Next weekend, the Springtime Jamboree will celebrate three decades of featuring some of the area’s most gifted musical talents, as it returns to Indian River High School for the always-anticipated two-night event.
On Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, doors open at 6 p.m. The pre-show begins at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. with a lineup of some of the regions most celebrated acts. The Springtime Jamboree got its start 30 years ago, as Gerald Hocker and his friends put together the inaugural one with expectations to give back to the local community.
“Thirty years ago,” said Hocker, “my son was playing Little League at Lower Sussex, and I wanted to do something that raised money for the club.”
The evenings will begin with pre-show entertainment, provided by Ron Howard, with plenty of acts to follow. Familiar names, such as the Hap Tones, will once again be gracing the stage, as will some favorites who have played the show for years.
The Jamboree Boys – who headlined the first Springtime Jamboree – now features Hocker, Reggie Helms, Andy Timmons, Jimmy Holson and Hocker’s two sons, Gerry and Greg, and they have been presenting the event since the start. But back then, in 1982, the Jamboree Boys consisted of Gerald Hocker, his father, Wilbert, and his brother Wade.
Comedy will be provided by Scott Evans, while the Springtime Jamboree will feature Miss Delaware 2011, and Hocker’s daughter, country music recording artist Beth Ann Cahall.
“The Springtime Jamboree has been a great way for us to raise money for nonprofit organizations in the area,” said Hocker. “There are a lot of talented performers in the area, and it’s really nice to get them all together each year.
“It’s definitely something that keeps me young,” Hocker added. “I’ve been playing with some of these guys for a really long time, and I really enjoy it. I’ve said since the beginning, as long as we have the support from the local community, we’ll keep holding the jamboree, and, so far, we’ve had a lot of great feedback and support.”
As in its debut, this year’s Jamboree is benefitting local kids, with proceeds from the 2012 event going to River Soccer Club.
“We were really thrilled when we heard that Gerald would be bringing the funds raised at this year’s Jamboree to River Soccer Club,” said River Soccer Board of Directors Member Bruce Dolby, Jr. “We have nearly 400 kids in our rec programs, eight to 10 travel teams, and our TOPS Soccer program, which we’re very proud of. It takes a lot of money to upkeep the 14 acres of fields we have on our grounds.”
The funds will benefit the club’s new maintenance building, as well as paying for upkeep of equipment and supplies.
“Being the recipient of this year’s Jamboree is huge for us,” Dolby added. “Every fall, we host a big tournament with 72 teams, and we have an annual fried chicken dinner, but they can’t raise the kind of money that the Springtime Jamboree does. It’s a staple in the community.”
Past recipients of the Jamboree funding have included the Lower Sussex Little League and Pop Warner programs, Delaware Hospice, local Lions Clubs, and many others. Tickets for this year’s show cost $12 each and are available at Hockers’ SuperCenter, Hocker’s Grocery and Deli and G&E Hardware. Tickets can also be purchased by stopping by the River Soccer Club this Saturday, April 21, during rec games, or by calling Bruce Dolby at (302) 236-3652.