We at the Indianapolis Zoo lost a dear friend earlier this year when Chuck Workman died in March at the age of 79.
A popular Indianapolis-area jazz radio host, he played an instrumental role in helping us begin the Animals and All That Jazz summer concert series back in 1988. Workman took a very hands-on role with the series, and the musical talent he helped to bring in each year has helped Animals and All That Jazz become one of the longest-running events at the Zoo. You can read his full obituary in the Indianapolis Star.
Meg Magsamen, special events and advertising manager at the Zoo, was honored to have worked with Workman during the concert planning process each year.
“Chuck Workman was eager and passionate about jazz,” she said. “He took great pride in promoting all genres of the industry, doing his part to keep Indy's jazz future as rich as the past.”
His passion was a huge contributor to the success the concert series has enjoyed over the years. So it seemed very fitting that we would kick off the 24th year for Animals and All That Jazz with a celebration of the man who helped to start it.
For opening night on Thursday, July 12, 2012, Cynthia Layne will offer a musical tribute. Layne was one of the many area jazz musicians who closely with Workman for years. Read what other musicians said about Chuck Workman for an in memoriam story in NUVO.
There will also be special remembrances by WTHR-TV’s Chuck Lofton, the official emcee for the evening, and WICR-FM’s Doug Housemeyer, both of whom were longtime friends with Workman. And as a permanent reminder of Workman’s numerous contributions to the Zoo over the years, we’ll also place a special plaque near the Café on the Commons plaza, where each of the concerts will be held. Magsamen fondly recalled how Workman would joke with musicians at Animals and All That Jazz about the nearby lemurs listening in on their performances.
“He often told new musicians that they had 'made it' when the lemurs jumped to the beat during a show,” she said.
“While Chuck had many endearing qualities, we dearly miss the passion he brought the Zoo through the event he helped to create and grow. “
Please join us for a celebration of Chuck Workman's life and contributions during Animals and All That Jazz, from 5:30-8:30pm July 12, at the Zoo. We also encourage you to share with us any fond memories you have of Chuck Workman or of past Animals and All That Jazz concerts.