Local group creates a Magic Moment: brings renowned vocal talent to the city: Drifters will be in town September 14th.

August 23, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  When any kind of entertainment event takes place, someone has to produce the show.

How these events come into being is often the result of chance meetings.  Reg Titian invited Wayne Brown out to Mohawk Raceway to listen to The Drifters.  That event was booked  by Titian, who is one of a number of agents who does talent search and booking work for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.  He is also the Canadian booking agent for The Drifters

This is the way it was done back then. It was a form of primal and tribal communication – and it worked.

Reg Titian on the left with Connie Smith and Robbie Lane, who will share the MC job chat it up with Scott Robinson, co-chair of the Magic Moment event. Robinson just might wear those trousers to the event. Wowza!

Reg began his career in music when he ran a store on James Street in Hamilton.  For many years it did quite well.   He ran retail for more than 25 years, taught music and was enjoying a good life until 1999 when the bottom fell out of retail and business in Hamilton was abysmal.  Titian had to diversify and get into different lines of business because retail wasn’t working anymore.

Entertainment is show business and that was the direction Titian went as he grew into the  He did work for the Niagara Falls Casino, has booked Diane Warwick and does a lot of work for the Norwich Fall Fair.

Festivals, country fairs, theatre productions  are all part of what Reg Titian does now.Why not create a Magic Moment in Burlington and tie it into the Halton Heros event

He had booked The Drifters into the Mohawk Raceway and invited Wayne Brown out to hear the show.  Wayne went and left that show with an idea.  Why not create a Magic Moment in Burlington and tie it into the Halton Heros event that was raising funds for police officers and their families that needed help when misfortune befell them.

Wayne Brown talked to Keith Strong who was heading up the Community Cares Committee of Halton, a group that pulls together citizens from Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills who gather once a year to hold a gala that raises funds for police services members who need help.

Wayne Brown, along with his co-chair Scott Robinson has stick handled the field work that will make the Magic Moment happen.

So when Wayne Brown got back to him with the Magic Moment idea and the Drifters Titian was their man.

Eric Kohanek, a former television journalist with the Spectator knows the Drifter well and explains that “the original Drifters group formed in 1953 and there were dozens of guys who joined up and then left over the years. The group that appears at Mohawk Raceway and other venues in Canada from time to time is actually called “The Drifters Featuring Rick Sheppard.”  Sheppard didn’t join the original group until 1966.”

“The original Drifters are actually based in the U.K. and are touring there in September. The other groups calling themselves The Drifters are actually splinter groups, not the original one.

With many millions of records sold – the Drifters are going to be in town to bring back a lot of those Magic Moments.

“Sheppard’s achievements since then are certainly noteworthy. He currently owns the Canadian trademark for the Drifters name and has re-recorded some of the original group’s hits as well as songs that sound similar in nature but have no link to the original group. He also reportedly won a lawsuit recently that prevents any other Drifters groups from performing in Canada.”

It’s an interesting story – all part of the Magic Moment that will take place in Burlington September 13th, at an exclusive Soiree to take place at the Waterfront Hotel.

Saturday evening The Drifters will take their Magic Moment to a much larger audience that will assemble at Nelson Park starting at 2:30 in the afternoon and run on until the last dance.

If you’re close to sixty you will know the music.  “On Broadway”, “Under the Boardwalk”, “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “Up On the Roof”, “This Magic Moment”, “There Goes My Baby”, and many more. The songs are etched into the memories of music fans worldwide and helped form part of the foundation of contemporary popular music. What these songs have in common is that they are all the product of a veritable hit-making machine better known to their millions of fans as The Drifters.

Rick Sheppard is an integral part of that hit making machine. He has been there for more than 45 years. Rick joined The Drifters in 1966 and recorded with the group on Atlantic Records through the early 1970s. During that time, he toured with The Drifters throughout the world and shared stages with some of the greatest names in music and show business. You can look it up in books and anthologies chronicling The Drifters history. Rick Sheppard is prominently featured.

Sheppard, a born entertainer, has been at the forefront of the music industry from the time he can remember. He began performing at the age of nine years old and by his teenage years had a number of local television appearances on his resume. His first real professional engagement occurred in Miami, Florida, opening for Sammy Davis, Jr. Right then, young Sheppard knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He wanted to entertain.

 The first several years would see Sheppard on the road in a seemingly endless stream of one-night night club performances. During that time, he was in and out of a variety of groups as well. His career seemed to be lacking a real direction, and then came the telephone call that would change his life. Forever.

It seems that a songwriter familiar with Sheppard mentioned his name to legendary manager George Treadwell who managed the Drifter. He was looking for someone to replace one of the singers in the group.  Sheppard’s songwriter friend was persuasive enough to get Treadwell to call Sheppard to see if he would be interested in joining The Drifters.

At the time Sheppard thought the caller was a friend playing a joke, so he hung up. Fortunately, Treadwell called back, assured Sheppard that he was, indeed, the manager of The Drifters and that the offer was genuine. After a quick apology and three seconds to think it over, Sheppard said, “yes,” and became a part of one of the greatest hit-makers in the history of contemporary popular music. The rest, as they say, is rock ‘n’ roll history.

It will be one of the biggest one night events the city has seen in some time – and all outdoors, under the stars – at Nelson Park.

The Drifters featuring Rick Sheppard are entering their fourth decade thrilling audiences in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. Their show is high energy and visually entertaining, mixing the classic Drifters repertoire that fans have come to know and love along with hits from the 1970s and 1980s done up in the unique Drifters style.

In 1996, they released two albums and have since sold millions of  records.

That’s a lot of records and the Drifter are a load of talent – and for two days in September they will sing, entertain and provide music that people can listen and dance to at an evening under the stars at Nelson Park.

Tickers for the Friday evening Soiree are still available on-line.  And there is still some room at Nelson Park – tickets available on-line.  Show the partner in your life that you’ve not forgotten the music and you’ve not forgotten the person that took you to that Magic Moment music a long time ago.

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