See photos of Gene Shay’s 80th birthday tribute at the First Unitarian Church starring Tom Paxton, Janis Ian and more

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Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Despite the snow and sleet falling from the sky on Sunday, a packed house of folk music enthusiasts, performers and friends of Gene Shay filled the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church to celebrate the legendary folk DJ’s 80th birthday. The concert, which featured big names like Tom Paxton, Janis Ian, Tony Trischka and David Bromberg, was a benefit show for Sing Out! Magazine.

Shay retired from the XPN airwaves in early February – see photos from his final show here – in order to focus on other projects and organizations he’s been involved with over the years. As a long time board member of Sing Out!, this benefit fell into that category, and he showed up to the even decked out in a Willie Wonka-esque purple top had and scarf, jovial as ever. Below, check out a gallery of photos from the event shot by folk scene photographer Jayne Toohey.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Full Frontal Folk performs from the stage (alter) of the First Unitarian Church sanctuary.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Dueling acoustic guitars from David Bromberg (left) and Tom Rush.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Kim and Reggie Harris onstage at the Gene Shay tribute.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Julie Gold and XPN’s Michaela Majoun backstage at the tribute.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

David Bromberg and Christine Lavin backstage at the tribute.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

A lively collaboration breaks out when Kim and Reggie Harris perform with Janis Ian.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Christine Lavin and Don White perform.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

A playful moment between Julie Gold and Tom Rush.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Choreography in a number from Christine Lavin and the New Age Sensitive Men.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Christine Lavin dances with Gene Shay.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Michaela Majoun hugs Gene Shay.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Gene Shay and his Folk Show producer Ian Zolitor.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Julie Gold performs.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

SONiA performs.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

A set from Tom Rush.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Tom Paxton and Janis Ian in the audience.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Gene Shay with David Baskin of Sing Out! Magazine and singer Lisabeth Weber.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Tony Trischka dazzles with his nimble banjo playing.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Tom Paxton performs.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Jay Ansill, Lisabeth Weber and Janis Ian onstage.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

Kenny Ulansey plays his tenor saxophone.

Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com
Photo by Jayne Toohey | jayne2e.com

The man of the hour, Gene Shay.

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