Everett Hardy’s Name: Synonymous With Trombone

By Vince LaBarbera and Diane Whitacre  

   Everett Hardy is the principal trombonist of the Fort Wayne Area Community Band (FWACB). Born in Paris, IL in 1935, he began taking trombone lessons in fifth grade from Paris High School’s band director, Lou Waretlou. Hardy played in the high school’s orchestra, concert and marching band all four years. His only sibling, a sister, Caryl, played baritone throughout her high-school years.

   When Everett and some of his high-school band buddies learned that Spike Jones was coming to Paris to play a concert, the group played around town to advertise the concert. As a result, Jones invited them to play onstage at the concert.

   Everett graduated from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL with a bachelor of science in business. He was principal trombone in the orchestra, concert and marching bands, and in small ensembles there. In fact, he has played in more ensembles than can be listed in this article. He played in several Shrine bands, performing in competitions throughout the country including the East/West College Shrine Band in San Francisco.   

   Wherever he lived, Hardy joined the municipal band, to include in Danville and Champaign, IL. He joined the FWACB during its inaugural year of 1979. His late wife, Marilyn, also played in the Band’s percussion section and their daughter, Diane Whitacre, is  principal oboist.

   Everett and his future wife, Marilyn, knew each other since elementary school but became better acquainted through band activities. They were married for 67 years until she passed away in March 2023. Their four children -- Diane, Linda, Brenda and Janet -- all played in band.  Playing music was definitely a family activity.

   Professionally, Hardy was a founding member of the Three Rivers Brass Quartet and the New Millenium Jazz Orchestra. He played in the Old Crown Brass Band for 10 years, the late Dick Seeger's Band, and performed in [Plymouth Congregational Church’s] Boar's Head Festival for 42 years. He also played in the pit orchestra for the Civic Theatre for three years, IPFW Theatre, Center Stage Summer Theatre (with Marilyn), for the Shrine Circus for 20 years and Ringling Brothers Circus locally for one year.

   In addition, Hardy played for many Christmas and Easter services in the orchestra at First Presbyterian Church locally with his daughter, Diane, and also for their theatre productions. Often he would drive to Huntington to play in the Erie Band along with Marilyn and Diane.

   Hardy has a collection of many recordings with his “Ev Hardy and Clones” CDs, and became an expert with multi-track recording. His CDs have ranged from “music minus one” to quartets, sextets and even octets, wherein he recorded all of the trombone parts himself.  

   In 1991 he asked Diane to arrange a medley of famous trombone jazz quartets which he coined, “Big Band Bones.” The work was premiered by the Northrop High School Band in 1992, with soloists Barry Ashton, Dale Mayhall, Ed King and, of course, Everett Hardy. 

   Everyone who has known Ev over the years knows that he is quiet by nature, prefering to let his trombone do the talking.  He is the embodiment of musicmaking, and a role model for playing throughout one's whole lifetime.