News Column

Fest boasts nonstop entertainment

June 10, 2014

By Debbie Blank, The Herald-Tribune, Batesville, Ind.

June 10--The 41st Batesville Music and Arts Festival, slated for June 18-20, is re-inventing itself with a fresh headliner, the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra. Starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at Liberty Park, 16 musicians -- 14 instrumentalists and two singers -- will perform a two-hour concert of big band, patriotic and Broadway melodies.

"A Summer Evening in the Park" is the show's theme. There could also be tunes from the Great American Songbook and others made famous by Frank Sinatra or composed by Hoosiers Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael.

Musical director and lead trumpet player Jeff Anderson doesn't announce the program prior to a performance as they vary at each venue "and we want folks to be surprised. Suffice it to say we will perform several 'wow' numbers."

He points out, "We've been recognized by the state Legislature as 'Indiana's official ambassadors of big band jazz.' We have recorded five albums that have been nationally recognized. The IJO is as good as any nationally-touring band out there -- better than most."

He promises, "Our performances are very general-audience friendly. If you love live music of the highest caliber, you will enjoy our performance. We guarantee it."

Some seating is available; attendees may want to bring chairs or blankets. (The show will be in the Batesville High School auditorium if weather is poor.)

The 16th annual Rural Alliance for the Arts Community Art Show "is a great way for artists to be recognized for their efforts by the community. In the past, we've had a great response of excellent art that normally would not be seen," notes coordinator Connie Rozman.

An art show reception and cash prizes awards ceremony for the artists and public will be held on the fest's second evening, Thursday, June 19, from 5-8 p.m. at Community Church of Batesville, 103 E. George St., where the art will be displayed in windows from now through June 28.

Nearby, a free Batesville Area Historical Society cookout -- "your basic wiener roast" -- in the museum garden, 15 W. George St., from 4-6:30 p.m. is a good way to start the evening, says President Sue Siefert. "Stroll through the garden (behind the building), then come inside to view the new 'We Remember' exhibit featuring military attire of area veterans," she suggests.

With the street blocked to vehicles, attendees will be able to wander from the art show to a concert by Mother Grove, a five-piece Celtic rock band, in the parking lot across the street from 7-9 p.m.The Batesville Memorial Public Library is sponsoring the Indianapolis band as part of its After Hours Concert Series.

The fest moves back to Liberty Park for the finale. The Country Showdown Friday, June 20, at 7 p.m. at the park pavilion will give area musicians an opportunity to gain wider followings. The contest is presented by Batesville radio station WRBI and Jim True Ford, Brookville.

The local competition is open to bands of up to seven members and singles. WRBI general manager Ronald Green observes, "The showdown is a great place to get discovered in the country music business."

From here the winner goes to the state contest. The Indiana title brings a $1,000 prize, according to Green. After regional fall contests of this 34th round of America's largest country music talent search, about $200,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded at the national final, including the $100,000 grand prize.

On Wednesday and Friday night at the park's festivities, Batesville Kiwanians will be grilling hot dogs, burgers and tenderloins, and will offer a few snacks and drinks starting around 6 p.m., according to Siefert. On Wednesday night only, slices of pies will be offered by the Batesville Daughters of Isabella.

The city-sponsored fest is organized by a committee led by George Brinkmoeller and Jim Sturges. It is funded by the John A. Hillenbrand Foundation, RAA, city of Batesville, a few businesses and freewill offerings from individuals during each show.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

A race is part of the fest, too An athletic event rounds out the three-day series. The Southeastern Indiana YMCA Music and Arts Festival 5K will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at Liberty Park. Wellness coordinator Becca Haugh says runners and walkers should participate "to support the community and Y. Everybody is welcome and it's going to be fun! They get to enjoy the music and arts festival afterwards, too." The 5K will offer awards to the overall male and female runners, with first-place medals and second- and third-place ribbons presented in each of five age categories. Entry fees are $12 per person or $30 per household if registered by June 11, including T-shirts. Fees after that are $15 and $40, respectively, but shirts can't be guaranteed. Event-day registration starts at 4:30 p.m. An awards ceremony takes place after the race. Entry forms are available at the Y or online at To get additional information or volunteer to help, persons may contact Haugh at 812-934-6006 or


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Source: Herald-Tribune (Batesville, IN)

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