This Sunday, the eighth and final Salida SteamPlant Jazz on the Plaza event of the 2017 season will feature Farrell & Friends, a quintet composed of Dr. Farrell Coy on alto, tenor and soprano saxophone; Cec Hogarth on keyboard; John Lusk on guitar; Brian Pence on drums; and James Haag on bass.
Farrell & Friends are returning to the jazz series for the fifth time; SteamPlant Event Coordinator Trish Bews described the ensemble as “popular favorites who play in the lineup nearly every year.” Farrell & Friends plays a variety of tunes, mostly from the Big Band era and jazz standards. “We seem to have a bit of a following, people who appreciate the music they relate to from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. We do love to play jazz tunes like ‘Sister Sadie,’ ‘Tenor Madness,’ ‘Night in Tunisia,’ and some Latin beat tunes,” Coy said.
Coy and Lusk also sometimes appear in Jazz on the Plaza with the band Equinox; when possible, Coy also performs with the Colorado Mountain College Big Band.
Known locally as the conductor of the Alpine Orchestra from 1998 to 2012, Coy is also a retired college professor, dean and an exceptional jazz musician. A student of music from the University of Northern Colorado B.A. and M.A., University of Colorado M.M., and the University of Maryland where earned his Ph.D., Coy, plays flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone.
He moved to Buena Vista in 1998 after retiring from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W. Va. as professor of music and professor emeritus for 32 years. Prior to that, Coy taught public school and junior college music for 10 years in South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
Coy and his wife sold their Buena Vista home in 2012, trading it in for R.V. life in a 36-foot motor home, and they currently reside in Colorado Springs for the summer. “My main focus was always music education, but I played professionally continuously and have never stopped. Of course the amount of playing has drastically reduced now that we live on the road … but I try to keep my chops up by playing with groups wherever we are.”
Favorite composers for Coy include Stravinsky, Mozart, Copland and Beethoven; he’s drawn to jazz groups such as Dave Brubeck, Stan Kenton’s Big Band, Sonny Rowlands and Paul Desmond. “There’s just way too many to narrow it down,” he added. If Coy could perform on stage with any musician living or dead, it would be Dave Brubeck. “I would love to make believe I’m in Paul Desmond’s spot and try to come close to some of the beautiful playing he did. Another would be Oscar Peterson – what a terrific piano player and model musician.”
Coy hopes he can play until his last breath. “To go down with the horn in my hands would be all I could possibly ask for.”
This free Jazz on the Plaza finale happens Sept. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Riverside Plaza along the river behind Salida SteamPlant. Local businesses and the Friends of the Salida SteamPlant sponsor the event; a cash bar offering beer and wine will be available. For more information about Salida SteamPlant events, visit SalidaSteamplant.com.
Bews confirmed a jazz music series will return to the SteamPlant in 2018 but added that organizers are looking at alternative ideas for the event format. Regardless, local business sponsors are always needed for these annual jazz functions. Interested supporters may contact Bews directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.