The instruments came marching into the Grange Hall Thursday night: a ukulele, a rusted bugle, two guitars and a clarinet, to name just a few.

These were the arsenal of TCD, the 1970s acoustic outfit reunited on stage in West Tisbury to honor Island musician, producer, chef and friend Charlie Esposito.

Mr. Esposito is the recipient of the 39th annual Creative Living Award, presented to him by the Martha's Vineyard Community Foundation at a ceremony last Thursday. There, before the band took the stage, friends from various phases of Mr. Esposito’s Island life spoke to honor and thank him for his legacy.

Accepting the award from Emily Bramhall, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation — Ray Ewing

Foundation executive director Emily Bramhall introduced the award, established with a gift from Ruth J. Bogan. The award was created to honor her spirit, Ms. Bramhall said, a spirit that  Mr. Esposito embodies with his “broad range of creativity and talent.”

Mr. Esposito moved to the Island at the end of the 1960s, playing with his band TCD. After a stint of Menemsha scallop shucking, he became a fixture at the Black Dog Tavern.

“The Black Dog in the ‘70s was like the little Ellis Island,” said Lynne Irons, one his many former co-workers in attendance that evening. “Everyone who came to the Island came through there.”

At the Black Dog, Mr. Esposito became famous for Chinese Night, created out of longing for the New York Chinese food he left behind.

“It was hours and hours of eggrolls,” said an emotional Matt Castro, as the scent of Mr. Esposito’s homemade eggrolls wafted through the air.

Musician and friend Jeremy Berlin nominated Mr. Esposito for the award. — Ray Ewing

Ms. Irons summed up the moment: “Charlie, it’s been a long, strange trip.”

Jeremy Berlin, the Island musician who nominated Mr. Esposito for the award, spoke of Mr. Esposito’s days recording and producing Island bands in his studio in the basement of the EduComp building. Mr. Berlin extolled his “incredible reserve of patience” and his ability “to always have a valuable insight.”

Mr. Berlin recalled how one day, when he heard his music on the radio, he didn’t even recognize it — a testament, he said, to Mr. Esposito’s production skills.

“He was some kind of wizard with a razor blade, literally cutting the tape,” he said.

Mr. Esposito also mentored Mr. Berlin’s son in music. “He made the Vineyard a great place,” Mr. Berlin said.

Co-workers from the Black Dog Tavern days. — Ray Ewing

The mic then moved to Brooke Ditchfield, who reminisced about their long history together in the performing arts. She recalled the first show she directed at the high school, Into the Woods, where Mr. Esposito had rigged up a shadow effect to create the illusion of a giant. It started a pattern, Ms. Ditchfield said, where she would say, “Charlie, I have this crazy idea, do you think we can...?”

“He would always respond with an easy ‘sure,’” she said.

Ms. Ditchfield also talked about the many “life-changing mentorships” he engaged in at the high school, and his pivotal role in creating the Performing Arts Center.

“He encouraged and inspired all those around him,” she said. “He made an immeasurably positive impact."

Accepting the award from foundation co-chair Julie Fay, Mr. Esposito told a few of his own stories: the time he passed an art exam with 20 blank slides on the fly, his accidental angering of Walter Cronkite, and the road trips searching for Sichuan peppercorn for Chinese night. The audience was then given a chance to sample Mr. Esposito’s eggrolls as the band warmed up.

TCD is back! — Ray Ewing

TCD is an acronym for Mr. Timothy Charles Duane, the Island band Mr. Esposito formed with art school buddies Timothy Maxwell and Duane Spencer, the latter of whom traveled up from Nashville for the reunion performance.

A concert by TCD is unpredictable. They played upbeat folks songs including Holy Moly, humorous ballads such as Squibnocket and an a cappella jingle. Later on they performed Holy Moly again but in reverse.

There was no encore that evening; the trio played every song they could remember. And then Mr. Esposito blew out one last note on the clarinet.