For the first time, three distinguished individuals will be honored for their lifetime contributions to music in southeastern Indiana.
Jim Helms (left), Kenzie Bentle, and David Kling. Photo provided.
(Batesville, Ind.) – The Southeastern Indiana Musicians Association has announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
This year’s inductees include: Edith Bentle Blasdel, Ed Krause, Randy ‘Rudy’ Mattox, Joe Powell, Jeffrey ‘Poe’ Withered and Garry ‘Zerbe’ Withered.
For the first time, SEIMA will be honoring three individuals for their lifetime contributions to music in southeastern Indiana. They are Kenzie Bentle, David Kling and Jim Helms.
All nine individuals will be honored during an awards ceremony on Saturday, November 3.
Historically, the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place at the Aurora Farmers Fair, but this year the ceremony will take place at The Gibson Theater in Batesville.
Bio’s for each of the nine honorees have been provided by the Southeastern Indiana Musicians Association:
Edith Bentle Blasdel. Greendale. (Posthumously)
Piano, Organ, Violin.
Member of the multi-talented music Bentle Family with some members in The SEIMA Hall of Fame. Member of a local Community Orchestra along with her husband, Elvin Blasdel and conducted by Raymond Mettler. Edith was the keyboardist for The Bright Christian Church and played at many area venues with Elvin. Very accomplished piano teacher with numerous talented students. Credited for not only teaching music, but gave them courage, patience, enthusiasm, boosted morale, and passed on the love of playing music. Passed away in 2014 at the age of 101.
Ed Krause, Batesville
Keyboards, Percussion, Saxophone, Vocals.
Gained notoriety as the drummer member of The Dantes; a popular local band for many years. Co-founder of another popular local group, Matrix, with Deno Koumoutsos. Ed played many instruments including keyboards and saxophone as well as lending vocals on many of their songs. For many, Ed is a principle member of The Eureka Band from Batesville playing the sax. The Eureka Band is the longest established group of its kind in The USA. Ed and his wife Debbie are very active with various local community organizations donating their time to help out.
Randy ‘Rudy’ Mattox, Aurora
Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals.
Played bass guitar with The Dave Baker Band. Played bass and backup vocals for Uncle Chub and The Mud Ducks. Considered by many to be the best lead singer in Southeastern Indiana, Randy formed The Ragin’ River Band in 1981 and won multiple rounds of the legendary Cincinnati Battle of The Bands. He has also performed at many Southeastern Indiana establishments, benefits, wedding receptions, and Harley of Cochran’s Party’s.
Joe Powell, Batesville
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals.
Very active in the music scene of The Southeastern Indiana for over 70 years. Was in the well-known local group, The Country Travelers, along with Bernie Gilbert and Carroll Stenger were around for nearly three decades. Before that, Joe was with the group, The Sundowners, with Jim & Margaret Kennedy and Bobby Mackey, in which Joe help mentor Bobby before moving on to stardom. More recently, forming the family group, The Powell Family Singers along with wife Doris, siblings, and other family members. Invited to and played at Renfro Valley, Kentucky. Well-respected not only for his musicianship, but also for church and community work.
Jeffrey ‘Poe’ Withered, Aurora
Electric & Acoustic Bass Guitar, Cello.
One of the most respected bass guitarists in Southeastern Indiana, Poe has shared his talents with many groups including Visual Kaos, Stranger, Grimlock Fog, and Harley Day & The V-Twins. His group Visual Kaos has opened up for Warrant and his group Grimlock Gog opened for Overkill to a sold out show at Cincinnati’s Bogards. His music has been featured on Cincinnati’s WEBN and Class X. Poe is generous in helping filling in for absent bass players and helping out with charity events when asked. Poe’s brother, Zerbe, is also going into The Hall of Fame.
Garry ‘Zerbe’ Withered, Aurora
One of the most popular drummers in Southeastern Indiana, Zerbe has thrilled the area for over 40 years in groups like Missing Persons, Borderline, Speedlimit, Fog, Withered, Harley Day & The V-Twins, and Just Faces. Currently with the group, The Indiana Mud Bogs. Zerbe is generous in helping out with charity events when possible. Zerbe’s brother, Poe, is also going into The Hall of Fame this year.
Jim Helms induction as a member of the Southeastern Indiana Musicians Hall of Fame follows a long career and wide range of experience in the areas of education, and TV entertainment as well as being a performing musician. His education career spanned 51 years including 35 years in secondary schools retiring as a high school principal, and an additional 16 years as a college chancellor. However he also has had a long career of some 60 plus years in music and entertainment along the way.
Jim started on a ukulele at age 9, got his first guitar at age 12, and proceeded to learn and play it. He began playing with a country band, Dempsey Sims and the Melody Ramblers at the age of 14 and received his first ever pay of $10 per night. He continued to play with Dempsey Sims and the Melody Ramblers for several years off and on even while attending college. He had also started playing with a Cincinnati based rock and roll band, The Rendezvous, around age 16 and was often playing with the country band one night and the rock and roll band the next night. Dempsey Sims and the Melody Ramblers recorded at King Records in Cincinnati and for Starday Records in Nashville/Madison, Tennessee. The band also played live on WMOH radio in Hamilton, Ohio in the late 1950’s and into the 60’s. At that time Jim played mostly rhythm guitar, but also played some lead guitar, bass, and sang. He also was an announcer on WMOH.
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Jim had also started playing organ about this time and by the mid 60’s was playing a weekly live organ show on WMOH radio. He began to devote much of his entertainment time to playing organ, which he would continue for the next 20 plus years. Jim signed a contract with the Chapelle-Johnson Entertainment Agency in Cincinnati in 1965 and worked with them playing organ for many years. He had several contracts over the years playing in the lounge a Glenn Schmidt’s Supper Club (now the Syndicate) in Newport, Kentucky playing 6 nights per week from 10:00 PM to 3:00 AM. He also worked at other venues on occasion and often played the infamous Beverley Hills Supper Club.
Then in about 1970 Jim formed a duo by adding Jack Ketcham who was an excellent drummer. They were different at the time as they were more of a “Night Club Evening” kind of entertainment. They not only had people dancing, but they also greatly incorporated the crowd and individuals as part of the show. The show included music, dancing, organized crowd participation, as well as humor, jokes, stories and fun. Those shows normally ran from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am. The duo played many private clubs and for organizations as well.
Thinking back on my musical journey, I believe it began with early piano lessons and my music teachers throughout public schools. My parents, although very frugal due to necessity, thought it important to start me on piano lessons at age 6 with which I continued through 8th grade. I had several different teachers, one of whom was particularly effective in motivating and challenging me to excel. My grade school music teacher was Dorothy Pennock who made music fun as she traveled from classroom to classroom with her accordion and a musical repertoire that always had everybody singing at the top of their lungs. Miss Pennock also was in charge of our band program, where at 4th grade she informed my parents that I should play trombone. I loved band and its interactive nature both musically and socially.
When it was time for Bright and Guilford schools to consolidate into North Dearborn High School, Charles Green was named as director. At this time, I was only in 6th grade but Charlie was ready to have a big band and he combined all of us into a marching band that would have its first performance at the Lawrenceburg soap box derby parade. We practiced by marching through Guilford and the old covered bridge that made us sound what we thought was big and impressive – one of Charlie’s trademarks! I was in the North Dearborn band throughout high school and with our invitations to march at the Indianapolis 500 parades we put Little North Dearborn High School on the map. Charlie made us all feel like we were 10 feet tall and bullet proof.
North Dearborn High School was also the birth place of a popular dance band that played throughout the area, Tom and the Dukes. It started out as an acoustic group with school horn players, string bass and Tom on the drum set. When Tom graduated and went off to the army and rock and roll became in vogue, the band became The Dukes, a 5 piece group with guitars, organ and drums. Charlie Green played the organ to help the group make this transition, but as the band became increasingly popular and in demand Charlie wanted to use his time in other ways. He came to me and said he needed me to fill in as organ player for the Dukes for the summer because he was going to Europe during the school break – wow was that cool! The thing was, Charlie never intended to return to the band and never mentioned it again! I was in and I was hooked. The Dukes played for dances throughout the area – Sunman Legion being our home base, and I continued playing organ with the Dukes throughout high school and college – it was great! In later years I continued playing in a weekend band called Free & Easy that played throughout the tristate area. I have always loved playing in a group, interacting with other musicians and being able to get keep a room full of people out on the dance floor because they are turned on to your music.
Speaking of college – I had planned on going into engineering, but instead caught the teaching bug early. I was a summer lifeguard at Bar K Lake in New Alsace where I also taught swimming lessons. It was here that I discovered my true passion – teaching kids. Soon it was time to figure out my future and pick a college major. Wait a minute, I loved music, I loved my high school band experience and I loved teaching
– it had to be that. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, my first teaching position was at Jac-Cen-Del Schools in Osgood, IN. It was here that I had the opportunity to learn it all: I taught beginning and intermediate band at the two elementary schools, junior and senior high school band, high school choir and show choir. I was crazy overloaded, but again, as a new teacher I was able to experience just about everything. After three years there I received a call from my old high school director, Charlie Green saying that North Dearborn and Sunman High Schools were consolidating into East Central High School and he needed an assistant and junior high band director – I was immediately onboard! I taught with Charlie for five years and then along came the consolidation at South Dearborn High School. This was my opportunity to take all of my experiences and build a new program of my own. Although difficult at first, South Dearborn became my home for the next twenty five years, where I was blessed to have the pleasure of experiencing thousands of students who passed through our music room doors to become our high school music family. It was always my philosophy to make our high school music programs interesting, educational, non-competitive and inclusive so that all interested students could have an opportunity to participate and gain pride in their accomplishments. I remain in touch with many of these students today through social media and am able to hear several of them play in bands in their adult lives. In my last five years at South Dearborn I was motivated to become principal where I was able to implement several systematic changes making the school more inclusive and friendly for all students.
It is now my pleasure in my retirement years to continue teaching music lessons at my home studio. It is here that I have the opportunity to offer individualized instruction, write my own music and exercises and enjoy introducing each student to the wonderful world of music. I found that my young students particularly loved playing Christmas music but were lacking in options of interesting music for other holidays. It has been a true gift for me to write and publish a series of holiday songs that are derived primarily from the way I perceived them as a young boy: “Mr. Kling’s Holiday Music for Students to Play, Sing and Enjoy” is educational, playable, and just plain fun – just the way I think it should be. I must say that I have always truly enjoyed my experiences playing music, but my sincere passion is teaching it to others.
Kenzie Bentle is a musician and educator from Southeast Indiana, He began his music career at the age of 10 playing drums in his brothers eight piece dance band named THE HARMONY LADS. Then as popular music changed, he joined the five piece Rock and Roll Band called THE DUKES, playing teen dances in the Tristate area. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and later obtained a Master’s Degree in Music at Ball State University. He was the drummer and music arranger for the show band COPS AND ROBBERS, which traveled throughout the United States playing night clubs and show rooms, He has also been the music director at Mores Hill High School, the assistant director for the East Central High School Bands, Director of the East Central Junior High Bands and the first music director of the Sunman Dearborn Middle School, He then later became the Head Director at East Central and the Music Department Head for the Sunman Dearborn Community Schools. He is the composer of the East Central High School Alma Mater and was the music director for Sunman Elementary before retiring from the school system. He has been a private music instructor for the Bowman Creative Arts Center located in Burlington, Kentucky. He also composed the horn arrangements on the album “HELICOPTER ROSE” by Blake Rainey in Atlanta, Georgia, He recently composed and recorded the music entitled “THE RISING” for the internet video “WHAT HAS OUR WORLD BECOME” on the websites, happinessfusiomcom and YellowBodhi.com, He is a solo pianist with a CD entitled “DIAPASON” on the Southern Lovers Music Label and Electron Sound Garden Studios of Atlanta, Georgia.