History

Richard "Dick" Quigley is a hometown son of Peru, Indiana. His greatest desire during his youth was to play saxophone in a big band. His early professional career was spent in the Miami County area honing his skills playing with several bands in service and social clubs. Dick eventually moved to New York where he studied with renowned saxophonist Ben Webster. Webster, observing Dick's potential, recommended him to Stan Kenton. After his tour with the Kenton band, Dick returned to Indiana and settled in Fort Wayne. It was here he made quite a name for himself as the most outstanding and sought after jazz musician. Later in his life, Dick moved to Florida in semi-retirement. He still played with several combos and big bands. After a few years, he then moved to Las Vegas and played with several big bands and casino orchestras. While in Las Vegas, Dick suffered a heart attack which seems to run in the family. His brother Bill had the same condition, and the brothers each had open heart surgery. After a period of convalescence and practice, Dick returned to the Peru area where he and an old friend, Tom Gustin, also a Peruvian, organized and performed the first Summer Jazz Festival in August of 1998. Dick said it was a most satisfying experience in his life. Playing his music for home town people gave him a more gratifying experience than he had ever known. After Dick's death, Tom assumed the responsibility of continuing the Jazz Festival as a memorial for his good friend and musical brother. Dick and Tom both remarked that once you make music with someone, they become family to you. Hence, the birth of the Richard Quigley Memorial Jazz Festival. Dick said, "We have the talent right here; let's put it to good use!" According to Dick and Tom's wishes, the festival has remained admission free, and only musicians from Peru and the surrounding area have been asked to perform. The three day festival is sponsored by grants, many volunteer donations, and the Peru High School Music Department. This will be the 22nd annual Richard Quigley Memorial Jazz Festival, and we're sure Dick would be quite pleased with the success of his initial dream..."to create in his home town, a festival showcasing his first love...JAZZ!"

Richard Quigley