Carol Beaugard, long time host of Lonesome Pine RFD on WFDU-AM in the metro New York city market, shared this recounting of a special celebration in New York earlier this month.
On April 1, 2012 The Emelin Theatre held a fundraiser at the Beach Point Yacht Club in Mamaroneck, NY in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of its Bluegrass Music Series. The series was founded by the late Doug Tuchman, along with his colleague, J. Jay Mautner. Since Doug’s passing, Arnie Fleischer has taken over as the Series’ promoter.
The Emelin honored me at the fundraiser in recognition of my work as the host of the Bluegrass Series and for my years on-air as host of Lonesome Pine RFD, which has been heard in the NY Metropolitan area on WFDU-FM since 1985. Mark Ettinger, President of the Emelin Theatre’s Board of Trustees, presented me with the Certificate of Honor.
During my acceptance speech I spoke about why bluegrass is so special, sighting the instrumental and harmonic magic of the music but also emphasized the amazing ‘community’ that is such a part of the experience of bluegrass. The honors were presented at the time that the memorial service for Earl Scruggs was being held in Nashville so I said a few words about Earl and his legacy and we remembered him with a moment of silence. The event was well attended and I was so grateful to all the fans, friends and members of The Board of Directors who came out to celebrate.
The event featured a brunch and raffle – with more than 40 CDs donated by bluegrass bands appearing in the 2011-2012 series. The day was topped off with bluegrass music performed by The Westchester Bluegrass Boys, featuring Arnie Fleischer on banjo. I joined them on-stage and sang You’ll Get No More of Me by Hazel Dickens.
Throughout the day, as we enjoyed the gorgeous atmosphere of the club with its breathtaking view of the Long Island Sound, the memory of the series’ founder, Doug Tuchman was strong. Doug was the first editor of Pickin’ magazine and a DJ who hosted the radio show Honky Tonkin’ on WKCR-FM. He was best known as one of the first and most important traditional music promoters who founded the New York City Bluegrass Fair in the 1970’s, and ran concerts and bluegrass contests at venues includingThe South Street Seaport, the Loeb Student Center at NYU, among others.
Doug first brought me on stage to emcee the Bluegrass Series more than a decade ago and I’ve been blessed with the extraordinary privilege to introduce virtually every major bluegrass act in our music. The venue has developed a well deserved reputation as one of the best concert opportunities in the northeast. There have been so many special moments and so many great stars and shows – every single performance has been exceptional. The roster of acts that have graced the Emelin’s stage reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in bluegrass.
I’ve emceed at many festivals and major halls but there’s something truly special about The Emelin Theatre. There are so many exceptional moments I could recount, but I’ll share one notable memory I recall with great fondness – Doug always knew what a fan I was of Tim O’Brien so when he and his sister Mollie did a show he arranged for them to sing happy birthday to me on-stage and present me with a birthday cake. That was classic Doug.
I’m so grateful to the Emelin Theatre for maintaining its dedication to the series and I look forward to its continued success and another 30 years of great bluegrass!