By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- Michael Koppy has certainly had an interesting journey through his life.
Raised in Tallahassee, Mr. Koppy hitchhiked and hopped freight trains across the country, from ocean to ocean, a whopping nine times after being expelled from high school.
Throughout his many different careers, working as a carpenter, carnival roustabout, elevator operator, Broadway stagehand, newspaper editor and more, music has been at the core of Mr. Koppy's heart.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, Mr. Koppy will travel from his home in Honolulu to serve as the headliner for Merritt Island's third annual Pioneer Day.
The all-day celebration marks the 170th birthday of founder John Sams, who was also known as a prominent community figure.
"How does tropical Hawaii compare to tropical Florida, you may ask? There's much less humidity here and a constant trade winds breeze," Mr. Koppy said jokingly. "On the other hand, there are similarities. I mean, for instance, we have mosquitoes, as well. Can't deny that. I've seen four, maybe five, in the year I've been here."
While Mr. Koppy loves to crack jokes, the well-traveled musician is unbelievably passionate about his craft.
"The questions I always ask of a song -- mine or someone else's -- is 'Why does it exist?' and 'What's the reason for it?'" Mr. Koppy said. "I demand that a song doesn't waste my time or insult people's intelligence with either rambling pseudo-poetic blather or simplistic and puerile inanities. Say something substantive and coherent, darn it -- and show some insight and invention."
There is no doubt that Mr. Koppy's music is truly insightful and inventive.
The San Francisco Chronicle called his "One Great Mornin' (The South's Gonna Rise Again" "an ultra-left wing Confederate call to arms."
Mr. Koppy will also perform "Nineteen Years Old," which he described as the true story of one man's life and the woman he loved throughout that life, "Behind Every Great Fortune There Lies a Great Crime," and "'Til Hell's Dang Done Froze Over."
Hoping folks, who attend Pioneer Day, find a lot to laugh about, as well as a few things to consider and think on, Mr. Koppy said performing this weekend is an absolute privilege and honor.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing what Pioneer Day is all about," Mr. Koppy said. "It seems to me what you're creating there is a nascent throwback to the Chautauquas of the late 19th Century -- wonderfully, uniquely American events that celebrated intellectual investigation, progressive political values and true community engagement and fun."
Pioneer Day is Saturday, Feb. 8 on Merritt Island. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance.
For more information on Michael Koppy and Pioneer Day, visit www.mipioneerday.com and www.michaelkoppy.com.