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Letter: YES Cinema having tribute for Hoosier Charmichael

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From: Ron Adams


Received: May 13

When it comes to famous Hoosiers, they don’t come more renowned than Hoagy Carmichael or more prolific in their life and art.

Born just a hoot and holler over in Bloomington, Hoagy is most famous for his song, “Stardust,” which has been recorded more than 1,400 times. That was one of his first composed songs as well.

The legend is he wrote it one night on the campus of Indiana University. Hoagy was a proud graduate of IU and a lifelong Hoosier, although transplanted to sunny California where they had swimming pools and movie stars. Hoagy got his pool, and he also became a movie star in his own fashion.

Each generation comes to learn about the past in its own way. For me, I really first made a connection with Hoagy Carmichael when I watched a TV special in 1981 called “Country Comes Home.” What I saw on that program was Hoagy singing with Crystal Gayle (who grew up in Indiana). He was 82 at the time (he died a few months after recording the TV special) and held his own with the young country superstar. With charm and wit, he

performed some of his songs with her.

Gayle recalls: “I was very honored to work with him. I was very nervous, very much in awe. He made me feel at ease, though. That’s what a pro he was. He wasn’t feeling good at the time, but that camera came on and he lit up.” She sang a medley of “Lazy River,” “Lazybones” and “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” with Hoagy, followed by Ray Charles performing his definitive rendition of Hoagy’s “Georgia on My Mind.”

YES Cinema is having a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael at

7 p.m. Saturday, with a short concert by Tom Pickett and friends and the classic movie “To Have and Have Not,” featuring Hoagy.

The music of Hoagy Carmichael is something that makes you feel good, and it makes you proud that he was a Hoosier like you and that he never forgot that.

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