are always difficult following the loss of a close friend. But when
a music-making duo � known locally as �Avalanche� � recently lost
musician Charlie Prazma to a sudden heart attack, the other half
of Avalanche, Dennis O�Brien, lost more than a friend; �close� in
this case included thirty-plus years of sharing a stage and making
audiences smile as they watched the pair perform on untold occasions
and at numerous venues around the Fox Valley and beyond, underscoring
the love for singing and playing guitar the two great talents shared.
And a whole lot more� Dennis graciously agreed to allow us to share
with you the eulogy he presented at Charlie�s funeral. I think it
describes well the reasons why Charlie�s presence � and his music
� will be sorely missed.
Thank you so
much...to my friends and family for the continuous outpouring
of love and support for me as it relates to the passing of my wonderful
friend Charlie Prazma. Please indulge me while I share with you our
was my musical partner for over 30 years. We met in 1980 while performing
the musical �Hair��.I was in the cast and he was in the band. We soon
learned that we were both out performing in some of the same clubs...And
a few weeks later, I decided to go out and hear Charlie�. While there,
he invited me to sit in with him. He asked me if I knew any of the Loggins
and Messina songs�..I told him I did, and after a quick discussion of
who was going to sing what parts, we proceeded to play what has since
become known (in our circles) as the Loggins and Messina medley. After
we finished, Charlie looked at me and said, �We have got to start singing
together�. And that is when the magic began�.
Over the years, we
performed songs written by other artists while creating our own meaningful
arrangements that apparently (and sometimes profoundly) moved the people
that came out to hear us. All I can say is that when we played together,
it was simply magical. It was natural...and easy and It was a very successful
relationship on many levels.
was such a blast to play with Charlie�We were extremely relaxed performing
together on stage and could play 40-50 songs a night without referencing
a set list�.we simply would look at one another and often times know
exactly what song to play next�..and then just smile at one another�Our banter between songs became endearing
to the audience. We had so much fun together...and loved to make fun
of ourselves. When we began to lose our hair, the appropriate joke was
that we were putting a new tribute band together�.and we were going
to be named �The Bald Eagles�.We recently seriously considered changing
the name of our band from �Avalanche� (which we never really liked)
to �Assisted Living�. We thought that was hysterical!
recent years we had the opportunity to work with some of the very artists
that we grew up idolizing. While working with the band �America�, we
had the pleasure of spending about a half hour back stage with them
and Charlie (of course) had Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley in stitches
laughing at Charlie's
jokes. When we worked recently with Kenny Loggins, Charlie again was
able to have a meaningful discussion not only with Kenny�s band, but
was able to banter back and forth with Kenny as well. Apparently it
was so hot on stage during our warm up that Kenny asked Charlie if he
a vest over his long sleeved shirt. Charlie replied, �Kenny�.if I were
you I would wear
some sandals, shorts, and a just a Dago-T on top��Kenny thought that
Charlie had the ability
to engage in conversation with anyone, anywhere at anytime. He had an
uncanny knack to be able to draw people into a meaningful discussion;
leaving them with the thought of his wonderful sense of humor and intelligence.
And always at some point he would throw in a joke�.or two�.or three�.that
would literally have everyone roaring with laughter. He was the best
joke teller I have EVER heard!
Charlie taught me
many things over the years. Musically, he taught me how to appreciate
what was not being played; that the space between the notes was as powerful
a force as the music itself. He also taught me that breaking a song
down to its simplest form was the ultimate way to create an impact,
and the respect gained from a meaningful arrangement far out-weighed
What I took from Charlie
that was most profound, was his simplicity, the same simplicity he strived
for in every area of his life. I will miss him...our conversations regarding
family and how proud he was of his children Michael and Lisa and his
wife Carol. I will miss his music and his humor that made me �belly
Charlie�s reflection on life was pure and
natural. He was so many things to me: He was my partner, he was my teacher,
he was my brother (like I need another brother), and he was my best
Charlie and I knew
that this awesome journey we had been on together for the past 30 years
was reaching it�s end�.but we also realized that we had just...hit...our
sweet spot. We figured that we probably had played over 450 gigs together
in just the last three years...and we had never sounded better. NEVER!...
I know we had a few good years left in us and selfishly speaking, I
was not ready for this magic to end.
The sense of loss
is enormous when someone who has been such a huge part of your life
for such a long of time is no longer by your side. My hope for all of
us is to find comfort in knowing that we have a new guardian angel...and
by remembering the fine things that we shared with Charlie.
When I grow up�..I want to be just�..like�..Charlie.
Thanks for the great
ride everyone�.You were a huge part of our joy together.