My Facebook feed is full of pictures, tributes and condolences to the man who kept music alive for twenty years in one of the few surviving, long standing music venues in the country. It’s not fair that he owned the two worst possible businesses you could own during the pandemic- a gym and the historic Chance Theater. it’s not fair that he got The Chance all fixed up and never got to see a show afterwards. It’s not fair that he has to leave his family, wife and two daughters far too soon and it’s not fair that his life ended without getting to perform on that stage one last time.
I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work for him at the legendary club that I’ve been going to since I was 16. He always had great stories, a hearty laugh and and a pretty positive attitude- especially for a guy with so much responsibility.
I’ll never forget my first night working there. Lynne told me they needed help for a show and spoke to Nikki (the manager) to get me in. There was no training and little instruction. It was about 110 degrees upstairs in the balcony where I was watching the VIP section of a very sold out Michael Franti show.
The air conditioners were struggling to fight the heat and the crowd, and people kept opening the emergency exit door. I was told (in no uncertain terms) to keep that door closed, so each time it was opened, I had to leave my post, fight the packed room of sweaty drunk patrons and go close it. After several frustrating trips pushing through the crowd to get to the door to close it, I looked across the room and saw it wide open yet again. Angry, I stormed across the balcony floor once more, reached behind the big, muscular guy standing in front of the exit and yelled, “this door needs to stay closed!” He replied, “says who?” I said, “says the Chance!” His four word response made feel certain that it was my first and last day working in the club I loved so much. “I own The Chance.” That’s when I looked up and said… “oh…hey…sorry Frank.”
After the show, we cleaned up and I walked over to the corner of the bar where he was drinking a Disaronno or two and I apologized again. He just looked at me and laughed his hearty laugh and said, “don’t worry about it. You were doing your job. That’s a good thing.” I breathed a big sigh of relief and looked forward to working every show I could since that night.
I was happy to help out during the shut down with some of the renovations of the hundred year old building and anxious to get the club reopened. I had to constantly remind Frank that I’m not a carpenter and he would always say, just do the best you can. July 22 was the last day I talked to Frank. I was doing some fanal paint touch ups in preparation for the reopening. He had gone into the hospital emergency room with extremely bad stomach pain and he never left. We lost Frank on August 11, 2021. I couldn’t believe we would have to reopen the club without him. It was so surreal on opening night. No Frank. No Bob. Danny retired. It just didn’t feel the same and it never will.
As many have stated, Frank did so much for the Hudson valley music community. He not only kept the legendary club alive, he gave local musicians- young and not so young, an opportunity to perform there- even through the desolate years and near death of live music in the area. In addition to running two large businesses, raising two young daughters with his wife, Michelle, making the club available for many charity events and fundraisers, keeping the dreams of a multitude of aspiring musicians alive and being extremely passionate about our country, he also headed up two bands of his own and was a very respectable guitar player and singer.
Thank you Frank, for the opportunity to work in one of my favorite places in the world, to meet so many legends and musical heroes and for letting me be part of the ever changing, never ending Chance family. You will be missed by so many and never forgotten.