For years William Boddy threw himself – and other Virgos – a birthday party at the Salida SteamPlant Event Center. Boddy’s sudden passing in 2015 didn’t stop the parties, but now the goal has changed. While still a celebration of life, the party’s other objective is raising money for a scholarship created in Boddy’s name.
After Boddy’s death, Barbara Ewing and Rick Richter raised money to purchase a plaque in Boddy’s name as part of a fund raiser for the Scout Hut. According to Ken Brandon, the pair “easily” raised the $1,000 needed for the plaque. Once that goal was met, people still wanted to contribute money but suggested creating a scholarship. The Salida Council for the Arts manages the scholarship, named the William Boddy Passion to Learn Scholarship, which is used to pay artists to host workshops.
“I was good friends with William, and I was very supportive of the concept (of a scholarship),” Brandon said. “I’m on the board of the Council for the Arts, and we are all encouraged to put our shoulder behind a project. This is one that appealed to me.”
Last year, the party served as a fundraiser for the newly introduced scholarship program. Brandon said it took a while to set the program up, but the first granting cycle received about a dozen applicants. The first recipients, Jeff Bamburg and Diana Lara, both presented workshops in August. Bamburg is a luthier who held a guitar-making workshop at his shop, Rocky Mountain Guitar Co. Lara is a sculptor whose workshop focused on using polymer clay to honor the wisdom and humor of the crone. A crone is a wise, older woman in touch with nature.
The newest recipients will be announced during the party. Brandon said this cycle added a four-month time limit to ensure the workshops are held within a reasonable time. The next cycle will start in February.
“William was such a sharing and giving person when it came to teaching. I think he’d really appreciate a scholarship in his name awarded to artists willing to teach.”
Last year’s Virgo Birthday Party raised $5,000 for the program. The silent auction is the main fundraiser, and Brandon confirmed this year’s spread is fantastic. “I think he’d really be very pleased with (the scholarship) because he was so ‘Renaissancey’ with his approach to life, philosophy, music, visual and performing arts.”
Greg Walters is in charge of the music side of the party. Walters and his wife, Terri Dunn, performed in Caravan X with Boddy for five years. Walters didn’t want to have an “all out open mic”; however, so many musicians wanted to participate it’s darn close to just that. His idea, to avoid set breaks and increase collaboration, is for one band to slowly transition into another.
All the musicians will be volunteering their time, he said. “It’s a tribute to William’s influence on the community – still. Musicians have been practicing together and collaborating, taking time from their regular schedules. It speaks volumes about how people feel about this event and William’s influence. A lot of people are volunteering, and nobody has any skin in this game. It’s all about the music community coming together to forward the scholarship program along.”
Musicians set to play at the party include Blue Recluse Trio, Chris Nasca, Brian Rill, TJ and Friends, Goinomadic, Mohan Ramprasad, The Riff, Wanderlust Road and Velvet Riff.
“There are so many good bands and musicians in this town. We had 14 bands in 10 hours at SummerDaze, and that’s not everyone, just local musicians regularly gigging out of this town. We didn’t cover everyone; it’s not an easy thing to do. William inspired a lot of people and they wanted to participate.”
A new collaboration, the William Boddy Tribute Band, will kick off the musical portion. The trio features Michael Hayes, Chris Hudson and Walters. They will play original jazz tunes written by Boddy and some co-written by Walters and Boddy.
“William loved to practice. He was a student of the instrument, and he played all the time. If he wasn’t painting, he was playing music. … That’s what we’re trying to honor, that spirit. He was a good mentor and a good man. Let’s leave it at that.”
The Boddy Jam Virgo Birthday Party runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. It is free and open to all.