Friends to perform — 46 years later


The General Denver Hotel in Wilmington is hosting a special performance by finger-style guitarists James Van Nuys and Bob Bowman on from 7 p.m. until about 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. The show will also feature Wilmington-based, nationally-known comedian/public speaker Kay Frances, who will share the stage as emcee.

But there’s much more to the story.

The three friends attended Wilmington public schools together throughout the 1960s, but fell out of contact when Bowman’s family moved to the coast of Maine in 1969 and Van Nuys went away to boarding school. In 2011, they tracked each other down through social media and soon began talking about a reunion.

James and Bob, both Wilmington College faculty kids, first began to fool around with guitars as children. Since then their lives have taken extremely different paths, yet their musical interests developed along remarkably similar styles into adulthood. Both have become accomplished performing and recording artists.

At the Wilmington show, their first ever performance together, they will swap solos and improvise duets throughout the evening. The audience will be treated to an evening of blues, Celtic, ragtime, some old pop classics and original compositions by both guitarists.

Kay Frances is an award-winning public speaker who has been entertaining local and national audiences since her childhood days in Wilmington. A natural comedian, Kay performed in the top comedy clubs around the country for many years and has hosted numerous programs on radio and television. Among her varied accomplishments, Kay taught karate for several years at the Clinton County YMCA and earned a fourth-degree Black Belt. Combining her interests in comedy and health, Kay authored the book, The Funny Thing about Stress.

James Van Nuys graduated from Wilmington College with majors in both music and fine art. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. James has released several recordings in a variety of styles and has produced several guitar instruction videos. A long-time resident of Rapid City, South Dakota, James is one the region’s best known musicians, performing both solo and with a variety of collaborators, including his very talented children and other members of his musical family. James is a noted Western painter and sculptor and operates his own gallery in downtown Rapid City.

After moving from Wilmington at age 14, Bob Bowman has lived most of his life on islands off the coast of Maine. As a teen he spent summers working on ferry boats, and in the late ’70s he founded Maine Whalewatch, a pioneering marine wildlife company with a focus on research, education and conservation. He went on to captain research vessels along US, Canadian and Caribbean coasts over three decades. Bob’s work has been instrumental in setting worldwide standards in the highly technical and dangerous field of large whale disentanglement, saving the lives of hundreds of endangered whales. A life-long musician, Bob has arranged and recorded pieces and film scores for PBS, National

Geographic, and several independent filmmakers. His solo guitar album, Edge of the Earth, was released in 2014.
To hold concert at General Denver

Staff report

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