Troy's Take: World's Best - Right Here On Cape Cod

Troy ClarksonAmy Rader Photographer - Troy Clarkson

Vienna. Moscow. Paris. Mashpee.

Typically, Mashpee would not roll off the tongue as the fourth location in that set of worldwide cultural locales. However, thanks to the tireless dedication of Bill Dougherty and his team at the Falmouth-based nonprofit organization Recovery Without Walls. Cape Cod and Mashpee will indeed join the list of world-class venues like the ones above, and others like Dublin and DC, that will host the world-renowned vocal ensemble Chanticleer as they tour the globe this year. For one spectacular, melodic, and memorable evening, this amazing collection of 12 individually splendid and collectively superb male voices will share their gift of music to delight us all and to benefit Recovery Without Walls, Bill’s invaluable organization that provides a pathway to success to women in recovery—right here on Cape Cod.  

A few months back, Bill sent me a note on Facebook and asked me to view a video of Chanticleer performing the American classic tune “Shenandoah.” I knew the song as one covered by Elvis that occasionally pops up on my satellite radio station, but had not heard of this male a cappella group. I’m one of those people who can be moved by music—physically, mentally and spiritually. As I sat at my desk and listened to the beatific tones emanating from my speakers, I was moved to tears at the sheer magnificence and uncommon excellence in what I was hearing. I’m a fan and devotee of classical music—our family friend Helen had me listening to Beethoven on 33 LPs when I was 10 years old—but the sound of this amazing assembly of voices was exceptional to me. When Bill followed that teaser with the news that Chanticleer would be making a stop in Mashpee during its world tour, I knew that something special was happening—right here on Cape Cod. 


Recovery Without Walls ( is experienced in fundraising. Bill’s laudable work helping women transition from the woeful grips of addiction to the wonderful gifts of everyday life is funded largely  through events like its annual volleyball tournament, tennis tournament, and golf tournament, and of course, charitable donations. However, it has never organized a visit from a world-class performer, much less one that has been called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker magazine.

Consistent with its mission and commitment to helping women thrive, not just survive, they leapt into action and have publicized, marketed, and organized this event for next Thursday with the energy and flair of veteran event planners. When I visited Bill’s office in Falmouth this week, a corner had been transformed into a mini-box office, with a mockup of the performance center at the Mashpee High School where the event will be held, ticket sales logs, and marketing material typical for the BSO, not RWW. But that’s the beauty—the true value—of what RWW provides for its clients and all of Cape Cod. Women who receive support from Bill and Recovery Without Walls are instilled with the building blocks of becoming engaged members of society—a measuring stick far beyond the simple “yes or no” of whether participants achieve long-term sobriety. Bill measures success as women who stay substance-free, but also register to vote, gain employment and further their education, volunteer in their community, and help sustain RWW through their own charitable donations. Those donations then benefit partners and communities across Cape Cod, a cross-pollenization of good will that teaches clients and donors that active recovery has no walls – or boundaries. “People want good,” noted Bill during our visit, encapsulating his undying commitment to the betterment of society, one recovering person, one day at a time—right here on Cape Cod.

That commitment to a loftier definition of success pervades everything about RWW, including that commitment to organizations that partner and support their work. Realizing the special nature of this concert—and the work of RWW—the Cape Cod Symphony and Cape Cod Conservatory lent their marketing muscle to the concert, and what has resulted is an evening typical for some of the cultural centers of the globe—right here on Cape Cod.

“They are, to put it directly, one of the world’s best.” That’s what the San Francisco Chronicle said of Chanticleer. I think the same is true of Recovery Without Walls and Bill Dougherty. What a gift that we can enjoy and benefit from them all—right here on Cape Cod.

(Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.)


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