THE other day I received a message from John and Brenda Withers from up north in sunny Noosa – (lucky dogs…it’s the traditional Melbourne winter down here) – with a YouTube video of their friend, Dutch banjoist Tom Stuip. Here is the said video clip of Tom playing “Love Song of the Nile” with Jim Mazzy, assisted by Ad Houtepen on a wonderful bass sax and Hans de Bruijn on piano.
In passing John and Brenda mentioned that Tom had been in Australia a few times. Through the good offices of Ginny Luetje (who lives in St Louis, Missouri), Tom got in touch with me and gave me the story of his time down under.
In October 1934 there was an air race between London and Melbourne as part of Melbourne’s Centenary celebrations. One of the 20 contestants was a KLM DC2 passenger airliner called “Uiver”. Uiver came second overall but won on handicap after some excitement over Albury where an electrical storm had pushed the plane off course. The good burghers of Albury turned out in the rain to line the race course with their car headlights to enable the plane to make an emergency landing, and next morning pulled her out of the mud into which she had sunk.
AND NO, Tom wasn’t here in 1934, but he was fifty years later in 1984 to celebrate this great aeronautical achievement by the Dutch national airline. He visited three Australian cities: Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra with the Dutch Dixie Machine. I couldn’t find a video of the visit, but here’s a sample of the DDM in Nagasaki, Japan in 1987, but without Tom.
Now to close, another video of Tom, playing this time in Budapest, Hungary in 1992 at a Banjo Camp.
Tom has visited Australia since 1984, but to go scuba diving not to play.