Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Ed King

Former North Side High School band director; Founder of The New Millennium Jazz Orchestra


Joshua Schipper

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 29, 2021

Some say that the work and skill of a master is best seen through his apprentices.

For Liddell Award honoree Edward King, that idea rings true.

After nearly five decades of teaching music as band director at North Side High School in Fort Wayne, King humbly carries a laundry list of successful former students, many of whom have made their own impact on the arts and culture of northeast Indiana. 

“There’s a lot of players that I’ve had at North Side that are making music in Fort Wayne right now,” King said in an interview with Whatzup.

“Those guys … They were passionate about music in high school, and they’re still passionate about music.”

Some of these students include contributors to the band JIANT, who opened for the Los Angeles-based Indie pop group Fitz and the Tantrums at The Clyde Theatre in July 2021.

Another mentee that King praises is his son, Aaron King, who founded the renowned Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra and has continued his retired father’s work as band director at North Side.

“I’m real proud of him,” he added.

King began playing music at the age of 10 at South Wayne Elementary School and has been surrounded by music for his whole life. 

His father was a musician, and the father-son duo even played in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic together for a time. A short while later, Aaron became the band director at North Side.

King currently performs as a trombonist with The New Millennium Jazz Orchestra, a group he started in 1999.

“It’s been going strong ever since then.”

In addition to his work with the orchestra, King contributes his musical talents to Zion Lutheran Church and, at times, Grace Point Church.

He also lends his many talents to the Old Crown Brass Band, which has won numerous awards in the North American Brass Band Association Championships. 

Before jazz, King played rock n’ roll with a band called Nostalgia for a little over a decade.

King offered some advice for young people, saying that “every kid should have some kind of involvement” with music.

“It does so much for the brain, and it also is a really great social activity,” he said. “If you’re going to ever get good at something, you’ve got to practice at it, you’ve got to work really hard at it. Music is a taskmaster at that stuff, man. It will make you — if you want to be good at it — it will make you practice.”

Considering not only the influence and contributions of King to his former students at North Side High School, but also his continued work for various bands and organizations in northeastern Indiana, he stands as a prime example of an individual who has had a far-reaching, positive impact on the arts and culture of the region. 

For these reasons, Whatzup proudly lauds Ed King as an honoree of the Liddell Award.

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