Friday, December 30, 2005

Don Boyd-Rest in Peace...

Just learned this morning that Big Band era trombonist and one of the leaders of the local (to Columbia, SC) Helms-Boyd Orchestra (which played for two years plus at the Adams Mark Hotel and more recently at the Clarion Suites in Columbia, SC) died earlier this month.

Mrs. Curley and I used to dance to the Helms-Boyd Orchestra music every Thursday night for 2 years-hardly ever missing until our move to Bethune. I used to cut out from work 10 minutes early on Thursdays and rush home, calling ahead to make sure baby sitter would be there in time so we wouldn't miss a dance.

Don Boyd played the piano (he was trombonist with Harry James and Glen Gray in the forties) and Eddie Helms played trumpet. The Helms-Boyd Orchestra sported 10 members plus vocalist-Mrs. Boyd would always sing a couple songs during the night also.

I remember one day I found a 2nd hand LP (are there any other kind?) of the Harry James Band, and Don Boyd's picture was on the cover with the band. I had bought it for about 10 cents for my son's birthday as he is a trumpet man. Mrs. Curley and I brought the album to Thurday night at the Adams Mark to get Don Boyd to autograph it for our son. He gladly did so and asked if he could show it around to all his friends there that night.

I grew up listening to Big Band music. I always had envisioned my wife and I dancing to Big Band music, but the opportunities were so rare. I remember thanking Don Boyd for making this 'dream' possible for us. He was a joyful man and a great musician.

I believe he did most if not all of the arranging for the Helms-Boyd Orchestra.

Since moving to Bethune, Mrs. Curley and I haven't been out dancing. We do miss it, but do make occasional use of our own living room 'ballroom'.

I'm sure Don will be missed by all his friends.

Here is Don Boyd's obituary. (I couldn't access the local one.)

Update: Here is another story about the Helms-Boyd Orchestra.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen


Emmett76 said...

I remember playing with Musical Blocks as a child at the Boyd'shome in Beckley. We called his wife Bette Boop and my dad was a big band friend of his. He was Emmett "Budd" Cox and he played drums with Ray Anthony. Thanks dad for turning me on to Big Bands and enjoying playing music with Don in heaven.

Jim Curley said...

Thanks for the comment. My Dad's record collection is still well-used around our house. I am thankful too that he introduced me to big band music-and to Don Boyd for letting my wife and I experience it live. What great memories!