Eskenazi Health Indiana Avenue Music Legacy Concert Series Begins Feb. 6

Indianapolis, Jan. 24, 2020 – In recognition of Black History Month and to inaugurate the Eskenazi Health Indiana Avenue Music Legacy Series of concert performances, renowned keyboard artist Rodney Stepp and the Stepp Walker Project will perform a free concert at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 6.

The performance will begin at noon and take place in the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Concourse at Eskenazi Health. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Eskenazi Health Parking Garage, located at 720 Eskenazi Ave.

Eskenazi Health is proud to host this upcoming series of three concerts celebrating the remarkable history of music along Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.

During the mid-twentieth century, Indiana Avenue emerged as one of the most significant cultural hubs for black music in the Midwestern United States. Indianapolis Jazz icons like Wes Montgomery and Freddie Hubbard mastered their skills in the clubs along Indiana Avenue, while legendary touring musicians  Duke Ellington, Tina Turner, Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin performed in neighborhood venues including the Sunset Terrace, Walker Theatre and Pink Poodle. The dozens of music venues along Indiana Avenue provided steady work for hundreds of talented Indianapolis jazz, soul, blues and funk musicians - many of whom continue to perform in the city today.

Circumstances in the 1960s and 70s led to the demolition of many of the neighborhood’s historically important structures, but the spirit of Indiana Avenue lives on through the recorded music and live performances of the artists who performed there. The Eskenazi Health Indiana Avenue Music Legacy Series seeks to honor this cherished history by featuring performances from prominent Indianapolis musicians connected to the Indiana Avenue scene.

Rodney Stepp grew up along Indiana Avenue and burst onto the Indianapolis music scene in the late 1960s with his teenage R&B band The Diplomats. As a keyboardist, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur, Stepp’s musical career has spanned more than 50 years and five continents, including performances alongside Michael Jackson, Babyface, and other notable artists.

During the 1970s, Stepp toured the world as keyboardist and assistant musical director for soul music superstars The Spinners. As a member of The Spinners, Stepp appeared on Soul Train, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and the 1976, and 1977 Grammy Awards. In 1974, Stepp traveled with The Spinners to Kinshasa, Zaire for a performance at Muhammad Ali’s legendary Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight title fight against George Foreman.

Stepp returned to Indianapolis in the late 1970s where he’s remained a popular attraction on the live music circuit, performing with groups including Rapture, Flying Toasters, and the Stepp Walker Project.

Additional Eskenazi Health Indiana Avenue Music Legacy Series performances this year include celebrated vocalist and recording artist Jimmy Guilford on Thursday, March 5, and highly-successful blues and R&B group and winners of the 2018 Naptown Blues Challenge, Debbie Nelson & In Full Transition, who will perform at Eskenazi Health on Thursday, April 2. Additional Eskenazi Health Indiana Avenue Music Legacy Series concerts will be announced at a later date.

These performances at Eskenazi Health are made possible by the Marianne Tobias Music Program, which brings music to the patients, visitors and staff at Eskenazi Health. To learn more about the program and to find a list of upcoming concerts, please visit

Through her gift to endow the Marianne Tobias Music Program at Eskenazi Health and her donation of the concert grand piano at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, Tobias has brought the joyful and soothing sounds of music to Eskenazi Health. Her efforts coincided with Eskenazi Health’s vision of developing a public art program engaging in all forms of art for the enjoyment of patients, visitors and staff.

To learn more about the Marianne Tobias Music Program, and to find a list of upcoming concerts, please contact the Eskenazi Health Foundation at 317.880.4900 or visit


CONTACT: Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793
Cell: 317.402.9327

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