About Us

 

I was giving Big Joe a ride to the Cincy Blues Society's Blues Challenge one year and decided it was a good opportunity to ask a question I'd been wanting to ask for a long time.  "Nobody lives forever, Joe.  One of these days we'll both be gone.  If the opportunity ever comes up where I think I could use your name to do something good, do you mind?"  Joe got really serious and said, "Bill, if you can use my name to do anything good at all, you better do it."  I laughed and said I was just looking for permission, not a mandate.  I definitely did not expect Big Joe to pass away when he did.  I expected him to live years longer, like his father did.  So, now we're on a mission from Big Joe.  We'll get there.

The Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation is an Ohio non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the memory and ideals of Big Joe Duskin, who passed away May 6, 2007.  Big Joe was quite possibly the premier boogie-woogie pianist of all time. One thing Joe loved to do was perform in-school educational music presentations. He also regularly advised students to study the local professional musicians around them, rather than a few well known players, to get a better breadth of knowledge.  To honor Joe, our foundation has one and only one goal:  

"To provide educational music experiences and encouragement to participate in school band for as many public elementary students as possible, primarily using local professional musicians." 

Most cities today have great local professional musicians. We pay local musicians $125 per person, up to $625 per group, to perform at a public elementary school and encourage students to join their school band.  We encourage all students to learn to play at least one instrument and work with other local non-profit organizations to help them acquire an instrument and lessons. To do this, we have to raise the money we spend. We have IRS 501-c(3) tax status, so donations are tax deductible. Any and all assistance you could provide in pursuit of our goals would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at the address below,  Bill@BigJoeDuskin.org   or 513-505-3541 anytime. 

 

Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation
Attn:  Bill Hulsizer
2311 Mechanic St, Suite 205
Galveston, TX  77550


Over the years, many people have asked me why I do so much for music for children.  What's my motivation?   My grandfather on my mom's side had a marching band in East Schodack, New York for many years that performed concerts to raise money for the East Schodack Lutheran Church, where he was minister.  The church and a two room school were beside each other.  The main concerts were in front of the school, which had a larger front lawn than the church.  A stage was set up in the yard in front of the school for the band and local talent performances, as well as silent movies.  He and the church men made many plain wooden benches, which were set up facing the stage.  Ahead of time, he and my mom's family made homemade ice cream and root beer to sell and that night popcorn was popped to sell and hot dogs were grilled and sold.  All proceeds supported the church.  He taught children to play in the band, too, and got them an instrument if they couldn't afford one.  As a Lutheran minister, he always dressed in black with a white collar, so he managed to get some pretty good deals on good used instruments in pawn shops in Albany and the Bronx.  My mom and her five brothers and sisters also played in the band, so music was pretty important in my family. 

Rev. Charles Martin Witthoft's East Schodack Marching Band

When I was about 10, my mom got the soundtrack album for "Hello, Dolly" and we went to the movie.  She pointed out Louis Armstrong saying, "Your Grandpa plays trumpet and your uncle plays trumpet and your cousins play trumpet and you can learn to play trumpet, too, but it's really hard, so you have to really want to do it and try really hard..."   Did she ever set me up...  But then,...  a free concert in Cliff Park in Springfield, Ohio.  We went there often and got there early, but the place was already packed.  My dad told my sister & I that we should walk up the center to the stage and ask the people in front if they would mind if we stood in front of them, so we could see.  My sister & I stood with our hands on center stage for the Duke Ellington Orchestra with Louis Armstrong on trumpet performing "Hello, Dolly" songs.  We knew the words to every song on the album and sang along with everything we knew.  Everyone in the 30 piece band was smiling and waving at us throughout the show.  I ended up shaking hands with both of them that evening.  And I've been hooked ever since.  Yes, I played trumpet for five years until the end of 9th grade.  That's when I had my nasty high speed basketball accident while I had braces. 

Not good...  At all...   

So, if you can't play, then coach, right?

Bill Hulsizer