Some of us are old enough to remember that group of high school musicians collectively called garage bands — the teen music makers who took their generic name from the place where they practiced: the garage.
London had a number of garage bands in the ’60s and ’70s, which played at sock hops, birthdays and other special events.
While many of them left their music behind upon graduation, the memory of doing it remains.
Those memories will be personified at the 45th year class reunion of the London High School class of 1970. Members of those high school bands are practicing and preparing for a two-hour show, which will be played at the reunion.
The reunion will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, in the former London High School gymnasium, 60 S. Walnut St., London.
Classes from ’66 through ’73 are also invited.
Groups such as Skip and the Shadows, the Vadicans, Village Majority, Blue Conception, Secret Empire, Link and the Mod Squad have reformed and have been practicing to give their classmates a good show.
Pulling these groups together was the result of a brainstorm by ’70 class member David Shipley. He said “what if,” and started making some phone calls.
Word of the garage band reunion spread and “Back in Time,” the name of the show, was a go.
Shipley said Phil Robinette, a member of the Secret Empire, who is skilled in sound and lighting, agreed to help out. Phil Jordan, offered his warehouse as a place for the groups to reform and rehearse. (So are they now “warehouse bands?”)
Shipley said slowly but surely the group’s organized themselves and began to work on songs. Each group will play four songs. Most of the groups have lost original members over the years, and will have competent fill-in musicians. Skip and the Shadows, however, still has all original members with us.
Dale Illes, keyboardist for Skip and the Shadows, said he has been thoroughly enjoying the group’s reunion and playing with them again.
“We sound as good now as we did then,” Illes said.
The group has been working on a cover of “Mustang Sally,” the iconic Wilson Pickett song from the ’60s. He recalled practicing with fellow band members, Larry Watts, Steve “Skip” Fout, Beau Langfitt and Ray Deyo in Deyo’s bedroom.
Shipley said he proposed the groups’ reunion for the 45th and not waiting to do it to the more revered 50th year reunion, in the interest of time.
“There’s not gonna be another opportunity for all of us to do it again,” Shipley said. “Everybody wanted to do it. It’s gonna be good.”
Thursday is the last day for early-bird registration at the reduced rate of $15 per person/$25 per couple, said Richard Robison, who is in charge of the registration.
“It’s OK to send the money late, but I need the head count,” he said Wednesday.
Heads already counted number 250, according to Robison. He can be reached via telephone at 540-840-3641.
More information about the reunion is available at its website: www.lhs1970oh.co.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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