It was my pleasure to present a long overdue honor at the Western Virginia American Advertising Awards to master jingle creator Tommy Holcomb. The event was held at the Market Building on March 1.
The American Advertising Federation’s Silver Media Award Program is a nationally
recognized award that honors men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern. The award is presented to a local person in advertising for their life-long contributions to advertising and the community.
I met Tommy Holcomb more than 30 years ago. He was already established as a legendary musician on the Roanoke scene, an active member of the Ad Club, and a jingle writer recognized across the United States.
Through the years, Tommy has worked with Access on projects for the Lutheran Synod, Roanoke College, and the advertising documentary Shine. He’s always a pleasure to work with.
Tommy’s client list literally numbers in the hundreds. He has done broadcast work for such noted companies and organizations as Mastercard, New York State Apple Growers, Publix, Picway Shoes, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Xerox, Medeco, Sears, and McDonalds, just to name a few. He’s also done work for banks and hospitals throughout North America. He has been honored with hundreds of awards in markets across the country. Few practitioners of his craft have had such a prolific and varied career.
Tommy has been active in the American Advertising Federation, creating and scoring original works for our club in Roanoke, as well as the entire third district. When Fred Frelantz, a prominent local advertising professional and celebrity, passed away, Tommy was the leading force in establishing a scholarship fund through Ad Fed to honor his memory.
Tommy is active in public service, often lending his talents to worthy causes.
Few people have shown the affection to Roanoke that Tommy has demonstrated. While he’s worked in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Nashville, he has always run his studio out of Roanoke. He wrote and produced the Roanoke Centennial song for the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and has produced several songs about life in Roanoke, including Looking Back, his musical love letter to all things Star City.
Although his career spans many decades, he’s still in the game and producing amazing music every day. Recently, his song Forever on the Air paid tribute to Alison Parker and Adam Ward and raised money to honor their legacy.
Tommy is someone who is heard, but not seen. His work is a part of the fabric of our community, but his personality is unassuming and endearing.
I invite you to take a few moments to hear what a few of his friends and colleagues had to say about Tommy. Congratulations, my friend. It’s an honor that is long overdue.