Urbana-Champaign Local Music Oral History with James Michael Powers

Beginning in 2013 the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music launched its Urbana-Champaign Local Music Preservation Initiative to better document the community’s vital music heritage.  A significant part of this effort has focused for the last three years on the long-term preservation of the historical papers, photographs, sound recordings, business records, and advertising broadsides that were produced by the musicians, venue operators, managers, audio engineers, and producers who helped shape the Urbana-Champaign music scene between the 1960s and 1990s.  In addition the Center’s staff have conducted numerous oral history interviews with many of these musicians, business operators, and audio engineers.

The Sousa Archives’ interview with James Michael Powers, one of the founding musicians of the Finchley Boys band during the late 1960s, is the first of several newly transcribed interviews to be made available online for those interested in learning more about the Urbana-Champaign community’s  vital music scene.  Powers’ June 12, 2015 interview describes his first-hand experiences as a young drummer growing up and making music in Central Illinois as a member of the Finchley Boys as well as his time performing in different bands in Boston and Houston.  He also talks about the many joys and challenges that he has encountered over the years as a performer and the many venues that he often performed at as member of our community.  Powers’ unvarnished commentary provides an engaging perspective of Urbana-Champaign’s music scene.

A complete transcript of Powers’ 2015 interview can be access at James Michael Powers interview transcript2, and a sample of the interview recording can be listened to from the following link.

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