Idyllwild resident Dick Halligan, original member and principal arranger of the iconic, critically acclaimed horn band, Blood Sweat and Tears (BS&T), presents his one man musical biography “Man Overboard,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, on the Idyllwild School (IS) stage. First performed in Italy, where Halligan and wife live part time, this will be the inaugural U.S. performance of “Man Overboard.” All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the IS music program, according to IS Music Director Dwight “Buzz” Holmes.
Halligan, a founding member of BS&T, is a 1969 Grammy winner for a BS&T performance for which he did the arrangement (“Variations on a Theme by Eric Satie”), a composer for film and television, and, depending on his place in his musical journey, a jazz, chamber music, and pop composer and commentator.
He is also a very engaging and funny storyteller. Halligan calls his show “an incredible, ironic, psychological journey through 60 years of an American musical life.” Probably best known for his ride with BS&T, as keyboard player, trombonist, flautist and arranger for this musical genre-blending horn band, Halligan is also a singer and the mischievously unrepentant author of his own life.
Halligan will play, sing and converse about that life during “Man Overboard,” taking his audience on a journey from his childhood to today and touching on the songs that influenced him, the ones that made him famous and the ones still gestating. He will recount the challenges, personal and psychological, that influenced his musical development, choices and direction. Halligan said he remembers fondly the quality of music played by BS&T and by many other contemporary groups and performers in the musically rich late 1960s and early 1970s. “Then anything done well could become successful,” he said. “Not like today when everything is so calculated.”
For fans who have their favorite BS&T songs, Halligan is arranger of “Sometimes in Winter” (he also plays the flute solo), “And When I Die,” “God Bless the Child,” and “Variations on a Theme by Eric Satie,” for which he received a Grammy nomination. The band won Grammy’s Album of the year in 1970, winning over the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.”
Halligan landed his first paying gig at 13, worked with local dance bands in upstate New York in his teens, began playing trombone at 20 with big band leaders Sammy Kaye, Larry Elgart and Warren Covington.
In 1967, Halligan completed his master’s degree in music theory and composition from the Manhattan School of Music. He turned down a teaching position to become part of the nascent BS&T.
Join Halligan in “Man Overboard,” to enjoy the tunes and the insights into how a successful musician charted his musical journey. “I defined myself [and the music] as things changed,” he said. “For me, this is the fullest expression I can do.”
Sponsored by the Idyllwild Master Chorale, tickets are $20 and available at the door or online at www.idyllwildmasterchorale.com, or call (951) 659-2650.