Monday, February 23, 2009

Defense Official Became Folk Music Benefactor

Victor Heyman, friend to many including yours truly, died in January. There was an excellent article about him in the 2/22/09 Washington Post.

By Kay CoyteWashington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 22, 2009; Page C09

Victor Heyman, a Defense Department official during the counterculture 1960s, emerged in later years as a widely recognized "folk angel."

His generosity ranged from financial backing of folk music venues and festivals to no-strings loans to down-on-their luck musicians, to thousands of acts of random kindness. Dr. Heyman, a Rockville resident who died Jan. 6 at 73, was the financial guardian of countless folk performers nationwide.

When Vermont songbird Rachel Bissex was dying of cancer in 2005, Dr. Heyman in short order spearheaded a two-disc tribute CD of her songs performed by some of the best of her contemporaries, from Patty Larkin to The Kennedys. More than $50,000 was raised for a college fund for Bissex's children.

When singer Tom Prasada-Rao, then of Takoma Park, was trying to make an impression in the New Folk competition at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, Dr. Heyman and his wife, Reba, made T-shirts bearing Prasada-Rao's likeness, sat in front-row seats and created a buzz that helped him win that 1993 competition.

When Dr. Heyman won a $500 grand-prize drawing from CD production company Oasis Disc Manufacturing, he handed it over to Texas-based singer-songwriter Jenny Reynolds, who applied the windfall to her next recording, "Next to You."

The complete article is at

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