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BANNER the SHOWMAN

2012 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     17-20 May - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Bill’s TWELFTH consecutive year of entertaining the Jollie Festival fans!

2011 International Al Jolson Society Philly Festival
     19-22 May - Philadelpia, Pennsylvania

This will mark Bill’s eleventh consecutive year to highlight the annual festival.

CONGRATULATIONS to William “The Songman” Campbell
2011 Recipient of the International Al Jolson Society’s 
Dolores Kontowicz Presidential Award!

     “Next on tap came our friend Bill Campbell, whose theme for that evening was, "Bluebirds and Rainbows." With his white gloves and straw hat, Bill got right down to business with "Follow the Swallow," "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder," "April Showers," "Back in Your Own Backyard," "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy," and then an a capella version of "I Got Lucky in the Rain" that was breathtaking. Bill is a joy to behold and hear, year after year.”

2010 International Al Jolson Society 60th Anniversary Festival
     
20-23 May - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    The Saturday night show was in tribute to Dolores, as I described earlier. Starting with Bill Campbell, who this time performed many Jolson rarities for Dolores (an us) including, "Here's Looking At You," "Lucky in the Rain," "March Winds” and “April Showers," "Someone Else May Be There While I'm Gone," Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and "Hallelujah I'm A Bum." Bill was splendid--and bowed to Dolores at the end of his act--bringing the audience to its feet.”

2009 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     
14-17 May - Phoenix, Arizona
    “... Next up was our old friend from Scotland Bill Campbell who came on the stage dressed in Jolie's costume from "The Plantation Act." Bill did a show based around the concept. A particular knockout was his "Green Pastures" (much as Al did on Shell Chateau) and Stephen Foster songs. Bill was wonderful--a talented man who is also a true gentleman (a rare combination these days).

2008 International Al Jolson Society
     
22-25 May - Orlando, Florida
    “Bill Campbell's Karaoke of Jolie's "When the Mighty Organ Played Oh Promise Me" was extraordinary. Quite a guy.”
     “...decked out as "Bumper"--and did a medley from "Hallelujah, I'm A Bum." 'Deeelightful', as TR would say. (If you don't know who TR was, shame on you). Bill loves to sing. It shows.

     “The big show Saturday night starred Bill Campbell again, his second show of the weekend. To my ears, his rendition of "I Got Lucky in the Rain" was just splendid, in particular. (I love the song and he did full justice to it). And then to my surprise, Bill did his James Cagney impression. Not the usual one that we all do at parties, but one with full body language, a face that morphed into Cagney's--and even some of Jimmy's hoofing! “

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2007 International Al Jolson Society Toronto Festival
     
25-27 May - Mississagua, Ontario, Canada
    “Bill Campbell, fighting a bad cold (but it was hard to tell, honestly) was next on the stage. He was delightful, as always. The special moment of his performance -- (you HAD to see this to believe it) was his rendition of Jolson's 1916 "Wearing of the Green" unreleased private party record. Those of you who have heard it knows how funny and clever it was -- but now we had Bill, doing the tune as Al did in a vaudeville Yiddish dialect! And you know what?? Bill pulled it off! Beautifully -- and hysterically!

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2006 International Al Jolson Society Phabulous Philly Festival
    
18-21 May - Philadelpia, Pennsylvania
    “Saturday night's dinner was again held in the Ballroom, followed by the evening's entertainment. Jan Hernstat sang a few songs, then invited Alice Boyd to come up and sing a few duets with him. It was almost like having Jolie and Patty Andrews right there in front of us. Then Rudy Wissler followed, singing to the actual sound tracks from The Jolson Story. Needless to say, Rudy brought the entire room to their feet! Next up was Bill Campbell, who sang beautifully.

2005 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     
20-22 May - Newcastle upon Tyne, England
    “The highlights of the weekend were, of course, our two shows, each running over three hours. Starring the Incomparable Tony Babino, who excelled himself on Friday night with his own Cabaret act and in the Saturday show including many Jolson numbers, his stunning performance brought everyone to their feet.
     “Other artists were vocalist Johnny Reynolds, Bill Campbell, Mel Thomas (in blackface) Rudy Wissler, Clem Vickery (Talented Banjo player) and the Jolly Girls (who got a standing ovation) for their Vera Lynn “We’ll meet again” routine. Also much enjoyed was the very talented Bruce Bider at the piano and our Master of Ceremonies, Jan Hernstat.

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2004 International Al Jolson Society 54th Anniversary Festival
     
21-23 May - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    “Saturday evening's program began with the usual Hernstat introductions and material, including acknowledgement of the assembled past presidents in attendance. The entertainment portion of the evening began with Bill Campbell presenting material in his unique Scottish style, complete with costume change on stage.”

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2003 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     
Los Angeles, California
    “...performed on Friday and Saturday nights on board the ‘Queen Mary' celebrating Al's contribution to the War Years and Jazz Age Jolson. ”

2002 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     
Orlando, Florida
    “...performed a show called 'There's a Song in my Hat' .”

2001 International Al Jolson Society Festival
     
New York, New York
      Bill took to the stage in his favourite Jolson’ persona as the screen legend bum, Bumper.

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2000 International Al Jolson Society 50th Anniversary Festival
     
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
      From a nameless face in the crowd, 2000 ushered in the first performance of Bill’s well-tuned guise of Al Jolson for the IAJS Festival.

A standing ovation
to the
Al Jolson Society website for the stage reviews quoted on this webpage.

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~ Happy Birthday to a lovely Lady ~
Rita Farries, 80 years young!

 JOLSON COMES TO HAWICK

     Rita Farries of Drumlanrig Square has been a fan of the great Al Jolson all of her life.  In fact, Rita celebrated her 80th birthday recently and as a special surprise her daughter, Margaret Wylie, together with son-in-law Ian and other members of her large extended family, invited Bill Campbell, an Honorary member of the International Al Jolson Society (IAJS) and established entertainer, to come along and sing at Rita’s birthday party.

     Bill and wife, Helen, travelled from Aberdeen to Hawick and at the vital moment, appeared before Rita to serenade her with favourite Jolson classics – “Swanee”, “California, Here I Come”, “April Showers”, “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” and many more.  Rita was delighted and Bill was astonished that every member of the family - right down to great granddaughters - were able to sing along, word perfect, to these old time songs.   Obviously Rita’s fanaticism has taken root!  This is truly a great testament to the enduring appeal of Al Jolson.

     The IAJS was established by Jolson fans shortly after his death in 1950 and continues to garner new members to the present day.  The organization boasts 1,000 members from all over the world, including 21 registered members in Scotland and two of which live in Hawick!  Mr Charles Douglas, of Weensgate, has been a society member for several years and is now joined by Rita, who was presented with free membership as a birthday gift from Bill. 

     Bill Campbell is the Scottish Rep for the IAJS and if you would like to know more about the scoiety and its activities, you may contact him on 01651 862816, via email WWMCAMPBELL@aol.com or go to the Society website at www.Jolson.org.     

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