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Testimonials

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...

JIM BOITOS

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. Jim currently plays with Disorganizer.

"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



CHRIS COMBEST

Dr. Chris Combest serves as assistant professor of music at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN where he leads an active career as a performer and educator. He has presented masterclasses and performed guest recitals throughout the United States and has served as an adjudicator for premiere international solo competitions. His former students have won and placed in international solo competitions; are members of U.S. military bands; and occupy college teaching positions. Prior to joining the faculty at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Combest served on the faculties of the University of Texas-San Antonio, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chris’ Site

“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



SAM FAGALY

Sam Fagaly is the Director of Jazz Studies at Eastern Illinois University. He conducts the EIU Jazz Ensemble and is a Professor of Saxophone. He also teaches jazz theory, jazz history, and Jazz Band Techniques. Under his direction, the EIU Jazz Ensemble has performed at IAJE, IMEA, and with numerous guest artists such as Joe Williams, Snooky Young, and many others. He has been active as a clinician and guest soloist throughout the nation and has been featured at the Region V North American Saxophone Alliance Conference performing in both classical and jazz styles. He has performed as a featured soloist with many distinguished Jazz artists including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Shew, and Sarah Vaughan.

Sam's Site

"I am very glad I found Carl’s Pro Band many years ago. I have had them overhaul and maintain all three of my saxophones. They are true artists in their profession and I can’t imagine anyone doing better work—anywhere. I also send my students there for work on their instruments. A few of them have even purchased new horns. Finally, they are great people. Carl, Travis, Shannon, and the whole staff are a pleasure to be around. I couldn’t recommend anyone more highly." -Sam Fagaly



THAD FRANKLIN

Mr. Franklin has been a professional musician, composer, and arranger since the age of 21. From his Chicago base, where he lived until 2010, Franklin was recognized as one of the most original and creative young musicians on the scene. In 2003 he received his Masters Degree in Music Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Since then he has performed, recorded and toured with hundreds of groups ranging from classical chamber, folk, Latin, flamenco, modern jazz, rock, pop, avant-garde, and electronic. Although trumpet is his main instrument he is also proficient at guitar, bass, drums, vocals and piano.

“Carl has been repairing and maintaining my horns since the 90's. He’s the only one I trust! Thanks Carl.” – Thad Franklin


LARRY HARMS

Retired 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


DAVID HOFFMAN

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

Jeffrey Holbrook is currently the Associate/Acting Principal trumpet of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea, and at the age of 23, was 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



TODD KELLY

Dr. Todd Kelly is the Chair of the Department of Music at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.  Dr. Kelly teaches trumpet, directs the Bradley Jazz Ensembles and Hilltop Combo, teaches Jazz Improvisation, and serves as an advisor for the Music Business program.  The jazz program at Bradley includes a big band, a New Orleans brass band, a combo, and courses in Jazz Improvisation and Jazz History.

Dr. Kelly maintains a busy performing schedule in the Central Illinois area with the Water Street Stompers, Brazilionaires, the Todd Kelly Jazz Quintet, the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra, Four Other Brothers, JC and the Redemption, Inner Light, and as a freelance jazz and classical musician.


Todd’s Site

“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



ADAM LARSON

Originally from Normal, IL, Adam Larson is an American saxophonist, composer and author. An endorsed artist for P. Mauriat saxophones, The Boston Sax Shop and Key Leaves, Adam began playing saxophone at the age of 11.

Described by critic Howard Reich of The Chicago-Tribune as “a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined”, by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen as “a saxophonist who brings Donny McCaslin and Mark Turner to mind”, and by Nate Chinen of The New York Times as “the sort of jazz musician who gets flagged early on as a promising talent and then hustles to meet every requirement for success”, Larson has garnered numerous awards that distinguish him as one of the most promising artists of his generation.

We are extremely proud to have serviced Adam's saxophones since he was in 5th grade and consider him a dear friend!


Adam’s Site

“Carl’s is simply the best! I’ve trusted Carl & Travis with my horns since 2003, and even since my moves to New York City and most recently Kansas 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 LIVINGSTON

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.

Ed's Holton EEb Tuba Repair

"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

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.

Jim's Site

“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

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.

Chip's Site

“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



GARARD MONTAGUE

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, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Spyro Gyra, and Grammy winners Ko Ko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks. He currently plays with an 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 bull! I trust no one but these guys to take care of my horns. I've been dealing with Carl's for over 30 years and have NEVER had to return a repair.” – Garard Montague



MARK "MICKEY" MOORE

Retired Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the 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.

Mickey's Site

"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



MATTHEW MUNESES

Matthew Muñeses is a saxophonist and educator residing in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Although his introduction to music came through violin lessons at the age of six, music would not take a serious role in his life until he began playing the saxophone four years later.

Matthew received his B.M. in Saxophone Performance at Illinois State University in 2011 and his M.M. in Jazz Performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. During this time, Matthew studied with Dana Hall, Chip McNeill, Ron Bridgewater, Tito Carrillo, and Chip Stephens.

Matthew's Site

“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



ANDY RUMMEL

Dr. Andy Rummel is Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. A native of Delavan, Illinois, Andy received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Performance degrees from Illinois State University in Normal and his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Andy is the principal tubist with the Heartland Festival Orchestra 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. Andy has been a featured guest soloist with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, the Vermont Youth Philharmonia, the Prairie Wind Ensemble, the Rockford Wind Ensemble, the Brass Band of Central Illinois as well as with many high school bands and orchestras throughout the Midwest. He has been a featured recitalist at many international and regional tuba-euphonium conferences has served as an adjudicator for several international and regional tuba solo competitions.


Andy’s Site

“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

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 lose 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

Dr. Nick Schroeder serves as the visiting assistant professor of music and interim program director of jazz but has been with Friends since 2016 as an adjunct brass improvisation instructor. He received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and both a Master of Music in Jazz Studies and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Schroeder is a freelance trumpet player, the jazz band director at Washburn University Summer Jazz Combo Camp, a bandleader at Salt City Big Band and has performed with notable groups such as The Rat Pack, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Guy Lombardo Orchestra to name a few. Previously Dr. Schroeder was the coordinator of the jazz program and music instructor at Hutchinson Community College.


Nick's Site

“Carl's Pro Band has provided elite maintenance and repair for my musical needs since 2000. Getting my horns back from them is Christmas morning for a professional musician!” – Nick Schroeder



GARY SHAW

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




MAGIE SMITH

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.

Magie's Site

"I have been trusting Carl with my instruments since 2008 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

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 the 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.

Doug’s Site

“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




JIM WALKER

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.

Jim’s Site

“Very best wishes and special thanks to Carl Thacker for the great repair work.” – Jim Walker



RYAN WEISHEIT

Born in Normal, Illinois, I began studying saxophone at the age of ten, primarily to impress my childhood friend, who told me that the saxophone was "the coolest instrument".  Turns out he was right.  

After graduating from high school I moved to Jacksonville, Florida to study under the legendary alto saxophonist and educator Bunky Green at the University of North Florida.  Private study with the master left a lasting impression on me, and solidified my dedication to jazz saxophone.  I will forever be grateful to the time I had with Bunky, and I highly encourage all of you to familiarize yourself with his recordings.  Also during my time at UNF, I was able to perform with some of the greatest living jazz musicians of the time, including Dave Brubeck, Slide Hampton, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, Kurt Elling, Ron Blake, and many more.  This proximity to legends of the craft was an enormous inspiration to me, and I've been trying to live by their examples ever since.  

After graduating in 2008, I made the move to New York City to pursue a Master's degree from Queens College, studying with Antonio Hart.  Antonio drove home the importance of getting back to the basics: mastering the most basic elements of the instrument, such as scales and arpeggios, as well as the importance of a good sound and a good feel.  

I perform on soprano, alto, tenor, and bass saxophone as well as clarinet and bass clarinet with a number of NYC-based ensembles.


Ryan's Site

“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 since the early 2000's and haven't been even slightly disappointed once! Keep up the good work.” – Ryan Weisheit



GLENN WILSON

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.

Glenn’s Site

“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

Keith Zimmerman served as Professor of Saxophone at Bradley University, and also maintained a large private studio throughout Central Illinois. He held 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.

We were deeply saddened to have lost our friend Keith in 2020 and hope he is still practicing hours a day, teaching and playing somewhere.

“Carl & Travis, You folks do a superb job. None better anywhere. ” – Keith Zimmerman



Contact Us
  • Carl's Pro Band
  • (309) 828-4676
  • Email Us
  • 1806 E Empire St.
    Bloomington, IL 61704
    • STORE HOURS:
      Mon - Thurs: 8am-5:30pm
      Fri: 8am-Noon & 1:15-5:30pm

      Sat: 8am-Noon
      Sunday: Closed
 
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