MACOMB, IL – An original composition by Western Illinois University Music Professor John Cooper will be featured in a documentary that debuts on YouTube Thursday, Oct. 15.

“The Governor of Forgottonia” composition is a tribute to Neal Gamm and his peaceful protests about the lack of funding western Illinois has received for road construction projects. The documentary, “People, Places, and Power: Fulton County Edition,” was produced by Matt Meachum, of the Illinois Humanities Council.

“As a returning Vietnam veteran and theatre major at WIU, Gamm and others waged a battle to highlight this economic disparity by becoming the Governor of the region he called Forgottonia,” said Cooper. “This history is a fascinating tale about the place in which we live.”

Cooper wrote the piece for The Post 6 Big Band while he was on sabbatical. It was then re-arranged for a quintet and singer, which is how it was recorded for the documentary.

“The Jazz Faculty at Western and I recorded the project in isolation and I assembled each person’s part into the recording because of the COVID crisis,” said Cooper. Collaborating on the recording used for the documentary are Cooper, composer, trumpet and producer; Instructor Whitney Ashe, piano; Assistant Professor George Turner, guitar; Assistant Professor Matt Hughes, bass; Associate Professor Kevin Nichols, drums; and WIU senior jazz studies student Yoseph Henry, of Chicago, singer.

The documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. tonight at


Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.