A local musician could use your help | TheUnion.com

A local musician could use your help

Recently we were shocked by a huge tragedy halfway around the world. The scope of that tragedy and the personal stories that came from it caused us to open our hearts and wallets to offer help. Now, a smaller tragedy, but still one that deserves our attention, recently occurred here in Northern California. A very talented musician who was part of a duo known as Hawks and Eagles has left the tethers of his body and is now soaring, as he so rightly deserves. Jimmy Borsdorf, musician and songwriter extraordinaire, died Jan. 11, 2005, after a long battle with cancer.

Jimmy’s passing leaves those of us who knew him very saddened. He was known by many and enjoyed by many more through his music and local appearances at the Nevada County Fair with his equally gifted wife, Nancy.

Jimmy and Nancy were true, modern-day troubadours. Playing music was their life, their love and their dream. They stayed true to that dream and lived their lives accordingly. Sometimes they would travel around in their camper, playing for jobs ranging from house concerts and contra dances to doing a soundtrack on location for a Hollywood movie. At home and on the road, they were always willing to donate their time and music for a good cause and played many benefit concerts. They did school programs to teach the importance of music and the oral tradition to our children. They produced many recordings and are well known on the folk circuit. But, as most musicians who stayed true to their music and their roots, they never had much. They got by and were happy with what they did have, their music and each other.

Jimmy’s illness changed all that. With no health insurance and too ill to play, they struggled but managed to squeak by. The jobs dried up as Nancy spent all her time taking care of the love of her life, the partner with whom she composed the symphony of their lives. The final movement was poignant. Jimmy passed with Nancy by his side and soared away, free from pain at last.

Nancy now has to find the strength to go on. No longer part of that flying duo, Hawks and Eagles, she is left an orphaned fledgling, having to learn how to fly alone, and finding the courage to write a new opus. That alone would be hard enough. Sadly, the illness and bills have left her strapped. She is trying to get new music jobs alone, but jobs and money are slow in coming in, and she worries about keeping a roof over her head. Those of you who have heard her know the incredible stories and songs that emanate from her violin. She can change your mood in a minute, bringing great joy or making you weep in sadness with the deep, rich intonations from her magical instrument.

What she most needs from us now is emotional support and jobs. Send a donation if you like or hire her to provide music for a romantic evening, a dinner party, give a gift certificate for an evening of love songs, have a kids party, give a house concert, give her as a birthday present, hire her for a friend’s (or your own) wedding, and buy tapes. This amazing woman will find the strength to go on, but please help her get through this rough time. At the very least send her your prayers.

Nancy Borsdorf can be reached at P.O. Box 2111, Oroville, CA 95965; or by calling 534-5748.


Susan Murphy, a local veterinarian, has an office at 13895 Colfax Highway, Grass Valley.

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