Remembering Michael Meldrum: Dave Ruch, Cathy Carfagna and Dave Meinzer
by Geoff Kelly - posted 6:22 pm, May 6, 2011
Cathy Carfagna and Dave Meinzer, musicians and songwriters both, sent in this remembrance of Michael Meldrum, who passed away on Thursday evening:
One of the beautiful things about Michael was how he was unfailingly supportive and encouraging to so many singer-songwriters in Buffalo, especially those who were first starting out. He was kind and gracious to every nervous performer who stepped up to debut a song at the Monday open mic—whether you’d been playing two months or 20 years—and he made
everyone feel valued and welcome. His John Lennon and Woody Guthrie tribute shows were very special, and served as a launching point for countless collaborations and friendships. Michael was a real “musical community” activist; he was committed to celebrating our region’s collective circle of musicians. He will be greatly missed.
Dave Ruch, another veteran of the region’s acoustic music scene, has this to say:
Michael Meldrum was a genuine human being, with an emphasis on the “genuine.” He was always ready with a hug and a smile, and a “How are you, my friend?” Ever eager to fill me in on what he’d been doing and what the next musical project was, he was a “home base” of sorts for me whenever our paths crossed—a person I could always count on for a friendly chat.
As much as anything, I will remember Mike as a great musical organizer. In addition to creating and presiding over who-knows-how-many memorable events featuring great artists from outside the region, he seemed to have hundreds of musical contacts in Western New York to draw from in putting together a night of local music. I feel lucky to have been among that group, and I’ve lost count of exactly how many great people and fellow musicians I’ve come to know through Michael.
Whether it was a bigger gig at a college or special event, or a humble happy hour at a local watering hole, he never seemed to run out of enthusiasm for putting a bunch of musicians together with him—often people who’d never met much less played together—for a night of tunes and fun. We were never quite sure what was going to happen on that stage, and it often seemed to me that he wasn’t either, but then again maybe he was. He seemed to believe wholeheartedly in the abilities and talents of all of his various musical friends, always confident that it was going to be a great night. He was also a master at “winging it.”
Rest well, my friend. We’ve lost the E string on our collective guitar, but we’ll keep all the others tuned up for you. Our music scene and our lives are forever changed for the time you’ve spent with us.