Once a week I drove to Herb and Nita's little farm in Covington Ohio to study voice and piano with Herb Buchanan Eidemiller. Herb and Nita lived in a little old farm house out in the middle of nowhere. I loved making that trip. I loved walking through the door into a house that was overflowing with musical memories; pictures, photo albums, records, tapes, and a beautiful grand piano right in the middle of the living room. Years and years and years and years of musical history.
I never met anyone with a stronger passion for music than Herb Buchanan Eidemiller. Never have, never will. Music filled every fiber of his being.
When he played piano, his eyes sparkled as his fingers danced effortlessly across the piano keys. His feet would move fiercely to match the tempo of each song. Then he would bow slowly over the keyboard and play soft and tenderly, caressing the keys. And when the tune was done, there would lift his fingers from the keys and let them drop into his lap. There would be silence and only the sound of a ticking clock.
Herb had thousands of stories about his musical career and thoroughly enjoyed sharing them. His love for life was as big as his love for music. He was a fountain of knowledge from music theory to vocal techniques to the best remedies for a sore throat. I feel so blessed to have known this man. He was a gem; a joy, a treasure. And one thing I'm sure of; Herb is still composing beautiful music and God is listening and tapping His toes.
~ Kathy Simpson
(Article from the March 18, 1979 edition of MAGAZINE, Miami Valley Sunday News: )
Herb Eidemiller, a Miami County farmer's son left Ohio in 1946 and headed for New York to seek his musical fortune. He worked as a professional musician, composing and arranging music, playing the piano, and conducting orchestras in nightclubs and on television. Herb spent strenuous but fascinating hours as vocal coach for such famous clients as Eydie Gorme, Diahann Carroll, Dionne Warwick, Anita Bryant and Julius LaRosa.
Music was important to Herb ever since he began picking out tunes on his mother's piano when he was just a child. His love for music developed within his talented family, but his success in earning a living stemmed from his ability to put notes on paper.
“Teddy Wilson, Art Tatem, and Ear Hines. In those days we heard ‘em live on the radio. I would sit up until 3 a.m. out on the farm, and if I heard a lick on the piano… I'd think, hey, that's great, and I'd go over to the piano and see if I could find it. At 3 a.m. night after night, I'm listening to Earl Hines comin' out of the Grand Terrace Café in Chicago and trying like crazy to copy his stuff.”
Though Herb had expected to join the Army when he finished school, a lung condition kept him out of World War II, and he headed instead for the University of Michigan , a master's of music degree, and a piano-playing job with the 22-piece college dance band. It was this band that proved to be Herb's stepping stone into show business.
A young trumpet-playing friend of Herb's, who had left the band to join the famous Johnny Long orchestra, arranged an audition for Herb in Detroit when the orchestra found themselves short a pianist. Herb played Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” and was soon on his way to New York City to appear with the Long musicians at the Hotel New Yorker. It was 1946.
In the last 1940's and on into the 1950's Herb played for Louis Prima, Hal McIntyre, and Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Band. He also continued studying music at Columbia University and the Julliard School of music. In 1953, he returned to the University of Michigan to work on his doctorate.
Using Buchanan as his last name (Eidemiller was too hard for people to remember), Herb worked with some of the biggest names in show business. In 1956, Herb began 17 years as singer Teresa Brewer's musical director, arranging and conducting the music for her records and her nightclub and TV appearances. He was also the musical director for Diahann Carroll, Vivienne Della Chiesa, the Ames Brothers, and Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy.
Herb returned to Miami Country when his mother became ill and spent much time composing. “I have hundreds of tapes filled with improvisations that I haven't had time to write down. There's enough work here to keep me busy for the rest of my life.”
He said composing is a mysterious experience.
“It comes from somewhere outside myself. I don't do it. It just comes through me. I don't know what to call it, but it's a strong feeling, and I can always tell when it's going to come. I can feel it. I feel the presence in my head, and I go to the piano, and the music just comes out of me. I don't think it consciously. And it's been with me such I was a child.
“We all need music,” he said. “Without music we don't have any appreciation of the great depth of life.
“Music is close to your soul, if you have any soul.”
An email to from Herb's niece, Sharon Eidemiller Borouchoff:
My son happened to come across your web page on the Internet and called me. To my delight and joy, I read the lovely tribute you gave to my beloved Uncle Herb, Herbert Eidemiller Buchanan. He was indeed a family treasure, and I miss him very much. I wanted to personally thank your for your loving tribute, and I know my Uncle Herb would have been pleased. In his words, he would have said," It was a real kick to see it on the web."
In a strange way, I feel that I know you. We never met personally, but I remember walking on Rangeline Road near my folks' house, just next to the family farm, my home for a short while when I was young, to visit my Aunt Nita and Uncle Herb. I decided not to go in because I realized he was teaching. The sound of my Uncle Herb teaching and the singing that followed left such am impression that I wrote a special poem about the experience. I think that it might have been you singing. Being a professional classical musician, I knew better than to disturb a lesson.
It was a delight to see your tribute, and I know my Uncle Herb is pleased and honored. Life seems to go full circle. Best of luck to you in your career, and I sincerely thank your kind words.
~ Sharon Eidemiller Borouchoff