Troy Clarkson

Bucky Hall has been a musician since he sat as a boy, legs dangling from the piano bench, at his parents’ Steinway.

That destiny led him to the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he spent three and a half years learning and studying to be a music teacher, until his eventual epiphany described in his own words. “I was not cut out to be a teacher. I’m a performer,” he explained.

He’s been performing ever since. However, after beginning his journey as a performer, he had another epiphany. “If I didn’t want to live in poverty, I had to find other work to do,” he humorously noted, and thus began a successful and fulfilling life in the golf business. He recently retired after 30 years as superintendent at Falmouth Country Club, overseeing groundskeeping and maintenance at one of the region’s most beloved golf courses.

But music has always remained Bucky’s passion. Thirty years ago, he formed the Moonlighters band, aptly named because Bucky and his band members all had regular full-time jobs and moonlighted playing music. “It’s my baby,” he shared, telling the story of nurturing the band from its infancy to today’s success. After all those decades, the band still delights crowds all over the Cape and South Shore, playing regularly with a large and dedicated following. A review of their schedule at www.moonlighterslive.com lists show dates throughout the year; they are one of the area’s most popular and enduring musical groups.

But the Moonlighters—and Bucky in particular—are more than a band with a following. They are committed to giving back to the community that has given them the pleasure of performing thousands of shows for dozens of years. They play every summer on Craigville Beach to benefit Chip’s House, a home on Cape Cod for people with head injuries. Recently, after another successful fundraiser on the sand (they’ve been playing that gig for more than 10 years), Bucky thought to himself, “Why doesn’t Falmouth do something like this?” He asked around to some friends and the answer was consistent—they’ll never let you do it.

But then Bucky talked to the right people. He was aware of the amazing work of Bill Dougherty’s nonprofit Recovery Without Walls (RWW) and enlisted his support as the charity to benefit from a concert on the beach. He chatted with Selectman Doug Brown. He collaborated with Beach Superintendent Bruce Mogardo. He enlisted the support of tireless volunteers and planners Dutch Drolette and Helen Kennedy, and the plan came together. Falmouth’s business community joined in the effort—Ronnie Bowman provided the plywood for a platform. Al Bagg provided the stage. Clark Guinn and the Sea Crest helped out with parking. The community came together for a community event.

Bill Dougherty, who had never met Bucky, wasn’t sure if Bucky could pull it off. RWW helps women in early recovery find pathways to housing, employment, and a life free of drugs and alcohol. As one of the earliest volunteers for the Falmouth Road Race more than 40 years ago, Bill knows what it takes to put a large event together. “But then I saw Bucky’s work ethic and it all came together. I’m honored that this event allows some of the women from our program to volunteer and give back.” That completes the circle of sharing for this event—the very women who have benefited from generous donations to RWW in the past now volunteer to raise more funds to support Bill’s important mission.

So finally, after all the planning and donating, the first free concert was held, and it was a rousing success. Hundreds came to the free concert and danced, sang, and donated. The event was family-friendly and alcohol-free. A friendship was formed and a tradition was born. Next week on Wednesday, July 17, the tradition will continue, and the Moonlighters will once again perform a free concert on Old Silver Beach from 6 to 8 PM. “It’s a thank-you night,” said both Bucky and Bill when I chatted with them this week.

That thanks is multi-dimensional. From the first responders who are on the front lines of the addiction epidemic to the counselors and medical professionals who work in the treatment arena, to the people in recovery who guide and mentor newcomers and show them the way, this night is a way to honor all of those efforts. That’s a big reason why the event is alcohol-free. Bucky and Bill encourage people to come, dance on the sand to the Moonlighters’ classic rock, “I guarantee you’ll have a good time, but bring your pocketbook,” reminded Bucky. The concert is free, but volunteers will pass around buckets for donations to Recovery Without Walls, making this an opportunity for visitors and residents alike to join the Moonlighters in giving back.

Even though Bucky Hall is retired from his job as a golf course professional, his “moonlighting” continues. He is grateful to continue to tickle the ivories and play the sax. “It’s a very good life,” he simply noted. Yes, Bucky, and we’re grateful that you’ve chosen to share it with us and give us all a chance to dance, sing, and donate.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.

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