THE ‘DISTANT DRUMS DAY CELEBRATION’ IN HARROGATE ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2006
The ‘Distant Drums Day Celebration’ was a resounding success, whichever way you care to view it. Despite getting the thumbs down from the hierarchy of BBC National radio and total silence from Sony/BMG, the fans still managed to involve their local radio stations which generally gave them support. Kevin Stocks appeared on Yorkshire TV the day before, and some newspapers produced articles. I had sent out publicity material to over 300 media sources, so they couldn’t say they hadn’t been informed.
From an entertainment standpoint the afternoon in St. Marks Church was first class. The three concert segments where enthralling.
Tony Wall began by creating a tremendous Jim Reeves sound with Jim’s hits.
Kevin Stocks, a seasoned performer sang some of Jim’s less known material plus a selection from his Nashville recorded CD ‘SHADOWS OF JIM’.
Paul Wheather’s act had to be curtailed somewhat by the last minute arrival of Tony Goodacre, who is currently touring the UK with George Hamilton IV. Paul entertained us with his usual flowing banter, some songs from his 1989 CD ‘TO MY LOVED ONES, and his sincere versions of gospel / insprirationals favourites.
Finally the 12 piece choir, under arranger Adrian Selway sang my musical compilation ‘An Anniversary Tribute Hymn’, with the whole audience reprising on their feet with rousing church organ accompaniment. What an inspirational way to end a day I’ll never forget.
Sadly the wallet in which I had all my bits and pieces, got mislaid. I could not read out Arie’s letter he had so graciously sent us (we missed you Arie). I could not plug Bill Marks’s ‘SONG BIBLE’ and ‘IN HIS FOOTSTEPS’ produced on CD-ROM. I Can’t recommend them highly enough. I wanted to have a short period of silence for all the Jim Reeves people and fans who have sadly passed on to a better life. All I can do is apologise, I suppose I had too much to think about my age.
Finally I must thank everyone who contributed to the day, be it great or small, especially Alistair Biggar for his professionalism in the sound matters. To those who came and those who couldn’t, to those who gave in generous sponsorship and made the event viable. To those who bought and sold in the North room, to the ladies who provided tea and biscuits, and my wife for the anniversary cake. To those who entertained, to St. Marks Church for supporting us, and all those I’m neglecting to mention yet again. Thank you one and all for such a memorable day.
Pictures: The first three ones courtesy by Alistair Biggar, the last one, courtesy by Eimbert v.d. Oetelaaar.
Arie’s letter which was meant to be read at the meeting:
Dear Jim Reeves fans,
Is it really 32 years ago that I went to a Jim Reeves convention in London, after having joined the Official Jim Reeves fan club a few months earlier. It was there that I first met and befriended some Jim Reeves fans who played an important part in my future fan club history. These were David Bussey, Frank Ayres, Stuart Oliver, Donald Griffin and Maureen Marsh. I eagerly waited for each new issue of the fan club magazine and read it intensely from front to rear.
Together with another Dutch member, Bert Bossink, we founded the New Dutch Jim Reeves fan club in 1975. Dave Bussey has always been my source of inspiration and prime example of how to run a Jim Reeves fan club. If he hadn’t found a Jim Reeves fan club in 1966, the fan scene would have been very different today. David bonded the Jim Reeves fans together for over 12 years. Jim’s popularity would have dramatically diminished in less than 5 years. David’s never ending efforts to promote Jim Reeves on British national and local radio made sure that Jim’s popularity didn’t vanish. Even today, in a much changed radio and television world, he’s still promoting Jim Reeves and his music.
Although he promised us fans that is will be his last public Jim Reeves meeting, I know that he will continue with promoting , for Jim and his music streams through his heart and veins. Unfortunately, due to obligations, I can’t be with you all, today. However, both Dutch and British members of the Dutch fan club are present among you. I wish you all a fine and happy meeting, “ ‘till we meet again….”.
Arie den Dulk ,Secretary Jim Reeves Fan Club, Rijswijk, the Netherlands