as 1997, he received a grammy for his album "The Romantic Master", which was recorded in his Columbus living room/studio. He has made his home in the capital city for more than 15 years after moving here to teach at The Ohio State University. Acclaimed as "one of the 20th century's greatest pianists", Wild was a concert hall veteran by the age of 19. In 1937, he joined the NBC network as staff pianist as well as performing in the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. Two years later, he was the first artist toe perform a piano recital on US television. His performance of Rhapsody in Blue in 1942 established him as the major interpreter of Gershwin, although he had not played any of his other compositions. Over the decades, Wild has participated in many premieres and has collaborated with many of the greatest conductors and performers of this era. On the lighter side, Wild also worked with Sid Caesar on his TV program, contributing many parodies and burlesques which are still considered classics. For his 85th birthday in 2000, Wild celebrated with a stellar concert at Carnegie Hall!