Accompanied by fellow history lover and friend, George Hanlin, I re-entered the new Indiana Landmarks Center just after 4:30 for the “Classical Bash.” How lovely to see the Grand Hall overflowing with people—and grateful we were to be allowed drinks at our seats. Even better: free drinks—the Indiana Landmarks Wit, brewed by local Sun King Brewery quenched the thirst induced by such active listening. The program opened with horns evoking the commencement of a medieval jousting session—but alas, it was part of the introduction.


The ever eloquent President of Indiana Landmarks, Marsh Davis shared a few words of welcome, and a reminder about silencing cell phones –“or just throw them away,” I believe he said. (Perhaps in another life Mr. Davis was a comedian: his timing and delivery is always spot-on.) Davis went on to give a brief timeline and synopsis of how this idea germinated and how the Cook family became involved in this particular project, after decades of other preservation endeavors across the state. Of course, Davis also comforted the crowd with the suggestion that we all celebrate the far-reaching and long-lasting impact of Bill Cook’s generosity and legacy rather than dwell on the sadness of Cook’s passing.



The musical program continued with Geoff Lapin as emcee, and each song was complemented by alternating seductive hues of aurora borealis above us. The Landmarks Trio also including cellist, Lapin; Zach De Pue, violinist; and Marianne Tobias, piano wowed the crowd, as they had reputedly done for The Cook family those many months ago.



Next, guests were treated to harpist, Wendy Muston and organist, Martin Ellis and finally soprano, Sylvia McNair accompanied by pianist Kevin Cole. McNair explained that her original finale didn’t feel appropriate in the wake of Mr. Cook’s loss—the man, without whom, none of us would have had a celebratory event to attend. She selected instead, “American Anthem,” as a tribute to Mr. Cook.


The concert portion concluded with a song beloved by Hoosiers everywhere, or so I’m told (I wasn’t raised here, despite deep Indiana roots). We were all to join in a round of “My Old Indiana Home,” with the evening’s featured artists who reconvened on stage. A screen dropped down, and the crowd joined in song—the ending having been altered to give a nod to the occasion.


The concert having concluded, hundreds of people dispersed, spreading throughout the building, sampling the various offerings of Indiana Landmarks “premier caterers,” stationed on both levels of Cook Theatre. There were elaborate and lovely setups for all the culinary delights, but most exciting was chatting with the others in attendance; all effusive about the spaces, the acoustics, the impeccable overall restoration and the palpable pride of even being a part of it all. Aptly named: the event epitomized a Wondrous Weekend—but really, what won’t be wondrous in a glorious and magical space like the Indiana Landmarks Center? I left knowing I will be back at every opportunity; I can always use a little extra magic in my repertoire…

Yes, I witnessed history…with eternal thanks again to Bill, Gayle and Carl Cook–preservation heroes!