Saturday, August 29, 2015

May he rest in peace

On Friday morning, we gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Cohoes to say goodbye to one of our own.

Former Record photographer Jeff Couch died on Aug. 18 at Albany Medical Center Hospital at the age of 58 after a short illness.

A crowd of his family, close friends, former coworkers and Cohoes firefighters came together for a Mass celebrated by Rev. Lawrence McTavey in honor of Jeff's all too short life.

As I sat in a pew with The Record's longtime ski writer Dick Healy, I wondered what Jeff would think about the service and the turnout.

Part of me could picture him brushing aside the tribute, saying he didn't have time for such things as he headed out the door to take a photo, buy a pack of cigarettes, or stop at the firehouse in Cohoes to catch up on the latest news in the Spindle City. He wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve.

Behind that gruff, sometimes maddening exterior, was another Jeff, the one with the heart of gold.

That Jeff played Santa during The Record's annual open house during the Victorian Stroll and was so good with the kids. That Jeff took my nephew Andrew under his wing when he used to come to The Record with me on weekends and never failed to keep up with him as the years went by and Andrew grew into adulthood. That Jeff took the photos at my Dad's 80th birthday party. That Jeff got help for my husband during a difficult time in his life, That Jeff couldn't wait to show me a copy of a firefighters magazine that published one of his fire photos. That Jeff would take the time to help a new reporter with an assignment. That Jeff enjoyed spending time in The Record's imaging center talking with fellow photographers Mike McMahon, Tom Killips and Jim Carras. That Jeff was proud to be an honorary member of The Uniformed Firefighters of Cohoes Local 2562 and serve as the department's official photographer. That Jeff loved spending time with his close friends Wayne and Mary Hamilton.

Something tells me THAT Jeff would have been pleased that his family, friends, former coworkers, fellow Cohoesiers and members of the Cohoes Fire Department came out to celebrate his life.

Rest in peace Jeff. I'll miss you.

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The music is powerful in this park

The Refrigerators perform in Powers Park in Lansingburgh

The 2015 Powers Park Concert Series comes to a close tonight with ""Country Night" featuring Big Sky Country and Patsy Cline Experience with Courtney Shane.
If you haven't had a chance this summer to check out one of the free concerts in the park, located along Second Avenue between 111th and 110th streets in Lansingburgh, today is the day to catch the series' finale for this popular summer series.

The crowd is dancing at The Refrigerators Powers Park concert.

Two weeks ago, my family and I had a ball at the dance party concert featuring The Refrigerators. The popular band had the crowd up on their feet dancing to a variety of hits such as Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Pharrell Williams' "Happy," and "Shout" by Otis Day and The Knights.

It got loud near the speakers for Ava and Alyssa
It was the first outdoor concert for my two youngest granddaughters, Ava, 6, and Alyssa, 4, and it was such a kick to see them dancing to the music, singing along to some of the songs and munching on the treats - cotton candy, ice cream and little hot dogs! - offered for sale by local merchants. I hope the fun they had at this event will spark a lifelong love of music in both of them.

Vito Ciccarelli at the concert.

The concerts have drawn big crowds all summer, according to Vito Ciccarelli, who is the musical mastermind behind the series, which this summer has featured such diverse performers as the Jimi Hendrix tribute act Jimi Graham, funk group The Getdown, hometown artist Al Bruno, indie rockers the Chris Dukes Band, rock group Emerald City Band, and Lady Strange.

And it's almost guaranteed that you will find a lot of familiar faces in the crowd at the concerts.The night I went to see The Refrigerators, I had a chance to catch up with Nora Dwyer, John Rustin and Jim Gordon
and meet Jim's  wife Melissa and their adorable son, Liam, who will be celebrating his first birthday on Sept. 11. What a cute little boy!

One of the best parts about living in the Capital Region is the variety of fun things to do here during the summer months. Don't miss today's Powers Park concert series finale. I guarantee you'll have a good time.

The members of The Refrigerators are introduced to the crowd at Powers Park in Lansingburgh

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