It was a party Larry Enlow would have been proud of.
That’s the consensus after Enlow’s Celebration of Life Concert in Gulfport’s Veteran’s Park on Saturday, October 30.
Swarms of people – local and from out of state – came to Gulfport to dance, sing and listen to a lineup of musicians close to the late Gulfport musician and artist benefactor’s heart.
Veteran’s Park saw sets of Enlow’s favorite songs by band members from the three Cajun bands he was a part of: Atlanta Swamp Opera, the Gulfport Ramblers and the Gulfport Swamp Opera.
“It wasn’t no sad memorial,” said photographer friend Larry Busby. “It was a party Larry would have planned himself.”
The celebration served as a fundraiser for Larry Enlow and wife Maureen Kilroy’s nonprofit for the arts, The Enroy Foundation Inc. With Enlow gone, Kilroy is continuing the foundation’s role of supporting visual and performing arts in the area.
Kilroy herself performed in many of the sets, and ended the night with an emotional version of Enlow’s favorite song, one that he chose for his brother’s memorial, “This Little Light of Mine.”
“I put together a program with all types of music that Larry played, and that he loved,” Kilroy said.
Songs from the Past
Enlow died September 11 of this year after contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19. His death rocked the Gulfport community, but Saturday’s concert was about celebrating his life.
“We had people dancing and singing along and letting their little lights shine,” Kilroy said. “Everything he did, everyday, I miss everything about him.”
The park was transformed into a type of outdoor dance floor, a community effort by the City of Gulfport and residents.
The focal point of the night, five hours of music, was an emotional journey for many of the attendees, including former Gulfport Swamp Opera band member Bruce Waters.
“Music and dance was such a big part of his life. I miss his encouragement; he could bring things out of people that you didn’t even know you had in you,” the musician said.
Waters played in several sets at the celebration, and was a longtime musical partner of Enlow and Kilroy.
“We played mountain music…swing…vocal harmonies…it was beautiful,” Waters said. “It was a fluid situation, very musical.”