Jun 10, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Despite being diagnosed with cancer in December 2008, hammered dulcimer dynamo Dan Duggan now’s on the mend and making marvelous music!
Dan, who’s pretty skinny to begin with, lost lots of weight and even shaved off his beard because he had neck cancer, but he performed selected dates last summer as he recovered from the dread disease thanks to radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
The 53-year-old musician will perform a concert of folk tunes, acoustic original compositions and old Irish airs at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, June 9, at Johnson Park.
Duggan’s appearance is the second of 24 free concerts scheduled by the Liverpool is The Place Committee at Johnson Park this summer; liverpoolistheplace.com.
Dan will be accompanied here by guitarist Tom Hodgson and fiddler Henry Jankiewicz. I heard the trio perform last Sept. 5 on the lawn at the Start Fair’s Agricultural Museum when they drew listeners from Restaurant Row with reels such as “The Wind Shakes the Barley” and “The Hangman’s Reel,” plus tunes such as Stephen Foster’s “Nellie Bly.”
Though he started out in the mid-1970s as a guitarist, Duggan was captivated by the ringing tones of the trapezoid-shaped dulcimer 42 years ago, and he has never looked back. In 1985, he was crowned National Hammered Dulcimer Champion at the National Fiddle, Flat- and Finger-picking Contests, staged annually at Winfield, Kan.
“I won that contest playing all original music, so that’s a real feather in my cap,” he observed. “It helped get me a national spotlight.” Since then, he has performed at countless folk festivals and released 20 albums, including his two newest: Jamcrackers with his wife, Peggy Eyres, and guitarist Dan Berggren, and National Champions, an anthology of Winfield wonders.
But 2009 was one heluva year for the musician who once recorded with Paul Simon. On April 24 this year, Dan marked his one-year anniversary of completing cancer treatments at Clifton Spring Cancer Center.
“Although the effects of radiation and chemo have lingered, the actual day of finishing treatments was a significant milestone,” he recalled. “I find myself so thankful this spring to be enjoying walking in the back field, mowing the lawn and all the other activities that spring brings.”
Though he was raised in Fairmount, Dan now lives in Red Creek in rural Cayuga County along with his wife and singing partner Peggy Eyres.
When he started treatments Dan planted an oak tree on his Esperance Farm, and now the tree’s standing strong and leafing. On April 24, he planted a saucer magnolia.
“Each year about this time it’ll flower,” he said, “and remind me of the hope that this anniversary brings.”
Meanwhile, music helps him heal.
“Today I still have some eating issues, throat pain and some nerve issues,” Dan said, “but I hold my head high The music work has become more comfortable.”
After battling the Big C, Duggan might revisit an original tune from his 2006 CD, Once in a Blue Moon. It’s called “Song of Hope.”
Sharkey’s due soon
The Route 57 restaurant formerly known as Hooligan’s will likely re-open this summer as “Sharkey’s.”
Owned by Chris Moreland, the entertainment schedule is being coordinated by Paul Davie, bandleader of the Fab 570. A golden oldies show is being planned there for Aug. 1
Art Michaels’ checkered flag
A Liverpool legend hit the finish line last week. Car-racing mechanic Art Michaels Sr. died suddenly May 30, at age 74. His driver son, A.J. Michaels, who also lived in Liverpool, died May 19, 1990, when his super-modified car spun and slid backward into the wall at the first turn of Oswego Speedway.
Art and his brother had owned and operated Michaels Brothers Exxon on Route 57 for many years.
Memorial Day race winner
Boater Brian Colvin of Camillus won the annual Onondaga Yacht Club Memorial Day Race on Onondaga Lake. Colvin cruised into first place just ahead of Jeff and Tess Freedman’s boat and nine other watercrafts.