One empty chair as Marlborough's Jazz Gala launches tonight
Whilst this year's Marlborough Jazz Gala is all set to launch this evening with Beki Brindle, Sticky Wicket and Friends in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall at 6pm, there will be one face missing - David Draper, possibly the most fervent and loyal of all the Jazz Festival supporters having attended every one of the 30 events since it's inception back in 1986.
"Everyone who came To Marlborough Jazz knew David", commented Nick Fogg. "I'm sure he was desperately disappointed that the festival as he knew it was no more. Like many other people from around the world he would have been incredulous that an internationally renowned event that gave such pleasure to so many and brought 100s of thousands of pounds into the town could be sabotaged in the way this one was.
"Yet I know he would have been here for our gala event in the Town Hall this weekend. He would not have missed his favourite Clare Teal and he would have found performers like Russell "Hitman" Alexander from New York, who knows the words to over 1,000 songs: Alabama's top blues singer, Debbie Bond and ex-Ray Charles saxophonist, Greg Abate and all the other top acts, to be irresistible."
"There will still be a few tickets left on the door for anyone who wants to join us in raising a glass to David's memory."
David's passing was noted by Gilly Glover of Chiseldon who sent Nick a card with the following message:
"I was deeply saddened when I opened the post today and found a funeral card for David Draper. He came from South Wales and, as far as I can recall, came to every single jazz festival over its 30-year history"
"This card says it all.
As Marlborough Jazz Festival comes round I remember David. The event was the highlight of his year. He often spoke of you and others, the committee, stars and friends. His funeral music was chosen from CDS (some signed by Clare Teal) found in his flat after he died. I am sending you this as it would be sad not to mark his passing at this time
The Jazz Gala will feature many of the regular Jazz Festival performers, Claire Teal will be back performing a special Ella Fitzgerald session at the Town Hall Assembly Room on Sunday afternoon between 2 and 4pm, Greg Abate is over again to play the Assembly Room between 9 and 11pm this evening and many more. Details of the acts, where and when they are playing can be found here.