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A Legend in our Neighborhood

I learned this morning that singer/songwriter Richie Havens passed away yesterday. There was a short excerpt about him on the news, during which they played a recording of his opening set at Woodstock in Bethel, NY, in 1969. (Coincidentally, I’m heading to Bethel Woods tonight for another venue. Bethel is only a 25-minute drive from Beach Lake.) Although I was too young to attend that concert, I did, in fact, have two opportunities to see Richie Havens perform live. While attending elementary school in New York City, my best friend Rachel Christmas and her parents invited me to see him at Lincoln Center. Then, in the late nineties, he came to Callicoon, NY, to play at Harmony Hall, a huge ballroom with a rowdy bar on the second floor of the Western Hotel, which closed recently. We had invited our friends Craig and Felice to join us that night, and the four of us sat at a table so close to the stage that Mr. Havens’ spit kept showering us. I am proud to say that a legend touched me and am very sad that he’s gone.

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