Guy Farmer: Carson City’s musical ambassadors
David and Eleanor Bugli, Carson City’s musical ambassadors, are at it again as their 16th annual Jazz and Beyond Music Festival delights audiences in Carson and throughout Northern Nevada. Today, I want to recognize my friends Dave and Ellie for their many contributions to the quality of life in our capital city.
Because they’re low-key, modest people, the Buglis generally avoid the spotlight, but I’m going to shine it on them today and thank them for helping to make Carson a great place to live. Other people seek the spotlight, but they avoid it while filling our city with enjoyable music from traditional jazz to modern to classical as Dave fronts both the Mile High Jazz Band and the Carson City Symphony, while Ellie does behind-the-scenes work with a dedicated group of volunteers.
This year’s festival, which began a week ago Friday with free concerts at the Bliss Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion, continues today with The Jazzettes at Comma Coffee at 2 p.m., Red Tango at the Brewery Arts Ballroom at 5 p.m. and the Wicked Tinkers at the outdoor Brewery Arts/Levitt concert under the stars at 8 p.m. Sunday features “A Day at the Silver Saddle Ranch” with mule rides and music starting at 2 p.m. Don’t miss it!
And for those who complain that “there’s nothing to do in Carson City,” snap out of it and get with the program. Music continues all week long with Dave Bugli’s Mile High Jazz Band and vocalist Jakki Ford at McFadden Plaza at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jazz Night at Living the Good Life (which I highly recommend) on Wednesday evening, and the terrific Reno Jazz Orchestra with vocalist Kyle Rea at the Capital Amphitheater at 5:30 p.m. next Sunday. Nothing to do? No way!
Dave, a musician and IT specialist, and Ellie, a geologist, met in Hartford, Conn., where they were English teaching volunteers, married shortly thereafter and moved to Carson from Reston, Virginia, in 1983. Both had played in a Virginia community symphony and, with the help of local music enthusiasts, Dave founded the Carson Symphony in 1984. Next came the popular Mile High Jazz Band with Dave on keyboards.
Fast forward 20 years; that’s when the Buglis organized a Brewery Arts Center tribute to jazz legend Count Basie on what would have been his 100th birthday, and that one-time concert morphed into Jazz and Beyond the following year. “Music is essential in an energetic, engaged and economically strong community,” Ellie told me last week. “We’re excited that Carson is becoming known for its arts, culture and history, as well as its scenic surroundings.” I think most of us agree with Ellie.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the festival with no paid staff,” Ellie added as she thanked local businesses and organizations, including the Carson City Cultural Commission and Nevada Arts Council, for their continuing financial support. Those interested in contributing or volunteering should go to the Mile High Jazz Band website.
I’m a lifelong music fan — everything from big bands to traditional jazz to country/western — because my dad was a Seattle guitarist and music store owner, and our house was always filled with music and musicians. I didn’t inherit the musical genes but my Marin County sister did, and she was here for the music last weekend. We finished up at a toe-tapping concert by Virginia City country/western icon David John and the Comstock Cowboys at the Bucket of Blood Saloon. If you’re a true blue Nevadan, it doesn’t get much better than that.
So get out and enjoy what remains of Jazz and Beyond this coming week. You’ll be glad you did.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, doesn’t always write political columns.