MASON — Glenn C. “Lip” Lewis had a flair and passion for playing brass instruments.
Area musicians and friends remembered the Mason man who died June 20 at the age of 70 as a talented musician and one who cared about veterans.
Lewis was known for his trumpet and flugelhorn playing with several area bands, including The Sounds of Swing, St. John's Brass, FACE Orchestra, The Blue Suede Crew and Superbad. He also played for the Kaskaskia College Jazz and Concert Bands.
He was a gifted musician who cited "official lessons from a few individuals," including Everett Crane, Ted Black, and Doc Severinsen. He studied music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale before forming the band Big Muddy and playing gigs throughout Chicago, Milwaukee and New Orleans in the 1970s, according to his obituary.
Bev Marshall, director of FACE Orchestra, said Lip Lewis had played with the orchestra for many years.
“He was a fantastic trumpet player,” said Marshall. “He was a good addition to the orchestra.”
Lewis was also known for volunteering his time to play taps at countless funerals for local veterans. He also played at Memorial Day, Fourth of July and other events where his flare of music was needed.
Marshall said he had a passion for supporting those who served his country.
“He had a really special way to honor those who served,” said Marshall. “It was important to him to be able to do that.”
Ruth Webb with the Disabled American Veterans group in Effingham said Lewis had a unique way of playing taps during veterans' funerals.
“When he played, you could feel the emotions in his music,” said Webb. “Lip knew that was the final call for that soldier and he put so much feel into it. He gave every soldier and every veteran his utmost respect.”
Scott Wattles of Mattoon said Lewis played with his group, Scott Wattles and the Blue Suede Crew, from about 2007 to 2014.
Wattles said Lewis always wore a smile and loved music.
“He was a true showman,” said Wattles. “He was the one who had played with people like Doc Severinsen, but he made me feel like a star.”
Wattles recalled a couple special times with Lewis when he performed with the Blue Suede Crew at the Hilton Convention Center in Las Vegas in 2008, and when Lewis recorded with the band at Sun Studio in Memphis in 2009.
“He was into it,” said Wattles. “The goal was to make us better and we got better when we added Lip Lewis.”
Brian Milleville of Effingham has fond memories of playing with Lip and his son, Jared, in the St. John's Brass, with the St. John's Lutheran Church in Effingham. Milleville and Lip Lewis became acquainted around 1994, when Milleville was in high school.
“Lip was a wonderful guy,” said Milleville. “He always had a smile. He had the best stories and could play his trumpet at least as good as any jazz legend.”
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at email@example.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 138