Break a leg in the afterlife, fellas!

— We lost two prominent players in the local entertainment scene recently.

Liverpool musician, teacher and concert coordinator George Miller, who lived in Liverpool his entire life, died Oct. 6. He was 76 years old. And comedian Big Mike Goss died Oct. 3. He was 60 years old.

‘Music in his soul’

I’ll never forget the first time I met George Miller. My phone rang at my apartment on First Street, and it was George explaining that he had some Wednesday-evening dates open for concerts at Johnson Park. Would my jug band be willing to entertain?

George had a distinctive, gravelly voice heavy on the nasal head-tones. Over the telephone line, he sounded like a male version of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine, but in person his voice took on a sing-song quality that complemented the twinkle in his eye.

“His life was marked not only by music but also by service and community,” noted the Rev. Diane Wheatley at George’s memorial service on Oct. 13 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Hazel Street.

“He certainly had music in his soul,” Rev. Wheatly said. “And he was committed to this village.”

Concerts times two

That commitment showed in the 15 years he and his wife, Jane, served on the Liverpool Is The Place Committee. Together, they expanded the summer concert series to two free shows each week, adding Wednesday performances along with the Monday concerts that began in 1985.

Along the way, George taught music at elementary schools, served as organist at St. Paul’s

for seven years and at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Baldwinsville for 20 years. He and Jane danced for 17 years with the Pairs & Squares group and he tutored at House of Prayer down city.

I enjoyed reminiscing with George about growing up in the village in the 1940s and ’50s. He vividly recalled the varied vendors who regularly rolled along village streets. He recalled knife-sharpeners, ragmen, and ice cream trucks all ringing bells to draw business. George himself had run that racket. As a child he sold vegetables from a wagon he pulled along the sidewalks.

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