Music in the Gardens
July 8, 2012 — Billy “Stix” Nicks will take center stage at Music in the Gardens, taking place from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3, in the Center for History’s Historic Oliver Gardens. The event is co-hosted by the Center for History and 88.1 WVPE Public Radio. Sponsors are Hospice Foundation, Indiana Michigan Power, and NIPSCO.
Billy “Stix” Nicks’ obsession of always carrying around drum sticks and
practicing on anything in reach earned him his nickname. While in high
school, a friend loaned Billy a pair of sticks he borrowed from his older
brother. Billy couldn’t even afford a practice pad.
Self taught and after much practice, Billy was finally equipped as a professional at age 17. In the fall of 1952 he played with his quartet at weekly dance parties for all the local high schools. Billy’s first band, “The Blue Notes,” played parties around town from 1953 to 1955. Cutting his teeth early on music, Billy “Stix” Nicks and “The Rhythm Rockers” came into their own on the summer of 1954 (still existing and lead by Nicks).
In 1962 Nicks quickly dug deeper into his music roots and joined forces with
“Jackie Ivory and The Gents of Soul,” the first band he ever toured with and
recorded the 1965 release, “Soul Discovery” LP, Atco/Atlantic Records. Billy credits this as a turning point in his career.
Billy also played and recorded for the prestigious Motown/Soul record label
with “Jr. Walker and The All Stars” for the 1965 LP release, “Roadrunner,” on songs: “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You,” “Pucker Up Buttercup,” and title track “Roadrunner.”
In January 1966 Billy Nicks, Jr. Walker, Willie Woods and Victor Thomas (4
originals of Jr. Walker and The All Stars) opened at the famed Apollo Theatre (NYC) and continued touring at such places as The Regal Theatre (Chicago), The Uptown Theatre (Philadelphia), The Howard Theatre &
Constitution Hall (Washington DC), the Twenty Grand and the Rooster Tail
(Detroit), Shea Stadium (NYC), and the LA Sports Arena.
Since 1973 till present, Mr. Nicks has been actively playing and touring with his own group projects: “The Rhythm Rockers,” the “Billy Nicks Jazz Trio” and (re-formed and touring with) “The Jr. Walker All Star Band.”
The lush grounds of Copshaholm provide a perfect setting for Music in the Gardens. Copshaholm is the 1896 home built for industrialist J. D. Oliver
and his family. The mansion’s surrounding 2 ½ acres of gardens, in full bloom at this time of year, offer a fragrant backdrop to the evening of
Free visits to the Center for History’s newest exhibit Gizmos, Corsets & Concoctions: Our Obsession with Health & Beauty will be offered.
Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Food and beverages will
be sold. No carry-in foods or beverages are permitted. The event will be held rain or shine. Corporate table packages may be purchased by calling the
Center for History.
Music in the Gardens co-presenter 88.1 WVPE Public Radio is a member-supported service of the Elkhart Community Schools.
For information, call (574) 235-9664 or visit www.centerforhistory.org or