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Subject: Dick Fegy remembered

Donald A. Duncan
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Date Posted: 09:55:08 01/03/02 Thu

I lived with Dick at Old Joe Clark's in Cambridge in the early '70s - a period referred to by a number of others who have posted to this forum. Some vignettes:

- Dick's 21st birthday, which happened at a May festival we attended. Given his quiet demeanor and great musical accomplishment, I'd no idea how young he was! It was very humbling...

- A few years ago, at a party at Kate Spencer's, I had an opportunity to chat with Dick. He told me about his job, we shared some web resources, and he gave me a link to one of his recent reports. We marveled at how perfect the job was for him, laughed at how he'd suddenly become a guru, and shared a quiet amusement at the strange twist of fate which resulted in someone *paying* him to do what he loved so much.

- Richard Wedler wrote:
"Six or seven years ago, someone invited ... a mandolin player they thought might like our group and fit in comfortably. One Wednseday evening a quiet, bearded fellow walked in with several cases, sat down and fit as seamlessly into the mix as anyone ever has. No attitude, no issues, just music. Damn fine music.

"Since that night, I don't believe Dick ever missed a Wednesday night. Whether he brought the mandolin, the banjo, the dobro or the guitar, the results were the consistently the same. Tasteful, playful and clean. It's very difficult to imagine what our jams will be like without this man's presence."

One night (ca. 1971?) Dick and I were at a post-concert party where Reno and Harrell were jamming. Reno was playing guitar, so Dick picked up a banjo and sat in. It was a 3-way shock: 1) I'd no idea he played the bluegrass banjo (he always frailed when he played around the house); 2) He felt so confident he was willing to stand in with that company; and 3) He played well enough that it was clear he *belonged* in that company. But my lasting impression is *what* he played - he played to the music as few banjo players do. He took a break if they turned to him, and did fine, but mostly he just sat there and supported the music - filling when fill was indicated, playing gently under the other instruments and the vocals, accenting and complementing them.

I've come to believe that Dick was the ultimate ensemble player. With him it was always the music. When he played, all his phenomenal collection of talent and resource went to making the collective music better. Every group he sat in with played better, and made better music, because of his presence.

And although I had limited opportunities to see him after he moved west, reading the testimonials of others on this forum leads me to believe that maybe he lived his whole life that way...


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