Some surprise visits are more welcome than others. On this day in particular, we were excited to get a call from Ivy Sheppard saying she and David Sheppard were on their way back to Mt. Airy from Raleigh and wanted to know if we had time to get together. Fortunately, with a a little finagling, we were able to say yes. Since - at a month before their show we're producing - we hadn't yet had a chance to meet, the call from two of three members of The South Carolina Broadcasters was more than a little welcome.
We met at Lindley Park Filling Station on Walker Ave., had a light meal and enjoyed some conversation that covered both business and casual topics. From there we all drove to 1820 Spring Garden Street to see Sessions where David, Ivy and Sarah, who was not present on this day, will be performing on October 5th. As we toured the building, the outdoor Beer Garden and stage area, it was very evident that David, who had spent 28 years in this building when it was known as "David Sheppard Instruments and Repair" was reliving some old memories. It was touching to watch him reminisce.
When asked to put together some thoughts about those days, here is what David Sheppard had to say, in his own words...
"I opened my shop in 1977 at 1833 Spring Garden Street. I intended it to be an instrument repair shop. By 1980 I had outgrown the space I was in and was fortunate enough to be able to purchase the D.S. Freeman building at 1820 Spring Garden Street. It was still owned by Mr. Freeman’s family. The shop grew quickly and took on a life of its own. There seemed to be a need in the area for a good acoustic instrument shop and David Sheppard Instruments grew to fill that need. The retail part of the business was constantly expanding and we frequently had to rearrange the floor plan. Most of the upstairs was devoted to teaching studios with Scott Manring, Sam Frasier, Larry Clayton and Joe Shelton handling the instruction.
David Sheppard Instruments could not have been as successful and interesting as it was without the help and support of the great staff I had over the years. Alan Steele, Pat Kelly and Joe Shelton were vitally important in creating the personality and reputation of the shop and I thank them for that.
1820 Spring Garden Street is a special place. Beginning in 1916 when D.S. Freeman decided it was a good location for a grocery store. Through its various incarnations it has been an interesting and important part of the neighborhood and I am glad to see that history continuing today. I am especially happy that music continues to play a role there and I’m excited to bring The South Carolina Broadcasters there to be a part of that ongoing tradition." - David Sheppard
I, for one, very much look forward to being a part of this homecoming show. Maybe we'll get a chance to see you there, as well.