As many in the Indianapolis community have heard, a great man and music advocate, Tom Barnett, passed away earlier this month.
In his years of service as a volunteer with the Ben Davis High School Marching Giants, Tom Barnett saw state and national titles, performances in the most prestigious parades in the United States, a performance at the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan and of course, a countless number of BOA appearances.
As Gary Wishmeyer, Supervisor of Music Education Students at Indiana University, said “He loved our days of competing at BOA in Johnson City, as this would give him a few days to visit with other competing band parents and equipment crews from around the nation to share ideas and to build friendships. He was a great good will ambassador for Ben Davis and the bands from the state on Indiana”
In 2011 Tom was the much deserving recipient of the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster award. (Read Tom’s Parent/Booster story here.)
In a recent email, Ben Davis director David Cole told us:
“We would like to thank Music for All for helping us honor Tom as the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award recipient in 2011. Tom always felt so special for being recognized nationally. Tom asked me once, "How the heck did BOA hear about me?" We would just tell him that sometimes a person's actions are just too big to go unnoticed. You really made a hard working, selfless volunteer feel like a million dollars. Thanks!"
When someone like Tom Barnett is nominated for the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award- it is the LEAST we can do, to help showcase all of what they have been doing to support music education. In 2011 we had many deserving nominations for the Parent/Booster award, but in our opinion, Tom's nomination video was particularly special. One of the elements that stuck out to us were the STUDENTS who we heard on the video, expressing what a huge role Tom played in the success of the Ben Davis Marching Giants. The video ends with several students saying "We love him, we love him, we love you Tom." It truly was a beautiful video and just spoke volumes to what Tom meant to the Ben Davis Marching Giants community.
We want to share that video with you:
Tom’s hard work, selflessness and true love of his time spent with the Ben Davis Marching Giants did NOT go unnoticed. Tom was not only a beloved member of the Ben Davis Band and the Indianapolis community- he was a member of the Music for All/ Bands of America family.
Laura Blake, Events Manager at Music for All has many fond memories of Tom, even before she became an MFA staff member.
"I had the privilege of knowing Tom since I was a little girl. I was a follower of the Ben Davis Band program well before I ever started playing an instrument. I'm convinced that Tom, even at my young age at the time, taught me the best ways to load and pack a truck. I was that little kid who always wanted to help, and the skills I learned from Tom come in handy time and time again with my work for Music for All. But even through high school (and I wasn't a BD Kid by the way), college, and later my work at Music for All; I always looked for Tom at shows and events. I'd find him scoping out the lay of the land, always with a big smile and a hug, wishing everyone participating to have a great show!"
This post is in memory of a great booster, advocate and most importantly, a great human being. Everyone at Music for All feels fortunate to have crossed paths with Tom, and to call him a member of the Music for All family over the years. The Music for All staff, event staff, competing bands, EVERYONE who came across the Ben Davis Band, will all be missing Tom this fall. Our thoughts are with Tom's family and the whole Ben Davis Community, and as the Ben Davis students so eloquently put it in their nomination video two years ago, "We Love You, Tom."