Las Vegas Spectrum contributing writer Peter Bugel passed on Jan. 14, due to complication following a long illness as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange during his service in the Vietnam War. Peter served in the Army Chorus on his first tour. While on his second tour, he was selected to be photographer for the action happening on the front lines. He remained a photographer for the duration of his service. Film clips taken at that time appear periodically on news and documentaries of the Vietnam Era.
Peter Bugel arrived in Las Vegas in 1976 where he performed in the Lido de Paris at the Stardust as lead male singer. Many in community’s entertainment, education and political sphere considered Bugel their close friend, and described him as talented. He worked with and coached many well-known Las Vegas entertainers.
Madeline Capelle a Las Vegas performer, was contracted to perform the Verdi Requiem in Paris and asked Bugel to work with her. “I was so thrilled to find someone knowledgeable about the music and who was also thoroughly knowledgeable about vocal technique. I so admired his deep, resonant bass voice. Peter also collaborated on my one-woman show, ‘The Undone Divas.’ Bugel was also a member of the Musical Arts Society Chorus in Las Vegas.” Madelene said, “Peter was a people centric person. Peter Bugel was very open to our community, traveled the state on many diff erent ventures, was very gifted in the kitchen and in the garden.”
Capelle received a Humanities Grant to tour the State with Bugel performing 26 concerts. “We presented interactive concerts to the schools. Peter was so dynamic with the children developing choreography on the spot.”
Suzanne Buhrer, a well-known entertainer, singer and comedian met Peter Bugel and performed with him at The Meadows Playhouse where he was the Musical Director and performed in Cabaret. Suzanne Buhrer conceived, wrote and appeared in “Hot Ginger and Dynamite” at the Union Plaza in 1980- 1981. Peter was the musical director. Buhrer stated “I couldn’t do it without him, He was a rare talent and a good friend.”
His friend of over 40 years Kerin Scianna Rodgers, a former Channel 5 talk show host, asked Peter to assist with the music for the visit of Romanian Queen Anne and King Michael at the top of the Riviera Hotel. Kerin said, “Peter’s ability to transform himself was shown when he learned the Romanian National Anthem, played the piano and sang it perfectly in their Language along with the Peter Bugel Singers and Musicians.”
Politically active in the late 70’s, Peter Bugel, Kerin Scianna Rodgers and others formed the first Gay Caucus during the Carter/Mondale era for the Democratic Convention. During that time, while discussing with Kerin gay rights and gay activities he offered his opinion on why God made sure there were plenty of gay people.
It was to care for older, ill family members and friends. At the time was taking care of his aunt in his home until she passed. Then Peter moved to Nashville when his father became ill and stayed to take care of his step mother after his father passed.
Peter was eternally joined by his sister Susan who passed away 2 months after Peter on March 11. Survivors from Peter’s immediate family include another sister, Anne H. Bugel and a niece, Sara Lozano.
Additionally, Peter is survived by two former partners, “Bruce #1 and Bruce #2.” His first partner Bruce Burroughs, a leading voice coach to singers at the Metropolitan Opera in New York now resides in California. Bruce #1 said, “Peter Bugel had a beautiful voice and strayed from his desire to be an opera singer to become a teacher.”
Peter is also remembered fondly by his second partner Bruce Parrott, a former local and a Founding Member of the “Famed” Sin City Sisters. Bruce #2 is now residing in Colorado.