Gary Oelze, Owner of the ‘Birchmere Music’ Cause of Death Explained?
Gary Oelze Cause of Death: Multiple sources confirm that Gary Oelze, owner and founder of The Birchmere in Alexandria, passed away on Monday. More information about Gary Oelze is needed.
Who was Gary Oelze?
Oelze was also a musician who played guitar in the first band to ever play at The Birchmere. Having been released from the military in 1963, Oelze made his way to the District of Columbia from his native Kentucky. He was working at a People’s Drug Store when a coworker, seeing his potential as a manager, offered him a position at a Shirlington restaurant in exchange for shares.
The restaurant reopened as The Birchmere in a strip mall in the Shirlington area in 1966, and it has been doing well there ever since. The first owner, who had attended a nearby boys’ camp as a youngster, gave the building its current name, The Birchmere. Former manager Oelze intended to introduce a musical atmosphere in order to attract more customers at night. Oelze himself was a founding member of the restaurant’s original band.
So, what happened to Gary Oelze?
Gary Oelze, who had turned 80 years old, has died. A condolence message was shared on social media by Birchmere Music.
This evening, we received the sad news that Gary Oelze had gone away at the age of 80. I, too, am sitting here with a heavy heart. I didn’t learn this until quite recently. Without Gary’s influence, I would not be striving to make a living as a musician right now in my life. This is a statement we can make without any hesitation. He was the venue’s owner, and manager, and managed everything that went on behind the scenes at the Birchmere Music Hall.
Gary Oelze Cause of Death
On Monday, January 23, 2023, at the age of 80, Gary Oelze of Alexandria, Virginia passed away. As his wife, Susan Oelze, explained, he died of congestive heart failure. Mr. Oelze (pronounced OL-zee) also suffered from two strokes in the previous year but remained in his post until early December.
We’re trying to get in touch with Gary’s loved ones to find out additional details about his tragic passing. We will update this area as soon as we have any fresh details about the horrific tragedy that has left so many people in tears.
REST IN PEACE GARY OELZE FOUNDER, LEADER, FRIEND 1943-2023
OBITUARY: Gary Oelze, 80, Visionary Owner of The Birchmere Music Hall, Dies https://t.co/eRA0MoCVUj
— The Birchmere (@thebirchmere) January 23, 2023
Bluegrass Stories podcast
Gary Oelze, speaking to Steve Houk of Living On Music in 2020, remarked, “Bluegrass was really popular here [in the beginning].
All Roads Lead To The Birchmere – America’s Legendary Music Hall, which he co-wrote with Stephen Moore in 2021, details the history of this venue. Gary was also talked to for the Bluegrass Stories podcast late last year; that episode is available online.
Gary has always said that booking assistant Michael Jaworek deserves a lot of the credit for the wide range of performances. In those 56 years, The Birchmere has hosted virtually every major figure in bluegrass, folk, acoustic, and alternative folk music. Recently, it has become a popular venue for a wide variety of musical genres, including country, rock, and jazz. All the musicians who have ever performed there know that Gary Oelze is always fighting for their rights.
The Birchmere at 50: A real deal
A tiny bar and restaurant that had been located next to an A&P in that South Arlington commercial complex had been purchased by Gary Oelze in 1966. Though he kept Birchmere’s original moniker, Oelze added live music to attract more diners at night. After “hosting a folk singer or bluegrass band one night a week,” the weekly event eventually became “two nights a week.”
In fact, it did. Over the subsequent decade, the Greater Washington, DC area became a mecca for bluegrass musicians, with the Birchmere serving as the scene’s nerve center. Each week on Thursday, the Seldom Scene, a local string band known for pushing traditional bluegrass to the edge of the rock, drew a sizable crowd to the venue. The residency began in 1975 and lasted over two decades, gaining notoriety that put the Birchmere, once a no-frills, cafeteria-like dive with just enough room for 100 people, on the map as an internationally renowned music destination.
In honor of the club’s golden anniversary this spring, we sought out some of the musicians most familiar with the Birchmere stage to hear their favorite stories and hear them describe what makes the venue so unique.
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