WABASH, IND — After getting acclimated to Indiana as a member of the artists in residence for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Ranaan Meyer had a dream to spread the gospel of his beloved instrument — the double bass. Now, this city of 11,000 Hoosiers that has embraced that vision for 15 years is watching its evolution to include other talented young musicians who will eventually grace the stages across the country.
"I knew there was something in the water here (in Indiana) that I had to be part of," said Meyer, bass player for Time For Three and the founder of what initially was a one-instrument clinic. After a brief pandemic shutdown, it has metastasized into three week-long clinics, and just about any instruments are welcome.
Meyer helped start the Wabass Institute for young bass players in 2008. In 2021, two more distinct programs were added to form what is now called as the Honeywell Arts Academy. While Wabass is still one of the residential institutes, there are now two other weeks of clinics allowing more young musicians to get a step up on their burgeoning careers; "Soundboard", focused on piano and keyboard players and "Resonance", which lets versatile musicians and already formed groups a chance to learn from one another alongside the world renowned faculty.
It started long ago, when Time For Three were still contracted to the ISO and when they were asked to play a private show for a man who would be instrumental, so to speak, in making Meyer's dream a reality, "this wonderful man named Richard Ford," Meyer said. His then-band mate, Zach DePue, told Ford of the idea Meyer and other bass players had for a retreat for bass players. "Richard was very intrigued, and asked if we would consider doing the program in Wabash."
All the student positions are paid for through scholarships. But while they are attending Resonance, Soundboard or Wabass, Meyer says they are not necessarily "students." "It's not a dictatorship. It's a democracy. Even with what we call faculty mentors — who are the teachers — and the fellowship scholars (the students), we're trying to bridge the gap — and consider all of ourselves teachers and students," Meyer said. "What that does is... give each other the empowerment to all feel like we have ownership of ourselves while also being humble enough to learn from one another.
Admissions for this year's programs happening in June are now closed. But there are many ways you can help the program continue to thrive for years to come, whether through direct giving, or simply spreading the word. "You may be thinking 'I don't have the means to support something like that in that way, you may know somebody that does. Spreading the word is a huge resource to any non-profit, so you may have more power than you think you have when it comes to supporting organizations.
You can also attend the concerts given by the Honeywell Arts students at the end of their week-long camps at the historic and recently renovated Eagles Theatre in Wabash. Resonance will present its recital on Friday, June 17. Soundboard's concert will be June 24, while Wabass Institute will wrap up the shows on Friday July 1. If you can't get to Wabash, you can also see the Resonance recital on Saturday, June 18 at 1:00pm at the Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis. also Click here to find out more about Honeywell Arts Academy and how you can help or attend their shows.