A tribute to one of Richmond's musical legends is being planned by the Starr-Gennett Foundation. Al Cobine, 1946 graduate of Richmond High School and 1950 graduate of Earlham College, will be recognized by a concert in his honor on April 25th, 3:30 PM at Reid Hospitals Lingle Auditorium. Cobine, a resident of Bloomington, passed away in the summer of 2009.
According to Ralph Burkhart, a high school friend and long time Richmond High School music instructor, Cobine was one of the many students of Ben Graham, Richmond High Schools Supervisor of Music Instruction and Director of the RHS Band in the late 30s and 40s. While in high school, Al created a jazz band composed of his high school friends, one of whom was a young woman vocalist by the name of Polly Bergen who attended RHS at the time. Cobine's band played at high school and college dances throughout Central Indiana. During this time, he also prepared his own arrangements and began composing his own music for the band.
Cobine was pursuing a doctorate in International Relations at IU following his graduation from Earlham but his love of music finally led him away from academic studies. In 1955 he created the Al Cobine Big Band in Bloomington. In 1960 the Band won the Best Band Award from the American Federation of Musicians and was selected as the most promising new Band by the National Ballroom Association. The Band recorded many albums including a two volume set entitled Cobine Plays Carmichael.
A tenor saxophonist, Cobine played with Henry Mancini Orchestra for more than 25 years and was heard on many of Mancini's most remembered songs, such as Days of Wine and Roses, Pink Panther, and Peter Gunn. During his career, he published more than 100 works that he composed or arranged. He also was one of the premier music contractors in the country, providing orchestras for Mancini and other artists including Frank Sinatra.
The concert will feature a septet composed of members of the Al Cobine Big Band under the direction of Mike Lucas. A pre-concert discussion of Als career and the musical heritage of Richmond will begin at 3:00. Tickets are $10 and are available from the Starr-Gennett Foundation (765-962-2860), the Richmond Alumni Association, and the Tourism Bureau. Tickets will be available at the door, though seating is limited. The concert is sponsored by Wayne Bank and Trust and Reid Hospital with proceeds benefiting the Starr-Gennett Foundation.