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Jimmy Buffett Contributes To A Celebration Of Old And New Friends

Originally Posted: July 30, 2009

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Jimmy Buffett with Ilo Ferraira and band take to the stage at Stephen Talkhouse on Wednesday night. Talkhouse photos by Joe Strand

Amagansett - In what should have been an otherwise uneventful Wednesday 'hump day' evening, the activities at the Stephen Talkhouse certainly changed all that with tears and cheers as a local old friend was fondly remembered, and Jimmy Buffett introduced some of his new Island friends later in the evening.

Donald T. Sharkey, 46, fondly remembered.

The evening began with a beautiful, memorable and heartfelt gathering of family, friends and co-workers to honor, reminisce and share a few stories about Donald T. Sharkey. Sharkey was the Chief Building Inspector for East Hampton, as well as a fireman with the Amagansett Fire Department. Sadly, he was found dead in his home at the tender age of 46 on July 6. Sharkey had been with the Town Building Department for over two decades, joining in 1989 as an inspector and making his way to chief 11 years later in 2000.
Friends organized the evening which began with a beautiful video made by Kevin Gray, spanning the life of this well-known and well-loved man who called the East End home for many years.

Known for his community involvement and willingness to always help a friend, Sharkey's former housemates and friends relayed some humorous stories of their adventures with 'Sharkey' or 'Donnie.' Among those whose spoke were Judge Edward Burke, Jr., Peter Honerkamp and numerous others who revealed a man with a large appetite for life and all its joys. The evening's proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization Sharkey was deeply committed to.

Ilo Ferraira's big smile enchants the audience.

Amid an open bar and food, tee-shirts were available emblazoned with "In Memory of Our Friend Donald Sharkey" on the front and the WWP logo on the back. It appeared from the video that Sharkey was never without a big smile on his face and usually an arm draped over the shoulders of someone in friendly camaraderie, making it clear that this was a shining light extinguished too soon.

An emotional evening laden with jovality, humor and kindness in a fond farewell to an old pal was immediately made evident by the speakers, and those in attendance, who all choked up but laughed through their tears recalling the antics of a very special man.

Memorial donations may be made to the Donald T. Sharkey Scholarship Fund, and the Wounded Warrior Project, both care of the Amagansett Fire Department.

Once the activities surrounding the Sharkey memorial concluded, a new band in town brought melodious rhythmic sounds to the stage, and established a few memories and made a few friends of their own among the receptive audience.

Jimmy Buffett clearly happy to be at the Talkhouse.

Ilo Ferraira of Cape Verde, West Africa, came to the attention of Buffett while he was visiting the Portuguese archipelago. Coming across the smooth vocalist and songwriter in a local restaurant, Buffett was immediately impressed with his talent. Buffett, a veteran of the music business, brought Ferraia to the U.S., where he offered professional studio time and advice - and stage time with himself and his Coral Reef Band.

And he did again Wednesday night - Ferraira and his skillful band played a number of songs, including his "Fisherman's Song," a beautiful tune clearly showcasing Ferraira's vocal skills, and a few Sam Cooke covers - than Mr. Parrothead himself joined the party to the delight of the packed house.

A smiling Buffett casually commented a few times that "This is just another Wednesday night at the Talkhouse." Clearly happy to be with his 'discovery' on stage, Buffett displayed his well-known humor and grace, allowing the 'light' to shine on Ferraira and band while keeping the audience pumped up with classic Buffett tunes.

Given the diversity of the entire evening's events, it was both comforting and reassuring to know that laughter, music and memories can ease many sorrows.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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Guest (Don's Friend) from East Hampton says::
Thank you for a wonderful article that captured Don Sharkey's spirit. it is appreciated.
Aug 9, 2009 9:50 pm

Guest (suzanne boissoneau) from new bedford, ma says::
check out youtube; a bff of mine is on bass. kickin ass! lenny bradford on bass.
Aug 1, 2009 5:51 pm

Guest (PJ Sherrs) from Northport NY says::
Totally awesome night! One of the best ever at the Stephen Talkhouse, which is saying a lot! We await Ilo's first complete album, thank JB for ...everything... and all he does on all fronts!!
Aug 1, 2009 4:22 pm

Guest (WWPfan) from Margaritaville says::
Way to go Jimmy! It's a tribute to Mr. Sharkey and great recognition for Wounded Warrior Project. Please support Wounded Warrior Project by using their yahoo search page at http://www.freelanthropy.com/search/wwp. Wounded Warrior earns money every time you do.
Jul 31, 2009 8:49 pm


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