Donna Fisk wins Spur Award

Frank Ifield, Bob Howe, Donna Fisk 2015

Congratulations to my dear friend DONNA FISK, winner of the 2015 Frank Ifield International Spur Award.

The award was presented on 12th March 2015 at the Canterbury Country show in Sydney.

Here is Frank’s account of the night in his own words…

” What a fabulous time was had by all at The International Spur Award night at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL (who graciously co-sponsor the award). The atmosphere was electric and the packed house was full of friendly familiar smiling faces and unexpected surprises too, as we were graced by the presence of such Australian celebrities such as the legendary singers Col Joye and Ray Burgess.

The show kicked off with Bob Howe fronting the Hillbilly Heaven Band with their highly entertaining and professional performance, followed by multi-award winner from Victoria, Donna Fisk. Her presence lit up the room and her unique vocal style immediately captured every musical ear.

Next, the stage belonged to my 2010 Spur award winner, Johanna Hemara. I am always delighted when my conviction for each of my awardees becomes justified and once again Johanna proved worthy of my faith. Her yodelling is superb but the showstopper for me was her heartfelt rendition of Roy Orbison’s classic ‘Crying’ which features on her most recent CD called ‘I Yodel in my Dreams’. Except for Bob Howe and me, it was an all-girl show as the next artist was my 2009 winner, Nicki Gillis who is a regular co-host and singer on many of these monthly Canterbury Country shows. Nicki, with yearly tours to the UK and a plethora of European Country music top ten hits including a number one to her credit, has undoubtedly become our most successful Spur award winner and I regard her as a great role model for future aspiring young Australian talent.

Then I made my entrance on stage and spoke of how I was transported in my mind to the early 80’s. You see, in 1982 I came on one of my many tours of Australia and finished in Victoria. I rehearsed in Melbourne with a very impressive local Country band called ‘Hot Diggity’ and their lead singer was a dynamic young teenager named Donna Fisk. She is the daughter of well-known Australian Country Singer Gene Bradley Fisk and she had me captivated by the uniqueness of her voice from the very first time I saw her perform.

Again in 1984 I returned to tour ‘Down Under’ and found myself working again with the Hot Diggity Band at the Moomba Festival. I was to sing from a moving boat as it made its way down along the Yarra River. Trouble was, I could only hear myself sing intermittently as we passed the speakers on the shore line. The band leader was a young guitarist called Bob Howe who not only impressed me by his musicianship, but also his prowess as being totally unflappable in any crisis. I said “If ever you come to England give me a call and I will get you to work with me”. No sooner had I got back to the UK, Bob turned up and gave me a call. This was a moment that turned into not only a decade of touring together but also forged a lifelong friendship.

Now, many years later, I watched as Donna Fisk held the crowd in the palm of her hand, knowing that she was totally unaware that she was about to become the recipient of the 2015 International Spur Award. Sponsor of the trophy is the Rotary Club of Galston and their representative is Richard Young who had much to do with the running of ‘The Galston Country Music Festival’. He has been to many of these Award nights and offered his sincere congratulations on what he considered the best Spur Award show he had seen.

When I proclaimed Donna as the winner she was gobsmacked! However, she managed to compose herself and spoke in such glowing terms of me that in the end I was the one left speechless.

I was able to tell Donna and the audience that her song ‘Still In Love With You’ had just entered the European and the UK country music chart at number 39 after having only being released last week. ” – Frank Ifield