This past weekend, family, friends, admirers and musicians of every genre gathered at The Falcon to celebrate the life and legacy of its founder, Tony Falco, [1956-2021] who recently passed due to complications of Covid 19. He was beloved by all who came to know him and the Marlborough community is still reeling from the staggering loss. But a two-day celebration this past Saturday and Sunday, with its mix of music and food, was exactly what Tony would have wanted – do not miss me when I am gone he would have insisted, but keep alive a love for one another that is so needed today.
Bassist Matt Raymond first met Falco when he came to perform at the club seven years ago.
“I met him and I could immediately feel his presence in the room. It was a great experience to play here the first time and I wanted more,” he said. “And when I moved up here I made sure that I was within a half hour of the Falcon.”
Raymond soon began ‘hanging out’ with Tony.
“If I had to put a yardstick on what it is to be a good human being, it would be Tony Falco,” he said.
Raymond said all of the musicians who performed at the Falcon felt free to play whatever they wanted because Tony always supported their creative endeavors, urging them to, “take it wherever you want to go.”
Guitarist, composer and Berklee College of Music teacher, Chris Bergson, traveled from Boston to show his support. He played his first gig for Tony in 2006, prior to the actual opening of The Falcon, “when he was having music in his carriage house at his home. We had such a blast and I could tell he was tapped in to this beautiful community...it was just such a great vibe.”
Bergson said The Falcon, “is amazing; it’s like a life long dream. He just created such an amazing scene here. It radiates positivity and he was so open to all types of music; blues, folk, and even the most avant-garde jazz; as long as it was real, honest, played with passion and the musicians really meant it.” Raymond chimed in, likening Tony to Bill Graham, the late impresario and rock concert promoter who ran the Fillmore West in his beloved San Francisco and its sister venue, the Fillmore East in New York City.
Bergson concluded by saying that Tony, “was such a beautiful man and this is a devastating loss for the musical community. He was an inspiration. I think everyone who met him came away feeling what an amazing guy. As musicians we are grateful that he created this kind of sanctuary for music and art and it was always a blessing to be in his presence...He was always in the musician’s corner 100%.”
Retired Marlboro Art teacher Emmy Hastings taught Tony’s children in school. He invited her to hold student art shows in his backyard barn, “and we certainly took advantage of that. It continued later with art shows at the Falcon, even after his children graduated. We started the Advanced Placement shows here and had the brunches. That was very inspirational for our kids.”
Hastings said besides his involvement in the New York City jazz world, “he was always very much tied to the community.”
Present Marlboro Art Department Chair Amy Tremblay also met Tony through his children, “first in the classroom and then he was just very open to us. He has this place right in the middle of Marlboro and it is just wonderful.”
Marlboro Elementary School Principal Patricia Walsh knew Tony for nearly 20 years, “and he made such a lasting impression in a kind way.”
Walsh said what stood out about Tony, “was his genuineness and his love of his fellow humans. I feel like he always lived the mantra of leave the world a better place than you found it.”
Guitarist and composer Dylan Doyle said when he heard the news of Tony’s passing, “I had to sit down; it brought me to tears and not much really brings me to tears. He was one in a billion human being and I was honored to know him and have his support. He will go down in my life as one of the most important people I’ve ever met that shaped me into who I am.”
Doyle recalled that Tony gave him his second ever gig on July 11, 2012, saying there was no better place to start than at the Falcon, calling the venue his college education.
“From the get-go he was a special guy and a real artist lover and supporter,” Doyle said. “He gave me a gig opening for the Chris O’Leary Band, who I ended up touring with. He kind of put me into the world.”
Doyle summed up the lasting impact of Tony Falco.
“The music world lost a true ally and a huge icon; he was a giant,” he said. “Being at the Falcon today, of course there was sadness, but there was also this hopeful beauty that was there. Tony’s legacy is going to live on and I think he is going to inspire the future; he really changed the world and it’s here to stay.”