Our thanks to Russell Estes ’50 for correspondence detailing his experiences in 1948-49 with the Joe Bearden Dance Band.
Along with a letter, Estes sent a photo and a CD of the band’s music, featuring “Too Old to Dream,” “Autumn in New York,” “Portrait of Jeannie” and “Disc Jockey Jump.” The CD is now a part of the Staley Library archives.
Although Estes didn’t recall the names of all the band members, he did identify the following musicians, five of whom were Millikin students at the time: Jack Eddie, trumpet; Russell Estes ’50 and the late Elmer Sampson ’51, trombone; George Holland ’50, tenor saxophone; Kenneth Wiley and the late Bruce Hayden ’51, alto saxophone; Emile Hatton, baritone saxophone and the band’s leader and organizer, the late Joe Bearden ’49.
Referencing an article in the spring 2010 issue of Millikin Quarterly, Estes wrote, “Being a graduate from 1950, I was pleased to receive the [Millikin Quarterly] that included a story about the jazz program in the music department that was created in 1960. It brought back many memories of my time in the music department, the tremendous opportunity to study trombone with Professor Howard Akers, being advised by Dean Ploenges and playing in a jazz band/dance band …
“It is always a tremendous pleasure to receive information about Millikin. I spent many happy and challenging days, months and years there.”