Independent Silver Band

Echoes of Yesteryear

              Meet the        Independent Silver Band


William L. Reynolds- Band Master

   "Bill" is a native of Mt. Vernon, and the son of musicians/music teachers
.   A graduate of Old Union Grade School, and Mt. Vernon Twp. High School, he earned a bachelor of music education from Murray State University, where he was solo euphonium with the M.S.U. marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, and brass choir.  He has done graduate work at S.I.U. Carbondale, S.I.U. Edwardsville, and Murray State University.
    He has Performed with the Jackson Tennessee Symphony, the Rend Lake Symphony, Alton Symphony, and Centralia Cultural Society.  He has toured with many circuses, and has done a number of movies.
    Presently, Bill is the instrumental music instructor at Sandoval School District, and plays with the Kaskaskia Concert and Jazz Band, the Southern Illinois Concert Band,  and
Tom Baker's Mardi Gras Brass

Mike Launay- Vocalist

Big Mike Launay is a native of Mt. Vernon, a graduate of Mt. Vernon Christian School where he studied music, and played trumpet under Bill Reynolds.  He attended Pensacola Christian College, in Pensacola Florida, where he began his studies in vocal music.  He has sung with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus under Hans Vonk, and continues his studies in vocal music and repertoire. His"day job " is car salesman at Ford Square in Mt. Vernon . 

Norman (Buddy) Frerguson- E flat Cornet


The man with the iron lip, lives in Trenton Illinois, and is now the proud father of a baby girl.  Buddy graduated from Wesclin High School,  and has been busy as the "first call' trumpet player in the Metro East area of Illinois.  He is the lead trumpet with Kaskaskia Jazz Band, and first trumpet with The Kaskaskia Concert Band.  he also is a regular with the Highland Muny Band, and the Greenville Muny Band, as well as other groups in the area.

John Upcraft- E flat Cornet


John is the man noted for his sweet sound on the E flat cornet.  Although he claims permanent psychological damage, he studied with Bill Reynolds as a fifth grader, and went on to graduate from Mt. Vernon Twp. High School.  He was solo and lead trumpet with the Rend Lake College Jazz Band, principal trumpet with the Rend Lake Symphony, and was chosen to sit in with the St. Louis Symphony as a high school student.  John has his own geological company, and is active as a soloist, and a member of the Tom Baker's Mardi Gras Brass.

Tom Baker-B flat Cornet

Tom resides in Salem where he was born and raised.  He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelors in Music Education. Following graduation, he taught in Indiana public schools for five years , and played trumpet and guitar professionally in the Indianapolis area for fifteen years.  In 1988, Tom accepted the position of Band Director at the Franklin Park Middle School in Salem from which he retired in 2008.In addition to The Independent Silver Band, he plays and/or sings with the Kaskaskia College Concert and Jazz Bands, Kaskaskia College Concert Choir,  Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra, Homecoming Gospel Choir, Mt. Vernon Central Christian Church, The Evangelaires, and Heirmen of Victory.  Tom is also the leader of  Tom Bakers Mardi Gras Brass.

Len Campbell- B flat Cornet

Len, of Nashville, Illinois, is a retired law enforcement officer and a veteran of the U.S. Army. He had not performed for about thirty years, but now is busy playing in a variety of groups. He has played, with several community bands and ensembles including the Kaskaskia College Concert and Jazz Bands  Homecoming Gospel Choir Brass, various ensembles and in pit orchestras. He regularly plays in his home church in Nashville. Registered with Bugles Across America, and an active member of The American Legion, he plays Taps at military funeral services in the Southern Illinois area. Len plays lead trumpet in Tom Baker's Mardi Gras Brass.  In The Independent Silver Band, Len usually plays B flat cornet, but doubles on flugelhorn, and occasionally plays the E flat alto horn.

Dean Mount- B flat Cornet

After a career as music composer, and arranger of music advertising in the Detroit area, Dean retired to Fairfield Illinois, where he is now busier than when he was working.  Dean has been playing professionally since the age of fourteen, and continues to play with many jazz groups, and the ISB.  Although we tease him about being the last of the original band, he is somewhat younger than 125 years, although he is reluctant to tell us how close he is.

Henry (Hank) Villani- B flat Cornet


Hank hails from Carbondale Illinois, where he graduated from Carbondale Community High School, and attended Southern Illinois University as a trumpet major, playing in the Southern Illinois University Marching band, concert band, wind symphony, and jazz band.  He switched to to the study of law, and now is one half of Villani and Villani law Office, although we don't know which Villani he is.

John Odle- B flat Cornet

John Odle has operated Gandy's Body Shop in West Frankfort since 1980.  John came up through the West Frankfort school system, and obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he studied under Larry Franklin, and performed with many of the S.I.U. organizations.  After graduation in 1974, John taught music for four years in Cobden Illinois, followed by two years at the Logan School in West Frankfort.  John has remained active in music by performing with, and conducting the Southern Illinois Concert band, as well as the Pyramid Players Orchestra.  John currently the minister of music in the Immanual Baptist Church in Benton Illinois, a position  he has held for twenty- nine years.
John lives in West Frankfort  with his wife, Sally.  They have four children and five grandchildren.

Steve Loomis-E flat  Alto Horn

   Steve is a former elementary school teacher and coach. He is currently a researcher at the Centralia Area Historical Society Museum.  He is a graduate of SIU Carbondale where he was a member of the Wind Ensemble and Marching Salukis.  Steve plays the E flat alto horn with the ISB.
    Today he is an active member of the Kaskaskia College Community Band and the 33rd Illinois Regiment Civil War Band.
     His leisure pursuits include running and biking.   Steve also enjoys feature writing for magazines and newspapers, and is conducting a research project on historic brass bands of Southern Illinois. 

Mat Webster-E  flat  Alto Horn

Mat grew up in Effingham County, and began playing trumpet in grade school. Majoring in Music Education, he graduated from Lake Land College, Mattoon, and from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston. During college, he was active in jazz, marching and pep bands as well as singing in choirs. Since graduation, he has completed graduate work at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Mat began his teaching career at Tri-City Schools in Buffalo, moved over to Rochester, and currently is teaching at Iuka where he teaches general music in grades kindergarten through eighth grade, directing the beginning band, and directing the advanced concert, marching, pep, jazz bands, and choir. In The Independent Silver Band, Mat plays the E flat Cornet. Mat also plays French Horn in the Kaskaskia band, and doubles on Eb alto horn in the ISB.


Kendrick Vaughn- B flat Trombone


In high school, Kendrick was principle trombone of the Centralia Marching Showcase, Centralia Illinois, when they won the state marching competition.  He has played in the Kaskaskia band, the Centralia Cultural Society Symphony, and many other groups around the Southern Illinois area.  Kendrick is currently an administrator et Crossroads Hospital in Mt. Vernon.

Richard Davis- B flat Trombone

Richard comes from the city of Fairfield. and his been active in music since fourth grade, although his occupation is in the insurance industry.  Richard plays in the Roasted Chestnuts brass quintet, the Olney Municipal Band, and the Fairfield Municipal Band.  Richard is passing the torch to the next generation as his son Blake occasionally plays with the ISB, and is pictured in the group shot at the top of this page.

Randy Atkinson - B flat Trombone

Randy hails from the state of Ohio, and now makes his home in Mt. Vernon where he has his own accounting business.  Randy played in the Marine band, and dropped out of music after his enlistment ended.  After twenty years, Randy bought another trombone, and is now active with jazz groups, Central Christian Church Praise Group, the Kaskaskia Bands, and of course, th ISB

Andy Messerli- B flat Tenor Horn

 Andy graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelors in Music. While there, he performed with many ensembles, including the Panther Marching Band, the Jazz Lab Band, the Wind Ensemble, and the Eastern Symphony Orchestra. He holds alumni memberships in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Kappa Kappa Psi. Andy was the band director at Casey Middle School in Mt. Vernon, until he was offered an assistantship at Bowling Green State University, at Bowling Green Ohio. 

Rob Dycus- B flat Baritone Horn

Rob was born in Mount Vernon, but grew up on the farm in rural Waltonville. He and his four siblings all were talented musicians. He and one sister have remained active with music and are music teachers. Rob attended Rend Lake College then graduated from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. While in college, he was the principal baritone player with the Wind Ensemble. Following his graduation in 1978, he taught for 16 years in the Sandoval school system. Rob is currently teaching Instrumental Music and Band at Centralia Junior High School. Over the years, he has played with many local groups and has served as guest conductor, judge, and clinician throughout Southern Illinois. In the Independent Silver Band, Rob is performing with an 1888 Missenharter Baritone horn. Rob and his wife, Nina Kay, reside in Mount Vernon with their four very active daughters, Kaylee, Kaycee, Kaydee, and Kenzee Kay. ("Kay" appears to be his favorite name!) Rob enjoys coaching his daughters’ softball teams and watching them participate in their various activities which include playing musical instruments and singing.


Dan Reynolds- B flat Bass Horn


Dan Proclaims the title as the world's sexiest tuba player, and although this may be disputed, his ability to  hold the low end of the ISB is not.  Dan is the minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, where the ISB holds it's rehearsals.  Dan attended Mt. Vernon Twp. High School, Rend Lake College, Northern Illinois University  as a voice major.  He has toured with circuses, and singing groups, and now owns and operates his tire recycling business.

Don Kragness- Snare Drum




Don has recently retired from the Johnston City Junior High School, and schedules the ISB performances around his travels.  Don graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in music education.  His applied major was percussion, and he studied with Sam Floyd.  Don was the show drummer on Circus Kirk, and now plays with the Southern Illinois Concert Band.  On some occasions, Don is joined in the percussion section by his son, Tobey.

Frank Winchester- Bass Drum, Cymbals

Although Frank prefers to be referred to as a "Percussionist" he holds the tempo on bass drum, and cymbals with the ISB, and does so most expertly.Frank is a native of Murphysboro, but now resides in Mt. Vernon. After high school he attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he studied percussion with Mike Hanes and received his Bachelor of Music Degree in 1974, and his Master of Music Education Degree in 1982. Frank taught band and chorus for three years at St. Anthony Junior and High Schools in Effingham, Illinois. He served as Director of Instrumental Music for twenty one years at Egyptian Community Unit District Number 5 in Tamms, Illinois. Since June of 1998, he has been the band director at Mount Vernon Township High School. Frank and his wife Kathy have two  children, Anne and Joshua.

In Addition To Our Members Above, We Depend On Our Qualified Substitute Musicians

Connor Burge

Colton Burge

Jim Achenbach

Kevin Martin

Blake Davis

Gary Showalter

Chuck Hake

Ted Hartley

William Biby

Troy Kirkpatrick

Robert Reynolds

John Reynolds

Bruce  Groll

Jory Kees

B Flat Cornet

E Flat Alto Horn

 E Flat Alto Horn

B Flat  Trombone

B Flat Trombone

B Flat Tenor Horn/Baritone

B Flat Baritone/Trombone

BB Flat Tuba

C Tuba

BB Flat Tuba 

Bass Drum




Mt Vernon, Illinois

Mt. Vernon, Illinois

 Collinsville Illinois

Carbondale,  Illinois

Fairfield, Illinois

Carlyle, Illinois

Nashville, Illinois

Johnston City, Illinois

Christopher, Illinois

Mt. Vernon, Illinois

Mt. Vernon, Illinois

St. Louis, Missouri

Carterville,  Illinois

 Johnston City, Illinois

Please Sign Our Guest Book

The background  music is Stephan Foster's  Old Dog Tray.  Mike Launay vocals.