With countless roads and rails leading in and out of the city in all directions, Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is a major hub of regional transport that connects the bigger cities of Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis. That suggests that, sooner or later, many big national musical acts would always pass through town on their way to someplace else. Unfortunately it isn’t always so. Someone once opined that the Indianapolis music scene is similar to a small child who plays outside only because there’s no TV in the house. But, the good news is, that without a huge selection of national acts to choose from, the “Crossroads of America” has been obliged to create a lot of home-grown musical talent of its own.
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Surveying the musical history of this Midwestern city of some 850,000 inhabitants, as well as the state in which they reside, one would find that there has always been a lot of music going on. For example, Indiana was one of the first places in the country where jazz music gained popularity outside of New Orleans and Chicago. In the late 1910s and through the 1920s Indiana had numerous bands of young musicians playing the new style. Richmond, Indiana was home to Gennett Records, known for recording a wealth of jazz, blues, and country music in the 1920s.
One might also notice the relatively large number, and high quality, of musicians born and bred in the Hoosier State - the most famous of his era, being Cole Porter who was born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891, and raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch, before rising to prominence as one of the country’s pre-eminent songwriters and musical comedy composers. Hoagy Carmichael, the pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader was born in Bloomington. He is best known for composing the music for Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, The Nearness of You, and Heart and Soul, four of the most-recorded American songs of all time. And jazz guitarist and virtuoso, Wes Montgomery, was born in Indianapolis.
The modern era produced Indianans, John Mellencamp, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, David Lee Roth of Van Halen, and Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and D.J. Ashba of Guns N’ Roses. A vibrant punk rock and new wave scene existed in Indianapolis in the 1970s, followed by Hardcore punk and alternative rock bands, some years later. In the 1990s, Indiana witnessed a burst of Hip Hop/Soul, a style brought from New York, Texas, New Orleans, and Chicago.
The Indy Jazz Fest’s first year was 1999. The annual music festival was created by a consortium of downtown Indianapolis hospitality, civic and business interests as a way to spotlight Indianapolis' rich jazz heritage. The inaugural event attracted over 55,000 fans, and the second year’s program included such notables as Al Green, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.
Today, music lovers of Indianapolis can hear a variety of popular musical genres at the city’s many clubs and venues, including: The Vogue, The Rathskeller, The Jazz Kitchen, the Old National Centre, Hi-Fi, the Tin Roof, the White Rabbit Cabaret, Radio Radio, the Melody Inn, the Hoosier Dome, the Klipsch Music Center, the Emerson Theater, and Birdy’s Bar & Grill.
But the city of Indianapolis is probably better known for its classical music. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) was founded in 1930 by German conductor and local violin teacher, Ferdinand Schaefer. Comprised of volunteer musicians who split the revenue from ticket sales at the beginning, the ISO became a professional orchestra with salaried musicians in 1937. Soon after, the ISO blossomed into one of the nation’s most renowned orchestras. An April 5, 1937 article in Time Magazine stated, “Of Midwestern orchestras, none has risen so rapidly or so recently as the Indianapolis Symphony.”
Indianapolis Early Music (IEM), founded in 1966, is America’s oldest, continuous presenter of music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical eras. Each summer, IEM presents an Early Music Festival, a series of six concerts over four weeks. The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis was founded in 1982 to discover major violin talent and nurture the careers of those identified. Every four years, music lovers from all parts of the globe focus their attention on "The Indianapolis," now regarded as one of the most respected music competitions in the world.
At Bison Disc, we work with musicians of every known genre. Because the thing that all musicians have in common is the desire to have their music heard. At Bison Disc, we honor that aspiration by duplicating and replicating music CDs, so that the artists who make them can get their music heard by more listeners. We also customize their CD packaging with a wide assortment of Jewel case, Jacket, Sleeve, Wallet, and Digipak designs.
Indianapolis is not a major movie production town, but it is filled with film lovers. Founded in 2004, the annual Indianapolis International Film Festival presents the largest variety of films in the city. And every October, the Heartland Film Festival gives its moviegoers access to more than 100 visiting independent filmmakers from all over the world. Two major Hollywood films that were shot in and around Indianapolis include: Eight Men Out, a dramatization of the 1919 Black Sox baseball scandal (much of the movie was filmed at the old Bush Stadium in Indianapolis); and Hoosiers, a basketball epic whose final scene was shot in Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Like the city of Indianapolis, Bison Disc is a company that has also produced a lot of home- grown talent. Our professional staff is simply the best there is when it comes to CD and DVD duplication and the creation of packaging products. When professionals and amateurs alike need cases, jackets, sleeves, Digipaks or other customized products, we like to think that our company, too, is at “The Crossroads of America.”
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