Yamma Ensemble in Wabash/Hartford City, Indiana

By Eric Young Smith

I arrived with Yamma Ensemble in Wabash, Indiana to find our hosts, Andrea Zwiebel and Tod Minnich, welcoming us to a wonderful reception. These two work with Honeywell Center, an incredible facility capable of hosting levels of celebrity and production one would think to find only in a metropolis. But, this is a quaint, beautiful, Midwest town, and it shows in the warmth of their smiles and the enthusiasm expressed by all attendees of the reception.

Both Andrea and Tod assured us that if there was anything we needed, we should not hesitate to ask. Are you kidding me? Our hosts, the Honeywell Center and 3M, provided me with accommodations at the historic Charley Creek Inn in downtown Wabash, while Yamma was staying at The Honeywell House, a great example of historic luxury and architectural beauty, which they now use as a bed and breakfast to accommodate guests from out-of-town. This wonderful inn has a caretaker, David Ericsson, who spoiled us every morning with fresh coffee and breakfast fit for royalty. It will be quite some time before I will be able to return to instant oatmeal and those drive-through breakfast sandwiches.

Reading the itinerary told me we had a week-long schedule packed full of engagements including workshops, receptions, and concerts. I braced myself for an exhausting week of demanding work with little time for rejuvenation. Fortunately, Andrea and Tod made good on their promise to take care of our every need. Every time a member of the ensemble requested help regarding accommodations or assets to work with, they responded with the lightning speed of a pit crew racing against the clock. In fact, their strength in anticipating our needs made my job easy. All through the week, they made sure the members of Yamma were comfortable and having fun.

We definitely made new friends in Wabash and Hartford City, Indiana. We, Yamma and I, loved the mid-week wine tasting at The Green Hat Lounge located in the Charley Creek Inn. After enjoying hours of fun conversation, the ensemble migrated to the piano bar, and this meet-n-greet turned into a dance and sing-along session.

After a week and a half, a day of rest finally arrived on Saturday. Our new friends, Amy Ford and her family, invited us for some quiet relaxation in the Indiana countryside with bicycling, hiking, and a wonderful campfire cookout, which allowed my musical friends to find soul-centering recreation and a chance to exhale with contentment.

Was this a busy week? Undoubtedly! But, when a schedule this full is rich with so much camaraderie and laughter it doesn’t quite seem to be work. Thank you Wabash, Hartford, and Blackford County for sharing this great experience with us. We are humbled by your incredible hospitality!

A large group of people poses in the countryside.
Yamma Ensemble poses with their new friends, the Ford family (Mark, Melissa, Erika, and Amy). Photo by Eric Young Smith.
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Hello all…. I finished the Caravanserai tour last night…. and now will follow you more closely!

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