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Tom O’Boyle a local Broadmoor treasure

Tom O BoyleCOLORADO SPRINGS- Every Thursday at noon, over the summer, the City Auditorium hosts what they call a sack lunch concert. You can join several hundred mostly retired devotes to hear a concert performance on an old wind organ. Sometimes the keyboardist will improvise an accompaniment to an old single-reel comedy. Often the star of the show is none other than Tom O’Boyle.

In the interest of full disclosure, Tom O’Boyle was a classmate of my mother’s at the Cathedral School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And he played my parents’ wedding in fact. Somehow when my parents retired to Colorado Springs in the late eighties, they discovered that Tom O’Boyle had come here as well. So my mother and father got to revisit the memory of their wedding every weekend. Tom had made a name for himself in Colorado, mostly from his performances at the various grand pianos at the Broadmoor. He counts many celebrities among his fans and impromptu duet partners.

A few years back, the Broadmoor sought a change of their entertainment and Tom O’Boyle is no longer there. It’s a shame. He still has a weekly gig at the Castaways in Manitou, and no disrespect meant to that Tiki-Deco throwback which still has plenty of charm, but O’Boyle is much too refined a talent to be buried behind their keyboard. Come see him on Saturday night, ignore the family dining. He’ll play anything between cigarettes, he does pop standards and classical, all like it’s jazz blues, with none of the lounge act. Think Cole Porter meets… Tom O’Boyle.

Back at the noon hour organ fest, Tom’s fingers are too agile for the antique organ. The organ offers more of a one-man-band performance that’s fun just for the grandiosity of the sound. But when there’s a piano handy, Tom will alternately switch his seat there. At the upright he’ll play Grieg, Mendelssohn and everything distinctly blue. You don’t want to miss it, no matter what time of day. Next week is the last sack lunch of the season.

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