By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations are back for an encore performance. The headline act for Larned High’s All School Reunion last year will return to Larned Saturday night.
Members of the band are lead singer Jimmy (Dee) Schmidtberger of Russell; drummer Bill Gasper and bass player Ray Schmidtberger of Ellis; keyboard player Joe Dreiling, Victoria; and guitarist Anthony Pfeifer and saxophone player Tim Pfeifer, both from Hays.
Musical influences include Elvis Presley, The Righteous Brothers, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Beatles and Roy Orbison. They will perform a variety of music from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The Pfeifer brothers grew up performing Polka music with their father’s band. Tim Pfeifer remembers performing when he was 11 years old. Jimmy Schmidtberger was a next-door neighbor and the Pfeifers were die-hard musicians. Tim Pfeifer, the youngest musician, was talked into performing when the group wanted a saxophone player.
The musicians all graduated from Victoria High School.
“Everyone gets along great and it’s like a family reunion,” said Tim Pfeifer. “We have great camaraderie in the band and we get the thrill of live entertainment. It’s a thing of the past that people still enjoy. There were a lot of bands in Victoria, where we all grew up. We still enjoy entertaining people and we still get feedback.”
The group performs about a half-dozen times in outdoor venues like Larned. The other concerts are small-town celebrations, reunions and weddings.
Gasper said Tim Pfeifer and Anthony Pfeifer are passionate musicians who have consistently performed through the years.
“They’ve been performing since 1975 in some way,” he said. “We built a reputation as a fun party band and people still remember that.”
In 2002, Jimmy (Dee) Schmidtberger released a CD “Round Trip” and followed with “Summer Fun.”
A DVD biography was put together after months of compiling and editing photographs and video footage with the assistance of Smoky Hill Public TV. A second DVD was recorded for sale featuring a performancel at the Fox Pavilion in Hays.
One documentary featured the history of “Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations.”
In the early 1980s, the Fabulous Destinations went their separate ways, some performing in popular groups such as “Blubird,” “The Heat,” and “Anthony & the Anamals.”
Jimmy Schmidtberger went on to perform as the “Jimmy Dee Band,” and has maintained a loyal following.