We are extremely proud to have earned the trust and respect of our vast clientele, from beginning students to professional musicians. Here are some testimonials from our loyal customers...
Saxophonist and Retired Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Ensembles at Illinois State University.
For more than two and a half decades, Jim Boitos’ jazz groups won individual and group awards at college jazz festivals throughout the country. Boitos was a featured soloist at the 5th World Saxophone Congress, London, the 6th World Saxophone Congress, Evanston, and the 7th World Saxophone Congress, Nuremburg. Mr. Boitos has also free-lanced with Pearl Bailey, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams, Cab Calloway, Nancy Wilson, Louie Bellson, and many others.
"I have known Carl for close to three decades now, and have seen every effort that he has made to improve, upgrade, and resurrect instruments considered long dead. There is a term in physics called the "Lazarus Effect" that describes the phenomenon of bringing back the life of dead atoms, similar to humans who are pronounced Deceased yet regain a pulse miraculously. Carl's most recent reconstruction of a Selmer soprano sax that was torn apart by the monstrous tornado that hit Washington, IL, is a work of art. Carl has the touch of a Master craftsman of the highest level.
I recently bought a washed-up Conn curved soprano sax from the 20's , and it was the first one I have ever seen that wasn't satin silver plate, only nickel, and it was rough. Had two good notes, total. Didn't expect too much, just wanted a toy, a distraction for times of boredom, but after Carl completed its rebuild, wow, this baby blows!! It is all I play now.
Simply put, I have never met any group of craftsmen who have dedicated more effort in improving and updating their business than Carl, Travis, and Austin Thacker. Whatever wind instrument you choose to leave in their hands will be returned in better playing condition than ever before!!!!" – Jim Boitos
Professor of Trombone and Chair of the Brass Division at University of Illinois. Elliot has been involved in instrument and mouthpiece design with brass makers including Bach, Conn, Kuehnl and Hoyer, Yamaha and Greenhoe Trombones. He was invited to become a Schilke Performing Artist/Design Consultant in August 2014, and has since designed mouthpieces and a trombone.
“Carl’s Pro Band has quickly become my absolute first choice for general brass repairs and trombone slide work. I have recommended them to all of my students. Their work is absolutely top-notch and flawless! We are very lucky to have such high quality craftsmen in Central Illinois!” – Elliot Chasanov
Principal Tubist with the Ash Lawn Opera and an active freelancer and chamber musician in the Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex, Texas.
“I am always secure in the knowledge that whenever I take my horns to Carl and Travis that they will be treated with the utmost professional care. Consider me a very satisfied customer!” – Chris Combest
Professional Trumpet/Flugelhorn player & teacher in Seattle. Thad is a graduate of Illinois State University.
“Carl has been repairing and maintaining my horns for almost 10 years. Despite that fact that I live and perform in Chicago (now Seattle), I still make the trip down to Bloomington every time I need to have some work done. He’s the only one I trust! Thanks Carl.” – Thad Franklin
Professor of Saxophone/Jazz Band Director at Illinois Central College, Director of the Illinois Central “Jazz Train” Orchestra, private instructor & performing saxophonist/pianist.
“On your website, put me under “Good AND Satisfied Customers!” It is a pleasure to recommend technicians of your quality. Peace.” – Larry Harms
Professional jazz trumpeter and composer/arranger for Ray Charles from 1991-2004. David is the director of the Heartland Jazz Orchestra, jazz improvisation instructor at Knox College, maintains a large private lesson studio, performs constantly and is an in demand educator. Be sure to contact him for brass, piano, improv, or composition lessons!
“I took my precious NY Bach trumpet in to Carl and Travis in a panic. A gust of wind had knocked it over onto the concrete stage of an outdoor gig, throwing everything out of whack and rendering it unplayable. Within 2 days it was as good as new, actually better than new, since it had been cleaned and adjusted as well as repaired. I would recommend them to anyone.” – David Hoffman
Jeffrey Holbrook is currently the Associate/Acting Principal trumpet of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea, and at the age of 23, is the youngest member of Korea’s oldest and most esteemed classical symphony orchestra. He assumed his position in the orchestra in the summer of 2006, just a few months after completing his undergraduate degree in Trumpet Performance from The Juilliard School. Jeffrey is originally from Normal, IL.
“Despite living out of Illinois and the US for years, I always come back home to get quality work done on my horns. We’re lucky to have Carl’s Pro Band in our community!” – Jeffrey Holbrook
Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Ensembles at Bradley University, Dr. Kelly also directs the Bradley Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Combos, teaches Jazz Improvisation, and serves as the advisor for the Music Business program. He is also a performing artist and artist/clinician for Conn/Selmer in Elkhart, Indiana.
“Carl and Travis, thanks for the excellent work on my Bach horn. It’s great to know that there is someone in the area who really knows how to work on trumpets. I am happy to recommend your work to all of my students.” – Todd Kelly
Originally from Normal, IL, saxophonist-composer Adam Larson, endorsed artist for P. Mauriat saxophone, Rico Reeds and Bari mouthpieces, began playing saxophone at the age of 11. He has earned a Bachelor's & Master's Degree from Manhattan School of Music (graduating with honors). He has released numerous albums, maintains a constant performance schedule, and is an in demand clinician throughout the US.
“Carl’s is simply the best! I’ve trusted Carl & Travis with my horns since 2003, and even since my move to New York City, they’re still the only people I trust with all of my saxophone needs! You won’t find service any better, I guarantee it!” – Adam Larson
Ed "Doc" Livingston is a legend in the tuba world having performed as tuba soloist with the United States Army Field Band in Washington D.C., on New York City?s Radio City Music Hall and for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus to name a few. Ed studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein and was selected to solo for the Queen of England performing the Richard Strauss E-flat Horn Concerto. Over the years, Ed enjoyed playing his tuba professionally in London and the United States. He's known throughout the Midwest for founding Illinois State University's "Big Red Marching Machine", the world's largest college marching band of it's time. We are honored to have had Ed as a friend and loyal customer, and were deeply saddened to have lost him in 2012.
"A big hello from Ed! Click the link above to see my latest project. As most of you know, I gave away all of my tubas over the years to deserving friends. But, this 100+ year old Holton was too good to give away at this time. It is a magnificent Holton EEb with a sound from the past (fat, centered, in tune, Bill Bell like). In other words the good old days of silver and workmanship. Carl and Travis (masters of the repair world) did all of the restoration. They are, without a doubt the finest repairmen in our nation. Carl and I go back 30 years before Travis (his son) was born. I have never, LET ME REPEAT THAT, never let anyone touch my tubas. Only, Carl and Travis. YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME!" – Ed Livingston
Jim Markum is an area legend trumpet player and band leader! Jim leads the Jim Markum Swing Band, New Vintage Band, Dixieland Jazz Band, and Touch of Brass Quintet. He maintains a busy teaching and playing schedule throughout the Midwest.
“Just want to say thanks again for the GREAT job you guys do! Always takin care of me and my horns!” – Jim Markum
Chip McNeill is a Full Professor and Chairman of Jazz Studies at The University of Illinois. He was formerly the Musical Director and saxophonist for Grammy Award winning recording artist Arturo Sandoval, and Musical Director and saxophonist for legendary jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. Chip's list of recording/performing credits as a tenor saxophonist include such notables as Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Nat Adderley, David Liebman, Maynard Ferguson, Duffy Jackson, Ira Sullivan, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Ted Shumate and Larry Willis.
“Carl and Travis Thacker at Carl's Pro Band are instrument technicians of the highest order and have done great work on both of my saxophones and my flute. They are very thorough and take extra care in getting things right. I highly recommend them for any saxophone and woodwind repairs!” – Chip McNeill
A veteran saxophone and flute player for over 30 years, Garard has toured with an array of different styles of bands including hard-hitting R & B, Rock and Roll and Smooth Jazz. After a 3-year stint with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, he found himself sharing stages with national acts including Bachman Turner Overdrive, Brian Adams, Aerosmith, Spyro Gyra and Grammy winners Ko Ko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks. He currently plays with array of bands from blues and country to jazz.
“Carl & Travis, I don’t know what you did to my horn, but that thing plays better than it did when I first got it! Carl's Pro Band has the best music sales and instrument repair in Illinois ..that is no bullshit. I trust no one but these guys to take care of my horns. I've been dealing with Carl's for over 20 years and have NEVER had to return a repair.” – Garard Montague
Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at University of Illinois. Micky has been a featured artist at international conferences of ITEA, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Horn Society, and the International Brassfest. In demand as an artist teacher/performer, he has appeared as a soloist, chamber music performer and clinician in Taiwan, Venezuela, Columbia, Poland, Spain, Belgium and at many schools and universities throughout the United States.
"I have been bringing school, student, and my personal instruments to the Thacker's for many years. They have always given me excellent, quick and the best service and advice. I trust them completely for all my help with musical instrument service." – Mark "Mickey" Moore
Born in Towson, MD, and raised in Decatur, IL, 2012 Jazz-Phil USA Competition Winner and Bari Woodwinds Endorsing Artist Matthew Muneses is a 25-year-old saxophonist currently residing near Chicago, IL. Matthew has become recognized as an up-and-coming talent, garnering recognition as a finalist in multiple fellowship competitions throughout his education as well as winning the 2012 JazzPhil-USA Annual Jazz Competition, thus becoming one of the most on-call young musicians in the area.
“Carl's Pro Band is the only shop I trust my horns with – bar none! These guys have helped me keep my horns in top playing condition and supplied me with every mouthpiece and reed I've used since 2007! I recommend them to any horn player!” – Matthew Muneses
Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at Illinois State University. Andy is the principal tubist with the Heartland Festival Orchestra and the Sinfonia da Camera and has performed with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony and the Virginia Symphony. Prior to his arrival at Illinois State, Andy was the principal tubist with the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band and the Heritage Brass Quintet located at Langley AFB in Virginia.
“As a tuba player, I was always a bit leery about leaving my horns with an unknown repairman for fear that the instruments would return in worse shape than when they came into the shop! Well, it is safe to say that my worries are gone as I would trust Carl and Travis with my own child! They perform fantastic work on my large, cumbersome tubas and I will continue to recommend their shop to all of my friends in the tuba world. It is challenging to find repairmen that can handle the repair needs of a tuba player, and I am blessed that two of the best are right here in my hometown! Thanks for all of the fantastic work!” – Andrew Rummel
Eddie Rushing was a rock 'n roll saxophone legend in the Central Illinois music scene, and a true "walking miracle" after having a heart transplant in 2001. He played with a sound and tone all his own and was a true fan of music. We were deeply saddened to loose our dear friend Eddie in 2014 and we know he's still playing with tons of "whammy" somewhere!
“Carl and Travis will bend over backwards to please their customers. I’ve had nothing but success dealing with them. I’m happy to recommend Carl and Travis to every musician I meet!” – Eddie Rushing
Nick Schroeder is a professional musician and serves as an educator and coordinator of Jazz Studies at Hutchinson Community College in central Kansas. He has performed with The Temptations, indie-rock band Spoon, The Rat Pack, The Four Tops, The Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Marvin Hamlisch, Fred Wesley, Les Elgart Orchestra as well as regional symphony orchestras of Buffalo, Indianapolis, and Champaign/Urbana. His most recent position of Split Lead trumpet/jazz trumpet/vocal group with the Glenn Miller Orchestra is one of many achievements as a versatile freelance trumpet player originally from Central Illinois.
“Carl's Pro Band has provided elite maintenance and repair for my musical needs for 15 years and counting. Getting my horns back from them is Christmas morning for a professional musician!” – Nick Schroeder
Gary Shaw is Professor of Music and Chair of Winds, Brass and Percussion at Millikin University where he teaches trombone and conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Gary performs with the Millikin Brass Quintet, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and is a soloist with the Decatur Municipal Band. He is a clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc.. and plays on a Greenhoe 88H trombone. Gary earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Master of Music degree from Boston University and the Bachelor of Music Education degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.
"I have been bringing my trombone to Carl and Travis at Carl’s Pro Band for many years and am always happy with their excellent workmanship and customer service. I am extremely picky about my slide. Carl and Travis are absolutely the best!" – Gary Shaw
Dr. Magie Smith is the Professor of Clarinet at Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Smith teaches clarinet, directs the Community Music Program, and has taught courses in general music. She is an active recitalist, orchestral musician, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the country having performed with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Danville Symphony Orchestras.
"I have been trusting Carl with my instruments for the past 8 years because my clarinets always feel great after he works on them! Also, I appreciate the friendly and affordable repair. I insist that my (EIU) students drive the extra distance to have Carl work on their clarinets." – Magie Smith
Doug Stone was raised in Peoria, Illinois and began playing the saxophone professionally at age 10. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. In fall of 2004 and winter of 2005 Doug toured with Maynard Ferguson and the Big Bop Nouveau. In 2009 Doug moved to Rochester, NY to pursue a master’s degree in jazz performance, and a master’s degree in music education at the Eastman School of Music. He is currently teaching private saxophone lessons, Youth Saxology, and Jazz Theory II for the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, New York and is an adjunct faculty member at SUNY Brockport. In the summers Stone is a faculty member at the Birch Creek Jazz Camp in Door County, WI.
“I know when I take my Conn 10M to Carl's it will come back in peak playing condition. I am usually only in Central Illinois for brief periods and Carl's turn-around time is always amazing. I have lived away from Central Illinois for many years and have been forced to take my horn to other shops. Nothing compares to Carl's Pro Band. I am thankful to consider myself a part of the Carl's Pro Band extended musical family!” – Doug Stone
Few other flutists in history have made such indelible marks in so many musical circles. From jazz to pop to classical, television to film to the concert hall, Jim Walker has never met a crowd that didn’t love his powerful, “stand and deliver” performances. His star began to rise when Jim was named Associate Principal Flute in the Pittsburgh Symphony after a stint playing in the US Military Academy Band at West Point. He quickly gained the admiration of colleagues and audiences in Pittsburgh and set his sights on Principal Flute jobs. After eight years he won the Principal Flute position in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and never looked back.
“Very best wishes and special thanks to Carl Thacker for the great repair work.” – Jim Walker
Saxophonist Ryan Weisheit has been a part of the New York City jazz scene since 2008 after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from University of North Florida, studying under renowned educator Bunky Green. Since moving moving to the city he has played at many of the city’s top jazz clubs, including Smoke, The Iridium, and Fat Cat. Ryan is an active member of the Swing and Traditional Jazz scenes, and can be heard regularly at venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn, including The Standard Hotel, The Edison Rum House, The Flatiron Room, and Epistrophy Cafe.
“What I wouldn't give for the Thacker crew to move to the East Coast! I always make a point to visit them when I'm in the area, and I almost hope I need something worked on so I can bring them a horn to look at. They're always professional, friendly, knowledgable, and always very reasonably priced. I've been a proud customer for more than 12 years and haven't been even slightly disappointed once! Keep up the good work.” – Ryan Weisheit
Glenn Wilson is a professional jazz saxophonist, recording artist, and composer who toured/recorded with Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Machito, Tito Puente, The Bill Kirchner Nonet, Mel Lewis, Toshiko Akiyoshi, & The Bob Belden Ensemble.
“One of a working musician's best friends is a good horn technician. I've had many technicians work on my horns in my 30+ years of professional playing, including many in NYC and there have only been two people I would consider 'professionals'. Carl is a true professional.” – Glenn Wilson
Keith Zimmerman is Professor of Saxophone at Bradley University, and also maintains a large private studio. He holds a B.M.E. and an M.M. in saxophone performance from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1967 and 1970, respectively, and did graduate study with American concert saxophone pioneer Cecil Leeson at Ball State University. Zimmerman was a student of Canadian concert saxophonist Paul Brodie, and, as the recipient of a scholarship from the French Ministry of Culture, he pursued extensive post graduate study in France with Daniel Deffayet, professor of saxophone at the Paris National Conservatory while living in Nice and Paris, France.
“Carl & Travis, You folks do a superb job. None better anywhere. ” – Keith Zimmerman