- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - A 120-person choir sang Indiana’s state song as a sculpture honoring its composer was dedicated in a city park near his Terre Haute boyhood home.

The 6½-foot-tall bronze sculpture titled “A Song for Indiana” honors Paul Dresser, whose work included his 1897 composition of “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.”

The sculpture was dedicated Wednesday in Fairbanks Park along the Wabash River that helped inspire the song.

Artist Teresa Clark of Terre Haute said she hoped the sculpture, which includes a portrait of Dresser and images from the song’s lyrics, will lead people to learn more about the composer.

“I’m excited for people to start enjoying it,” Clark told the Tribune-Star (https://bit.ly/1yGIow0 ). “I hope it will draw them to the river itself.”

Dresser moved to New York City and wrote numerous nationally popular songs in the late 1800s before his death at age 47 in 1906. The Indiana Legislature named “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” as the state song in 1913 - four years before the adoption of the state flag.

The $80,000 cost of the sculpture project is being paid for the by nonprofit group Art Spaces, which promotes public art in the Terre Haute area.

Art Spaces executive director Mary Kramer said the project was three years in the making and that she hoped it would raise awareness of Dresser, whom she called a “big-hearted, cheerful, lovable man.”

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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