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‘Brownie’ fixed instruments for free for kids in need

— “He was wonderful,” DeSantis said, “a gentleman of first order. He worked hard all his life, and when he worked for us he was as valuable an employee as anybody could be. You know, it’s not enough just to sell musical instruments, you also have to be able to provide that service, to repair them when they needed it. We did a lot of repair work on school instruments, and Brownie was a big part of that work.”

In September Mimi Osmun brought a few dogs from Heid’s out to Brownie at Sunnyside. Osmun plays piano and sings for the Rhythm-Airs. “What a great guy,” she said. “We’re sure going to miss Brownie!”

A 2006 inductee into the Liverpool High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame, Brown was a member of American Federation of Musicians Union Local 78. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Jane Brown, in 2003 and is survived by six children.

Contributions in Brown’s memory may be made to the Liverpool Central School District’s music department, 4338 Wetzel Road, Liverpool, NY 13090.

Diamond Someday, a lively local bluegrass band fronted by guitarist-singer Shirley Stevens, who lives in Liverpool, often opens its shows with a line from “Old Chunk of Coal,” the Billy Joe Shaver song which explains the band’s name: “I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’ll be a diamond someday.”

Then the group soars on a familiar gospel tune such as “I’ll Fly Away.”

On Sunday, Dec. 9, when Diamond Someday performs at the Central New York Bluegrass Association’s annual Christmas party, however, the quintet will also pick a heart handful of holiday tunes such as “Away in a Manger” and “Silver Bells.”

The CNYBA Christmas bash begins with a jam session at 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at American Legion Post 297, at 13 E. Main St. in Marcellus. Following a pot-luck ham dinner at 1 p.m., Diamond Someday will showcase original Shirley Stevens tunes such as “Lady in Red.” But the fivesome will also perform festive fare like “Silent Night,” “O Christmas Tree” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”

Less familiar but no less entertaining Christmas songs will include “Shotgun Shells on the Christmas Tree” by Robin and Linda Williams and “Christmas Bells,” a silly seasonal ditty also known as “Snoopy and the Red Baron.”

Diamond Someday features guitarist Shirley Stevens, Dobro player Dick DeNeve (another Liverpool native), mandolinist Ed Van Cott, banjo player Sean King and bassist Karen Campolieto. Admission is free Sunday, but donations will be accepted; 572-2247; cnyba.com.

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