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Huber humbled by Hall of Fame induction

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wabash Valley Music Hall of Fame Board of Directors representative Brad Anderson (right) poses with Matt Huber after his induction ceremony.
For more than 30 years, his name has been synonymous with the Brazil Concert Band.

For that matter, his name has been synonymous with music in the area.

And earlier this month, Matt Huber was honored for it.

Huber, along with 20 other Wabash Valley musicians, was inducted into the Wabash Valley Music Hall of Fame, during a ceremony which took place at the V.F.W. Post 972 in Terre Haute. He joins several other Clay County musicians who have been inducted.

"I consider it a true highlight to be recognized for whatever I've contributed to music here in the Wabash Valley," Huber said. "I just thought it was really special to be inducted."

Brazil Concert Band Historian Betty Niswonger-Green told The Brazil Times other Clay County musicians that are members of the Hall of Fame include Boone Dunbar (elected in 1994), Wayne Jenkins (2007), John Penry (2009), and Jim Chesterton (2009). In addition, Andy Snowden, who engineered the band's two CDs, "Jewell of the Wabash," and "The Brazil Special," was also inducted this year.

Huber became the director of the Brazil Concert Band and Jackson Township Community Band in 1982.

But he's been involved since 1968, beginning his tenure with BCB as a trombone player.

The lifelong Clay County resident graduated from Brazil High School in 1971 and received his degree from Indiana State University.

From there, he began teaching at Ridpath Elementary School in Greencastle before moving to Greencastle Middle School. He taught in the Greencastle School Corporation for more than 30 years.

His background is in elementary education, but he taught in the social studies department and dabbled in the music department as well.

Currently, he serves as a substitute for Clay Community Schools as well as working with the Vigo County School Corporation.

Huber was 29 when he began directing BCB. Before becoming the full-time director, he would assist.

Former North Clay Middle School Band Director Jim Thistle directed BCB for five years before Huber took the helm. From a historical point of view, Huber is the longest serving director for BCB. J. Gus Davis and C. Wesley Damm both directed the group for approximately 20 years.

Throughout these 29 years, Huber said he has seen many new faces and some of the same ones.

"A lot of people, a good number of musicians, are still here," he said. "It's exciting to see new people join (BCB) every year. I think we had a record number of new people join last year, but the membership roughly stays the same from year to year."

Huber said he and his family took a vacation to Florida in December. When they came back, the letter informing him he had been inducted into the Hall of Fame was waiting at his doorstep.

"It's was kind of a surprise," he said. "When we got home, there was the letter. It was dated Dec. 17, which was actually the day we left for Florida.

"I felt quite honored. For many years, the Hall of Fame has been for rock and country western musicians. Apparently, they're moving into other music genres now."

Niswonger-Green said while at the ceremony, the inductees, family and friends were treated to entertainment provided by a host of area musicians, including Huber's brother, Tim, who performed with friend Jeff Wisbey.

Niswonger-Green said those selected to the Hall of Fame must be at least 50 years of age and must have performed for more than 25 years. The nominee also has to fill out a questionnaire about musical experiences. She added there are approximately 240 musicians who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the past 18 years.

Throughout his musical career, Huber's presence has been felt around the Wabash Valley.

But even after being inducted into the Hall of Fame and all the other accolades he has receives, his mind is on setting up the 2011 BCB schedule.

Huber said the first concert of the year, scheduled to take place Sunday, June 5, at the Forest Park Bandshell, will be in honor of his friend Jim Dressler, former Brazil Times' Editor, who died in January.

The show will be titled, "Seen and Heard."