Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Dem Bones makes music

Members of Dem Bones are (l–r) standing: Jonathan Ingram, Bruce Clark, Ashley Fleshman, Ed Craft; seated: Gloria Wright.

Members of Dem Bones are (l–r) standing: Jonathan Ingram, Bruce Clark, Ashley Fleshman, Ed Craft; seated: Gloria Wright.

Ezekiel started it with his story in the Old Testament about “dry bones.” An American composer named James Weldon Johnson popularized it with his gospel song “Dem Dry Bones.” Now in Columbia, what better name for a trombone quartet that specializes in gospel and faithbased music: “Dem Bones.”

“We like to play together, and churches are a favorite venue,” says Ashley Fleshman. “We like the idea of sharing our faith and our music at the same time. Also, according to Bruce Clark, I got the group together because I had been asked to play a solo in church, and I didn’t want to go solo. I had the idea for us to put our trombones together to make music.”

Jonathan Ingram and Ed Craft complete the foursome. Gloria Wright is a local pianist who often accompanies the trombones. At times they may include a flute or some other instrument. All the members point to Ashley Fleshman as the arranger who makes things possible.

Fleshman says: “We did not start this to carve out great careers as performers. We just like mak- ing music and enjoy sharing it with others. I make arrangements of favorite hymns, and some folk music and gospel, sometimes jazz. We play in fourpart harmony, just like vocalists.”

Bruce Clark sometimes takes on the role of narrator describing something of the history and meanings of their selections. They don’t advertise or promote their music. They enjoy being asked to play and try to make it a meaningful and enjoyable experience for the listeners.

Ashley Fleshman will appear this summer in the New Heights Baptist

Church production of The

Music Man, which features the popular number, “76 Trombones.”

All the members of this group are professional musicians, graduates of the University of South Carolina School of Music. All the trombonists have been or are band directors in middle and high schools of Lexington District One. Some have also played with Dick Goodwin’s wellknown jazz band in the Midlands. They have played at local churches such as Mt. Horeb Methodist Church, Spring Valley Baptist, North Trenholm Baptist, at the Shepherd’s Center and at retirement homes such as Agape and Still Hopes. For more information, Contact Ashleyfleshman@

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