Gallery is a music-history masterpiece


The view looking out from the top floor of the Palladium is turning into a panorama to be proud of as redevelopment continues to reshape the core of Carmel. But turning around and looking inward while on the top floor offers a view quite different. Nestled in the Southwest quadrant of the upper level of Carmel’s most famous building is a collection of artifacts which help give context and meaning for many of the performers who grace the stage each week. The Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Archive and Gallery is a special place attracting more and more visitors who wish to learn about the rich musical history of America.

Karen Kelsey is the executive director of the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative. She, along with several volunteers and staff, ensure the materials collected throughout the years by Michael Feinstein and Terrence Flannery will not only be protected and preserved, but available to be enjoyed by the public. As you exit the elevator and step onto the third floor, flappers, speakeasies, and Prohibition themes from the Roaring ‘20s easily come to mind. Entering the gallery, the soundtracks of unbridled revelry that marked the decade are waiting for you to explore. The current exhibit, “Blast from the Past: Roaring Hot ‘20s Jazz” showcases some of the musicians who helped change the sound of jazz forever.

Through the use of current technology, the gallery comes alive and turns into a multimedia educational center for the Songbook. A touch screen monitor allows visitors to see and hear the music as it was performed on stage and screen while digitized images turn the four walls of the gallery into a life-sized textbook. Exhibit cases display special pieces from the era. The exhibit will run through November 2013. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I had the opportunity to experience the gallery for myself during the taping of Carmel’s newest video broadcast series airing on Brighthouse Channel 16 and available online at and at the City of Carmel YouTube Channel.The brief video segments will quickly bring more information to Carmel households about what is going on in Carmel and highlight your friends, neighbors and work associates who are behind the effort. Enjoy.