can be heard around the world
arranger now lives
quiet life north of Madison
(January 2008) Carroll DeCamps mother
was a clear soprano, but she was also mom to seven children.
It might have been her frustration at not being able to pursue a career
in music that made her influence her first born to get into it.
My mother decided Id be a musician, said DeCamp. Its
all I ever wanted to do. He has been playing music for 80 years.
by Amy Casebier
played music with
many famous people
in his career.
DeCamp began teaching himself to arrange music as a teenager.
He would ask musicians what key their instruments were in and work from
He went on to receive a bachelors degree in music for composition
from the Jordan College of Music in Indianapolis in 1951.
Afterward, DeCamp arranged for several musicians, such as jazz great
Stan Kenton in the early 1970s for about year, and for Les Elgart of
big band fame from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
Today, DeCamp still arranges music and has about 130 arrangements published
for different musical groups. The groups range from big bands to jazz
bands to full orchestras.
Included with a recent royalty check that he received from Broadcast
Music Inc. was a report on in what countries around the world musicians
were recording and performing his arrangements. The list was long and
included Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, Romania, the Netherlands
and Portugal, among other countries.
Johnny Mandel is DeCamps favorite arranger, he said. Mandel composed
the theme for the television program M.A.S.H. DeCamp decided that he
wanted to get to know Mandel, so he called a friend of his to get Mandels
address. DeCamp sent Mandel a tape with an arrangement he had done,
called Nature Boy, and Mandel contacted him.
He said its some of the most amazing writing Ive
ever heard, DeCamp said. It made me extremely happy.
It made my day; made my year.
Not long afterward, DeCamps house in North Vernon burned in 2004.
There were copies of everything Id written since I was a
teenager in there, he said.
He contacted Mandel again, this time to ask Mandel to make a copy of
the tape for him, since he had lost everything.
Incidentally, Nature Boy is DeCamps favorite arrangement
that he has done over the years because it got Johnny Mandels
attention, he said.
After the fire in North Vernon, DeCamp moved to Madison. He lives with
his good friend, Ziddy Matthews, whom he met while she was managing
the former Madison Country Club when he played piano there.
DeCamp also plays the guitar. He traveled for 10 years playing for Henry
Mancinis orchestra, spending five years on the guitar and the
other five on the piano from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
For a while, DeCamp worked in Indianapolis at nightclubs and had a television
gig. He was part of a trio that appeared on Channel 13 around 1960.
The program was called By George for George Willeford, the
host. The trio played popular songs of the time and behind acts that
traveled through Indianapolis.
I got to meet a lot of name acts, DeCamp said.
However, DeCamps talents are not limited to music. He also writes,
paints watercolor and sketches.
Despite DeCamps talents in other areas, local musician Brook Reindollar
first met DeCamp through music in 1987 after Reindollar graduated college
and returned to Madison. The two played together.
Hes very humble when it comes to his performances,
Reindollar said. Hes a wonderful player, wonderful musician.
When Reindollars father was still alive, the two would get together
with DeCamp and Matthews almost every Wednesday, Reindollar
said. We got a private concert from Carroll.
Reindollar introduced local musician Jimmy Davis to DeCamp. Davis studied
guitar with DeCamp for more than a year.
I think Carrolls a genius, Davis said. Hes
a valuable resource that most people in town dont know about.
His nephew is proof of that.
DeCamp taught his nephew, Royce Campbell, about music during the two
years Campbell lived with him. Now Campbell is a world-renowned jazz
Back to January