James Bachmann is 12. He is a budding ventriloquist with an already strong technique and a great sense of humor. He is soft spoken and respectful when he speaks. When he begins to talk about his passion for ventriloquism, his eyes sparkle and his hands become animated.
James also is battling brain cancer and has already been through treatments that many might not have survived. But one does not sense that when he speaks.
Sitting with his friend Levi Davis in his family’s restaurant, Tommy’s Kitchen, on North Circle Drive, James is like every other bright and enthusiastic young boy talking about his dreams. For James, it is about improving his craft and obtaining another figure for which he can add a special voice. He already has 12, each with a different personality James has created. But he has his sights set on acquiring a special figure made by Tim Selberg, the pre-eminent maker of figures for ventriloquists, www.selbergstudios.com. “He’s called ‘Jack,’” James said. Asked why he was so interested in that one figure, James said, “It’s because he’s so human.”
James’ mother Kristen explains that James has already been through many of the most difficult and taxing treatments — six months of chemotherapy and a bone-marrow transplant. When she speaks, her concern is evident. Hearing that concern, James stands, comes to where his mother is sitting and puts his hand on her shoulders, to reassure her.
“That’s our motto, strength through love,” Kristen said, as James stands smiling behind her. Thomas Bachmann comes out for a minute from the kitchen to stand with his son and wife.
Thomas, a Swiss native, has built a solid business in the short time Tommy’s Kitchen has been open. But it has been very difficult for the family to do so given the need to balance growing the business with the concerns for and time demands of James’ medical appointments and needs. But seeing the family together, there is no doubt they are strong and loving and that James is the core.
James’ fifth-grade teacher Michelle Adler and her husband James Wiesen are organizing a golf tournament fundraiser for the Bachmann family. The cost is $45 per person. It will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Golden Era Golf Course in San Jacinto.
Participants are asked to form their own teams and reserve spots and help the Bachmann family by calling Wiesen at (951) 751-1388 or Adler at (951) 897-5173. Said Wiesen, “Please help this Idyllwild School family as they help their son James with his fight against brain cancer.” Wiesen indicated participants can also sponsor a hole at each green in addition to paying to play in the tournament.