Stepping on stage

Posted 8/16/23

NARROWSBURG, NY — Pedro Boregaard believes in turning ideas into reality.

“The world is full of people who have all these plans which never see the light of day,” Boregaard …

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Stepping on stage


NARROWSBURG, NY — Pedro Boregaard believes in turning ideas into reality.

“The world is full of people who have all these plans which never see the light of day,” Boregaard says. 

On his 71st birthday, with a diagnosis of macular degeneration that changed his ability to craft in his jewelry business, he felt a call to make music. Lyrics and chords flooded to him and he began putting together ideas for songs. 

“I have a plan,” he said to a friend, “but I’d rather come to you when I’ve done it.”

And now, at 76, he has done it. Boregaard has enough songs for an album, and a date to perform in front of a live audience, along with his 40-year-old jewelry business that is “busier than ever.”

Boregaard grew up in Munich, Germany. “I come from a very old show business family,” he said. His family had a theatre in Berlin; his mother was a ballet dancer, his father a dancer and performer as well.

“I left my home in Munich with a guitar under my arm,” Boregaard says. His mother wanted him to have a trade to fall back on, so he took up jewelry making; eventually, he moved to England to work as a jeweler, and then in 1974 to New York City, where he made jewelry at Tiffany’s. By 1983 he left to create his own jewelry business. 

“For me, it was always to bring something to its best, not to just make it and sell it,” Boregaard says of his jewelry-making philosophy, “It’s the knowing that it’s complete.” A chain, for example, would have embellishments not only on the very front-facing part of the necklace, but all the way around, to give a feel of the piece being the most complete version of itself. 

Boregaard speaks fondly of the close-knit community he found in Narrowsburg; he’s been visiting the area with friends since the ‘70s. In 1999, he purchased his Narrowsburg home, and he maintains a gallery on Main Street. 

Boregaard has now been a practicing jeweler for 60 years. He described the joy he would take in finding the right tone of metal to make a stone really shine. “It was not that I had the best stones, but I knew what color to put with it,” he says. 

When he received the macular degeneration diagnosis, his blurring vision no longer allowed him to focus on close-up detail work.

“If you get something like this, everything changes,” Boregaard notes. “Everything has to be planned.” He has had to rearrange his time, how he gets to the grocery store, how he organizes his house, but he remains grateful to be able-bodied and able to “clean, cook and make bread.”

On his 71st birthday, reflecting, he thought, “Why concentrate on something you can’t do anymore; why not think, ‘What can I do? 50 years ago you wanted to be a folk singer, why not write songs?’”

Boregaard earlier had played foreign folk songs in restaurants while making a living as a jeweler in England. When he arrived in New York City in the ‘70s, the folk scene had moved and “NY was in the grip of disco fever, and I love to dance so I just leaned into that,” he said.

Boregaard hadn’t had as much time to play guitar in his busy jewelry career, but picked it up again that birthday night. 

Getting macular degeneration “took the pressure off my life,” Boregaard says. He describes himself as a very detail-oriented person, being able to observe and appreciate endless small things within even a square foot of garden. With his vision changed, being able to write and create music made sense. 

He dove into the new venture, but realized he could benefit from putting himself under less pressure. “First I started pushing [myself] and I said, ‘Look, you don’t want this anymore, you don’t want to be pushed into anything’… so I gave myself time,” Boregaard says. 

Now, Boregaard has a CD set to come out in the autumn, and is scheduled to perform on the opening night of the Arts Nest, a space for intimate performances and cabarets, at the Delaware Valley Opera Center in Lake Huntington at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 16.

He describes his music as contemporary folk, ranging in topic from musings about Westerns to being in the rooms of an old family house. 

He says of his music, “I never knew, first, that I could do it; and secondly, that it really would be so much fun to do.”

He also considered his age and the toll of going out and performing. “Is it too much burden [to perform], or is it a question of comfort zone?” he reflected. “Because if it is ‘comfort zone,’ then you better go out and do it. Everything is risk, and you have to get out of your comfort zone.”

A friend said of his music, “That seems like a wonderful adventure,” and Boregaard thought, “I love that word. It is an adventure.”

Boregaard’s advice when facing an unexpected health ailment is to “adjust. It is often very difficult to see, but there are silver linings in things,” he says.

“One of the things about growing old is to learn to truly appreciate life. You’re on your way out, but I think the most satisfying idea is you fall off the tree as a good, ripe old apple,” he says. 

Boregaard is open to whatever path his music might take him down. “I have no idea how things will continue; it might be a one-time thing, or it could be the start of something.” 

Meanwhile, his assistant of 30 years helps his jewelry business continue, crafting chains and pieces in Boregaard’s signature style.

“I can’t believe it; I’m almost 77 and going on stage,” he says.

Given that his father lived to 102 and his mother to 98, Boregaard could have many more years left to create. “It’s in the genes,” he said.

Pedro Boregaard, macular, degeneration


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