By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico
The story of Buddy Holly’s rise to fame presented in musical form will kick off this year’s Clovis Music Festival.
A group of Clovis and Curry County Chamber of Commerce employees went to watch “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story,” a rock ‘n’ roll musical last year in Lubbock and came away impressed.
“That’s when we made the connection that it would be a perfect fit for the music festival,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the chamber.
The play’s last show for the year is on Holly’s birthday, Sept. 7, and then the show is crossing the state line for an opening 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at Marshall Auditorium in Clovis.
The Clovis Music Festival is Sept. 9-12.
“It’s a perfect fit and perfect timing,” Kos said. “People coming from around the country and internationally have this as an added plus this year.”
Kos said Holly’s time spent recording hits at manager Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis is part of the musical story line..
Musical Director John Bannister visited with chamber staff.
“I was absolutely overjoyed when she said we could be a part of their music festival,” Bannister said. “I believe Clovis is more important, even so than Lubbock in Buddy’s history.”
The play is the story of Holly’s life from age 19 until his death in a plane crash at 22.
Bannister said the musical tells the story of Holly’s rise to fame from when he was playing on the radio through his final concert in Clearlake, Iowa. There are 24 songs in the play, mostly Holly’s music, and is performed live by the actors.
Bannister used to work in London as musical director for the same show. The Texas Tourist Board traveled to London to see the show two years ago and told Bannister that they wanted to do the show in Lubbock, Holly’s hometown.
“I asked them if I could be their musical director,” Bannister said. “I would love to go to Buddy’s hometown and direct it.”
Bannister also has written a new song and scene that will only play in Lubbock and Clovis.
“I’m very flattered to be a part of it all,” he said.
Bannister said the musical and the Clovis Music Festival are a natural fit.
“It will certainly expand the fan club and the fans that want to come see the show in Lubbock and in Clovis.
“ If we can make this area a very special one as far as Buddy is concerned, the future will be very exciting,” Bannister said. “I feel as though it’s been far too long that Lubbock hasn’t worked with Clovis as far as Buddy is concerned and I hope to do something about it.”
Tickets for the musical, which are separate from tickets for other music festival shows, will be available on-line beginning Tuesday at the chamber’s website, www.clovisnm.org.
Kos said any profit after expenses will benefit the Norman and Vi Petty Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum.