"Chasing the Metamorphic Music and Life of Henry Fillmore" Concert

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Foellinger Great Hall), 500 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana

James Henry Fillmore (1881-1956) was an unconventional trombonist, composer, bandmaster, teacher and publisher who loved circus music, American football, fast cars, and Mike, his music-loving dog. Henry’s father and uncle owned and operated the Fillmore Brothers Company which was one of the country’s leading publishers of church music and hymnals during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but his love of the life and music of circuses was too strong to consider working for the family business, and he and his new wife, Mabel, joined the Lemon Brothers Circus where he was responsible for playing the trombone and calliope in the circus band. After leaving the circus life nearly a year later he returned to Cincinnati to join his father’s company to manage the company’s publication of new music for wind bands, much of it his own, and its traditional church music. As Henry’s reputation as a band leader, trombonist, and composer grew, his love of the music, colorful spectacles, and ringmaster attention of the circus were continually reflected in his new music compositions as well as his circus concerts with the Shrine Temple Band that he directed between 1921 and 1926 and his own Fillmore Band for WLW Radio broadcasts which often featured Mike, the “radio hound” between 1927 and 1932. The Cincinnati, Ohio Fillmore Wind Band will join the University of Illinois’ Wind Orchestra and Hindsley Symphonic Band in a musical extravaganza highlighting the diverse musical personalities of Henry Fillmore and his extraordinary influence on America’s early wind band traditions. In addition some very unique local canine musicians will be joining the bands in a special tribute to the memory of Mike, Henry Fillmore’s radio hound. For more information, visit http://archives.library.illinois.edu/sousa/american-music-month/.

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