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The Jimmy McDaniels Foundation, Inc.

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The Jimmy McDaniels Foundation Forms to Save the Music in Higher Education

Establishes scholarship programs at Butler University and Miles College for minority instrumental musicians.

Stamford, CT, June 19, 2010 --( In a lasting tribute to an extraordinary American and a 1984 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the family of the late James “Jimmy” McDaniels announces the formation of The Jimmy McDaniels Foundation, Inc. to award college scholarships to minority instrumental music students at Indiana’s Butler University and Alabama’s Miles College. Marla McDaniels-Heath of Stamford, CT, and the youngest of McDaniels’ two daughters, serves as president.

“We started this nonprofit foundation for two reasons,” states McDaniels-Heath. “First, much focus has been on a music student’s formative years and not enough on post-secondary music education. Second, Jimmy McDaniels, like most musicians in America, was an unsung and unselfish champion of the arts. The music programs at Butler, a NCAA Championship finalist, and Miles College, a historically Black college, will prepare a future generation of champions.”

Recognized as a musician’s musician, James “Jimmy” McDaniels recorded a long list of professional and personal achievements before his death, at age 80, in 2009. Some knew McDaniels as “The Piano Man,” others knew him as a soloist and guest conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony, but to many, McDaniels was the “leader of the band.” While Jimmy’s musical path was inevitable, this Alabama native and son of a music professor will long be remembered for not only the company he kept – Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams and Lionel Hampton – to name a few; not only for the venues he played, from symphony halls to major supper clubs throughout the United States; not only for the performances he delivered, including the 1989 Bush/Quayle presidential inauguration; but also, for his commitment to education, service and mankind.

Jimmy McDaniels led by example in the classroom, field, profession, community and on the stage. He excelled as a student at Miles College, the Toledo Bach Conservatory, Indiana University and as an education specialist with the Indianapolis Symphony; served his country as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and served his profession as a member of the Indianapolis Musicians Union Local #3. McDaniels was dedicated member of the Indiana Performing Arts Hall of Fame, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Sertoma, 100 Black Men, Tuskegee Airmen and the Kiwanis Club. He received a Governor’s Award for outstanding service to the Indiana community for organizing the Pendleton Reformatory jazz band.

The newly formed foundation has commissioned a traveling autobiographical exhibit, which celebrates McDaniels’ life and musical contributions. It will debut August 16, 2010, at the prestigious Irwin Library on the campus of Butler University. The foundation will host an invitation-only fundraising preview reception August 15, 2010. The exhibit will remain on display through September 30, 2010, and then travel the country before taking residence at its permanent home at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama.

For more information or to make a secure online donation to The Jimmy McDaniels Foundation, Inc., visit the organization's website or call

Contact Information
The Jimmy McDaniels Foundation, Inc.
Leisa Chester Weir
Marla McDaniels-Heath, President

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