It was, by all accounts, the biggest crowd ever for the Piccadilly/Bedford Jam Sunday as musicians, fans and organizers celebrated 10 years at Glendower (Bedford) Hall on Westport Road.
Second to only Jack’s Jam in Plevna (and that only by a few months) in longevity, the current Bedford Jam began quietly at the pavilion on Second Lake in 2007. It quickly became apparent that they needed more space to accommodate the growing number of musicians who wanted to join in as well as audience members and it moved to Piccadilly Hall.
Well, that lasted two years when it became a victim of its own success and the move to the larger Bedford Hall became a necessity. They even had to buy more chairs for the hall.
“We’ve been a big family from Day 1,” said Judy Murphy, speaking for the committee that oversees the festivities now, as well as taking a turn on the sound board beside co-founder Roy Shepherd. “You don’t have to ask, people just jump in to help with chairs, make sandwiches, coffee.”
For the first five years, Roy and Joan Shepherd essentially were the chief organizers. Then, they effectively passed the reins to Homer and Wilhelmine Card, who oversaw operations with the help of Murphy, Dianne and Kim Sproule in the Kitchen, and Dave Froats who served as treasurer.
“You want to stay straight with the dollars, you stick with Wilhelmine,” Froats said.
After their five years, Homer and Wilhelmine are also stepping down, and while their successors have been chosen, they have yet to formally accept the position.
“It will stay in familiar hands,” was all Wilhelmine would say.
But while she declined to name her successor, Card did have plenty to say about her time at the helm.
“It’s been a busy time and we couldn’t have done it without all the help,” she said. “This has been all volunteer work and we’ve even managed to give back to the community helping individual families in need as well as two food banks.
“It’s amazing what a $2 admission can do and the feeling is very rewarding.
“And everybody seems in favour of where the money has gone.”
She said she’s met “a lot of good people” and has many fond memories.
However, when pressed, she did manage to come up with one memory that stands out.
“Rita (Thompson) dancing with her dummy partner Arnold,” she said.