Concert to pay tribute to musician Eddie BoggsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The life of Sylvania musician and retired educator Eddie Boggs will be celebrated with a tribute concert combining two of his greatest passions: music and serving others.
Eddie Boggs: A Tribute of Song is set for 2 p.m. June 22 at the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania.
The event will feature performances by Bob Wurst & Sundown, David Browning, Jean Holden, First Creation, Tim Ellis & Flatland Grass and Sam DeArmond. The event will also have remarks from Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger and Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
In lieu of tickets, donations will be accepted to benefit The Victory Center, a Toledo nonprofit that offers counseling and wellness programs for cancer patients and their families. After the concert, a musical jam is planned to last until 6 p.m.
The tribute concert was organized by a group of musicians who approached Boggs’ family wanting to do something to honor and remember him. Boggs, 68, died Jan. 9 after an eight-month battle with cancer.
“‘Thank you’ are two little words that cannot express how it feels that so many people miss him and have a story to share with our family about him,” Boggs’ wife, Chris Boggs, wrote in an email to Toledo Free Press.
“It is overwhelming. He was a simple man. He loved life and he lived to lighten people’s loads. And his avenue was music and kindness. … We miss the music, so to hear it from his friends means everything! … Each participant has their connection with Eddie and we hope the songs reflect the stories. What a memory for our family! What a gift they are giving us!”
DeArmond, who is related to Boggs by marriage and was mentored musically by him, said he plans to perform “You’ve Got A Friend” and “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor.
“I chose these because Eddie was always there to lend a helping hand to not only me, but countless others. And ‘Fire and Rain’ is a song that we all can connect to about losing someone that meant a lot to us,” DeArmond said. “He deserves to be remembered at the highest level.”
Wurst said he wants to leave his song choices a surprise, but said each will have meaning and be attributable to Boggs.
“One I’m going to be doing is the only song — the only serious song — Eddie and I ever sang together in a show,” Wurst said.
Wurst said he, like many others, respected Boggs as a musician, but even more as a person.
“He was very kind and courteous to anyone he talked to,” Wurst said. “I think it would be impossible for anyone to meet him and not like him.”
Holden, who plans to sing “In This Life” by Bette Midler, performed with Boggs at numerous charity events over the years.
“Eddie was always ready to lend a hand to raise money for worthy causes and I was always willing to work with him if he called me,” Holden said. “He was a wonderful musician and just a wonderful guy.”
Holden said she felt a special connection with Boggs because of their shared Southern roots. Boggs grew up in rural Kentucky while Holden was born in Arkansas and grew up in Louisiana. Both moved to Ohio as teenagers.
“That old Southern charm — he was just bubbling with it,” Holden said. “That common politeness and courtesy. … I loved that about him.
“We all loved him,” Holden said. “[The concert is] just to share our love for Eddie and to embrace Chris and the family and let them know that we loved him so much. It just does not seem like he ought to be gone. … He just had such a love in his heart for everybody.
“It will be good for all of us to be together,” Holden added. “There will probably be a lot of tears. But he will be there.”
Musician Kerry Patrick Clark, a close friend of Boggs’, was also slated to perform at the tribute event, but his tour schedule will keep him out of town. Although disappointed to miss the event, Clark said he’s happy so many fellow musicians will be coming together to celebrate Boggs.
“I think it speaks to the heart of the man, the teacher, the musician, the entertainer,” Clark said in an email to Toledo Free Press. “He not only fostered and supported so many local and regional artists, but invited them to participate in some big or small way in one of his many shows.”
Boggs, who retired in 2007 after 37 years as a teacher and school counselor, also left a lasting legacy as an educator, Rieger said.
“Probably the greatest character trait of Eddie is he had tremendous empathy,” Rieger said. “He always seemed to have his radar up for students on the margin and find a way to bring them back in and make them feel valued. Eddie used every opportunity he had with the students to elevate their worth and dignity.”
Recalling the student trips Boggs led to Washington, D.C., where he would stop to sing and play guitar outside the Capitol, Kaptur said Boggs often reminded her of a “strolling minstrel.”
“He brightened the Capitol whenever he was here,” Kaptur told Toledo Free Press in January. “He was uniquely gifted and he was uniquely generous.”
Boggs’ family said they are humbled by the gesture.
“It is a testimony to who Eddie was and how he treated others,” Chris said. “For those who attend, myself and our family extend our sincere gratitude for remembering Eddie, in whatever way he touched your life, and we thank God for blessing us with such a loving man.”
This summer’s Toledo Free Press benefit CD for the American Red Cross, “Red, White & You, Too!” is dedicated to Boggs and contains one of his signature songs, “Uptown Boogie Down Saturday Night.”
Another tribute event, being organized by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sylvania, is planned for Aug. 17 in Downtown Sylvania.
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