One of Branson’s biggest and most popular entertainers, Shoji Tabuchi, will be inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later this year. According to a release, Tabuchi will be honored at a special gala, headlined by Grammy Award recipient Kris Kristofferson, as well as the late Merle Haggard’s band, The Strangers, on Saturday, April 18.
Tabuchi will join the ranks of past National Fiddler Hall of Fame inductees Roy Acuff, Charlie Daniels, Howdy Forrester, Johnny Gimble and Bob Wills, among many other greats.
The violinist, who was born and raised in Daishoji, Japan, started taking violin lessons at the age of 7 using the Suzuki Method. His musical taste was turned around when Roy Acuff performed in Japan.
“That was my first country concert, and I was just knocked out,” Tabuchi told the Branson Tri-Lakes News. “It was the song ‘Listen to the Mockingbird’ that really knocked me out, and it was then I decided to play country music.”
After the show, he met Acuff, who told Tabuchi to look him up if he was ever in Nashville. He eventually formed a band called the Bluegrass Ramblers, which won a nationwide competition in Japan. After their win, Tabuchi decided to come to America.
Tabuchi invaded our shores in 1967 with $500 in his pocket and a heart full of dreams. Tabuchi performed in San Francisco for a time before relocating to Kansas City. He played at the Starlite Club in nearby Riverside. He soon took a trip to Nashville to look Acuff up. Acuff landed Tabuchi a spot on the Grand Ole Opry radio variety show, which led to a gig touring with performer David Houston. Tabuchi toured with Houston for five years before heading out as a solo act.
In 1980, he was offered a six-month contract at the Starlite Theater in Branson. His popularity began to soar, and during this time he met the woman who would change his life forever.
“She was the one who came up with so much of what we do,” Shoji Tabuchi said.
It was, indeed, Dorothy Tabuchi who created much of the spectacle as the duo worked tirelessly to open the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in 1990. Due to a fire at the venue in 2017, “The Shoji Tabuchi Show” has called the Clay Cooper Theatre home for the past three seasons, and will do so again this year, beginning Sept. 11.
The show still attracts guests from all over the world each and every year. Featuring a wide variety of music, dancing and visual effects, the show remains one of the most talked-about in town.
The National Fiddler Hall of Fame, based in Tulsa, is dedicated to honoring individuals for their contributions to the art of fiddling, preserving, educating, and promoting its historical, and social significance.
In addition to being inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame, Tabuchi is also a past recipient of the prestigious Missourian Award, the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Award, and the Americanism Medal from Daughters of The American Revolution. Additionally, Shoji Tabuchi is a two-time TNN Music City News Instrumentalist of The Year nominee; Ozark Music Awards Entertainer of The Year as well as four-time Instrumentalist of The Year; and Branson Terry Awards Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian Award winner.
For tickets to the event, visit mabeecenter.com or call 918-495-6000.