Band members remember Barnett

Emotions were high at last night’s memorial service for Tom Barnett, a man who had devoted 40 years of volunteer service to Ben Davis’s band department before succumbing to cancer on August 7.

People with fond remembrance for this hardworking man packed the gym Tuesday night, but four attendees hold memories of him unlike anyone else’s. Ben Davis’s four drum majors, with whom Barnett worked more than any other band member, shared a few of their fondest memories of the man who mentored, supported, and inspired them.

One drum major commented on the way Barnett made her smile every day.

“I just remember all the stories he told and every morning getting a ‘good morning’ and a hug,” recalls Beth Smalley.

Another shares a story that speaks of Barnett’s devotion to the little things that make the band successful.

“He always made sure the ice machine was filled and every kid had a water jug,” Amanda Bell said. “He treated us like his own kids.”

Carrie Zimmerman, first-year drum major, says she never truly got the chance to make any memories of Barnett, but she does recall a few of his habits.

“He would always ask us how we were and he would always give me a high five,” she said.

The gym was filled with friends and former band members who came to pay their respects. The band performed a 30 minute tribute in his honor.

One more drum major has something to add.

“If you had a bad day, he would always be there to lift you up and make your day better,” senior Grace Ishikawa said.

These four musicians may have lost one of their most reliable allies, but they refuse to let his memory crush their performance this year. Instead, they will honor and remember him by playing better than ever before. That, they say, is what he would have wanted, and after all his years of dedicated service, they are determined to pay him this final respect.