Blair Barrett


1963 – 2012

SFLGFB Bari, Alto & Tenor Sax, Board Member, Past President, Volunteer, Bowler, Friend and Dog Lover
Stage One Community Theater Music Director

You touched our hearts.
We will miss you.

Memories of Blair, by Richard Gibson

As Julie has written, Blair Barrett passed away on Saturday  March 17. Because Blair hadn’t played in the Band for the last few sets, some of  you may not have known him. I worked with him closely both on the Board and in other endeavors and he did quite a bit for the Band. I wanted to type a few words to make sure folks knew about him.
Blair joined the Band in 2007 after having been a member of one of  our fellow LGBT bands, the Flamingo Freedom Band of South Florida. Blair was not one to just be involved in something a little bit – he either was really involved or he wasn’t. In his first 2007 Dance-Along Nutcracker, Blair was a feature baritone sax soloist in The Grumpy Old Rat, aka The Grumpy Old Bear. Soon after that, he started forming a new saxophone group, the San Francisco Sax Co, which played around the bay area and the Russian River with many of the Band’s saxophonists.  (You can still see/hear their renditions of Teddy Bear and Tequila on YouTube.)
Even though Blair’s true passion was making music, he decided to join the Board of Directors of the Band. During that time he served as Vice President and then succeeded me as President of the Band in 2009. While he was Vice President, he led the Band’s previous Artistic Director search which culminated in the return of our esteemed AD, Jadine Louie.  He also served for a time as the Chair of the Board’s Fundraising Committee.  It was during that time that Blair pushed for the Band to be one of the organizations that provides volunteers for the SF Pride Festival each year.  (In fact, he just wrote the Band a reminder about this year’s volunteer needs a couple weeks ago.)  Doing the legwork to be one of the beneficiary organizations for Pride and getting that addition on our annual calendar of “things we always do” brings in an additional and much needed $1200 each year to the Band.
During the latter end of my Presidential stint, the Band’s previous AD (Roberto Gonzalez) moved on and we then moved into the search for his successor.  I can honestly say that neither of these processes would have gone as smoothly for the Band without Blair’s constant assistance and attention, both publicly and often more importantly, behind the scenes.  I would call him day or night and would never have to worry about him being asleep because he always seemed to have a new litter of puppies with at least one or two that needed that special 24-7 Blair attention.  Blair was one who didn’t hold back what he was thinking and being able to work with him and bounce ideas off him really helped me stay centered during some of my more interesting times as President.
Lately Blair hadn’t been able to play with the Band, but he certainly hadn’t been avoiding music.  Blair had been the Musical Director for Stage One Community Theater in Newark.  I was fortunate to work with him in two Musicals this year – A Little Shop of Horrors and Hairspray.  He was always happy, chatting with everyone, a stickler for detail in rehearsal, but in the end always enjoying making music.  His last two shows with Stage One were to sold out audiences and standing ovations, something he definitely deserved.
Blair will be missed by many, certainly by me.
P.S.  Stage One has created an “in memoriam” page on their website where people can type read and type personal notes about Blair.

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