The Love Shines Through At Final Bashaw Scholarship Benefit

Publish Notes: 

To be published at Cider.mag.com September, 2013

The Love Shines Through At Final Bashaw Scholarship Benefit
The Love Shines Through At Final Bashaw Scholarship Benefit
The Love Shines Through At Final Bashaw Scholarship Benefit
The Love Shines Through At Final Bashaw Scholarship Benefit

BELLOWS FALLS, VT. – Family, friends and musicians alike once again, travelled from miles around to celebrate the fifth and final Douglas Bashaw Memorial Scholarship Benefit, held at the Polish Picnic Grounds in Bellows Falls last weekend. The event marked an incredible five-year run to honor the life and legacy of the late great Doug Bashaw, a Charlestown, N.H. native who tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident in August of 2008.


Photos by Joe Milliken 1. Ed Barton and Joe Normandeau of Shine 2. Carey Lee Rush 3. Roy Alan Brown of The Stage Potatoes 4. Christopher Bergmann of Spectris with guest Robin Lull of Heartfire.

A 1982 graduate of Fall Mountain Regional High School (FMRHS) in Langdon, N. H., Doug was widely known throughout the area (and beyond) as one of the hardest-working musicians and sound engineers you will find anywhere. To keep his lasting memory alive, Doug’s widow, Kelly Hood Bashaw and family, created the Douglas Bashaw Memorial Scholarship Fund in which each year, a $500 scholarship is given to an FMRHS student interested in continuing their education in the fields of music, theatre or the arts.

Doug was a singer and played bass in most of his bands - including Governor, Mistress, Sidekik, Signature, Shine and Sun King to name but a few - but he was also a memorable son, brother, husband, father, cousin, uncle and “life-long” friend… meaning that if Doug knew and loved you, he made sure that you knew it. Did I mention that Doug was also charitable, a classmate, comedian, sound-tech, roadie and a great hugger, too? But I digress…

If Doug wasn't performing on stage, then he was rolling up his sleeves behind the scenes as a sound engineer, working very hard to promote local bands and the music scene at large. He always encouraged musicians young and “older” to get out there and perform. Doug was also tirelessly generous with not only his time, but lending his sound equipment and expertise for many fund raising events in the area.

Of course, this all leads us to the culmination of this amazing five-year run, which never ceased to amaze me with all the family, friends and musicians who have come out each year to honor Doug and lend support to Kelly, daughter Kurstin, all of Doug’s family and this wonderful music scholarship fund.

Think about it… think about how busy life can be and all the things that come and go in people’s lives over a five-year time frame and yet, each event brought back so many people who would drop whatever they are doing to come and celebrate this man’s life. And this year was certainly no different… I bet there aren’t too many people out there that can say they only went to one Bashaw Benefit because if you came to one, you most certainly felt the love and music and had to come back!

This year's lineup of great local bands included (in order of appearance) Heartfire, Spectris, The Stage Potatoes, Conniption Fits, Carey Lee Rush & Friends, 4 Play, RoadHouse and of course, the always show-closing Shine. The sound production for the day was provided by Steve Lafoe of MachOne Pro Sound, along with the “strong-arm presence” of one Marlin Paquette, who seamlessly assisted all the bands in transporting their gear throughout the day. Doug certainly did appreciate that aspect of putting on a rock-and-roll show for sure!

In fact, it makes one wonder if Doug might have had something to do with the pre-show glitch in the equipment, seeing as though sound was his expertise and I did mention he was a comedian? And what about that rain storm at last year’s gig… was that perhaps Doug havin’ a little fun with his friends and family? If so, we’re sure glad that in the end, Doug decided to give us a glorious day for the last event, as was proclaimed by one Carey Lee Rush at the beginning of his set. “Hello, everybody! This goes out to the guy who gave us such good weather today... thank you, Doug!”

After a cool opening set from Heartfire, including unique versions of Leon Russell’s “Song For You” and Little River Band’s “Cool Change,” members Robin and Lori Lull then joined their former band, Spectris, onstage for a couple songs, adding a nice twist to the prog-trio’s set. The boys of Spectris, Christopher Bergmann, Todd Westfall and Josh Mosher, have always stepped up to perform at many local charitable events (including last year’s Bashaw Benefit) and once again, came through with a tight set of original material and classic rockers.

"As a sound-man, Doug was very gifted," Spectris guitarist Christopher Bergmann told this writer before last year’s benefit. "He not only had a fantastic ear for music, but also had an uncanny ability to quickly anticipate a band’s needs that he was engineering. Our band never sounded better than when Doug was running our sound."

Next up was The Stage Potatoes, which was an especially fun set for this writer: for one, I’ve been entertained by good friend Roy Alan Brown for many years in such bands as 8084, Kelly’s Heroes, Vehicle and (going way back) Cheshire Turnpike, but this time I got to witness Roy perform along with another friend, guitarist Tim White, who I have also known for several years but have never seen perform! Oh – and did I mention the saxophone player/vocalist – Stan Rumrill - was also my son’s middle school music teacher? Now that was cool to see, for myself and my son!

The Stage Potatoes hadn’t played together in years but with just one practice under their belt, cranked up a unique set that featured some great covers you don’t normally hear such as Poco’s “Call It Love,” Alan Parson’s “Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You,” McCartney & Wings’ “Jet” and Sammy Hagar’s “Your Love.” What a great set it was and I loved that live sax!

“He gave on earth as he gives in heaven. Yes, Doug continues to give back to his community even after his passing, of course, with the help from a strong family, group of friends and fellow musicians,” Roy Brown said in a recent interview. “It was a magical sort of day and I must say, right up there as being one of my favorite shows... and I’ve done a lot of them. I am a better musician and person today because of Douglas... shine on.”

The Conniption Fits, a Fairlee, Vermont-based band that I had heard about, but never seen live was up next and let me tell you - these guys possessed something different. All full of punk-alternative energy, the trio of Stevens Blanchard(formerly of Motorplant), Jamie Hosley and Shawn Snyder let loose with a set filled with punchy originals from their latest CD, plus a couple of rockin’ covers mixed in… including a cool-but-different take on Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” complete with Steven-Tyler-meets-wild-animal-screeches!

Next up was the highly-anticipated Carey Lee Rush & Friends. After having performed a very moving, Led Zeppelin-acoustic set at the previous years’ benefit (an all-out tribute to Doug), this year Carey promised something different and special – a full band lineup featuring his long time friends Mark and Debbie Bond, Ben Butterworth and Andy Hanscom… and man, did they ever nail it!

After the epic Zeppelin-acoustic songs “Tangerine,” "Going To California” and “Thank You” while Doug’s wife, Kelly and daughter, Kurstin danced together,(thanks for making me tear-up, by the way) CLR & Friends put on a stellar performance that had the entire audience on their feet by set’s end. Zeppelin rockers “The Ocean,” “Immigrant Song,” “Kashmir” and “Rock-And-Roll” (featuring guest vocalist John Sullivan) had the place jumpin’ and rockin’ to the hilt, before ending the set with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Almost Cut My Hair” and The Band’s “Further On Up The Road.” Needless to say, CLR & Friends delivered the goods!

Local Rockers 4 Play were up next, knocking out a set of classic covers which included a few Boston and AC/DC cuts. 4 Play has been supporting the Bashaw Benefit from the outset, performing at the very first event held at White River Junction’s Shenanigan’s club back in October of 2008.

Another band familiar with the Bashaw Benefit – RoadHouse - was up next, as firecracker lead singer Lisa Kainu Miller sang AC/DC, Van Halen and Nazareth with a sauciness that no man could, strutting around the stage like an incarnation of Bon Scott-meets-Joan Jett as she belted out “Now you’re messin’ with a - !” RoadHouse is a fan favorite at this event and as usual, had everybody up and dancing!(More cow bell please, Lisa!)

"Once again, our utmost gratitude goes out to Kelly Bashaw and the kick-ass crew for all the organizing of yet another phenomenal celebration in remembrance of a fellow musician," Lisa Kainu Miller said. "From the outpouring of peace and love starting at the entry gate, to everyone joining in the festivities, to sharing the stage with unbelievable talent from around New England, to last call... we forever salute you, Mr. Bashaw! May you continue to soar in peace with the rest of the best until we meet again."

This lead us to the grand finale, the annual show-closing set by Shine, Doug’s former band, which never fails to lift the audience higher and bring the house down! Guitarist/vocalist Bill Noland, a member of another of Doug’s previous bands, Sun King, also sat in during the set for a rousing “Some Kind Of Wonderful.” Shine – Ed Barton, Joe Meunier, Dennis Normandeau and Sean McCarthy –then proceeded to rip through their set with power and grace, once again ending the final scholarship benefit with a bang, which also included a “special thank you” from Kelly and one final toast for Doug!

“There are simply too many people to thank for helping to make this such a successful event over the last five years,” Kelly said in a next day interview. “But I must mention Ralph’s Supermarket in Charlestown, who has donated to our cause every year, as well as Mike Roy for all his wonderful cooking, my brother Shawn Hood for always helping with post-event clean up and all the folks who donated gift baskets.

“Also, of course, a big thanks to all the bands that have performed over the years, especially Shine, and Gail Hynes and Joe Milliken for all the photos and articles they’ve done to help promote and preserve the memories. There are so many others, so I’ll just say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has assisted and come to enjoy this special event over the last five years… you know who you are! This year, we raised nearly $3,800 for the fund and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.” Amen.

Shine On Doug Bashaw

If you would like to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please mail a check to the Douglas Bashaw Scholarship Fund, c/o Kelly Hood Bashaw, P. O. Box 486, Charlestown, NH 03609.