Dr. Arthur P. Barnes

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 2:00pm

Dr. Arthur Barnes died peacefully at his home in Stanford, California on Feb. 6, 2024.   

Born on March 26, 1930, in Cleveland, Ohio, he began his musical life playing the piano at a young age. Blessed with perfect pitch and a talent for composing, Arthur excelled at the piano and picked up the trombone as well. In middle school he met his wife, Helene, a talented French Hornist and after high school both attended Wichita State University.  After earning a master’s degree in theory and composition from Wichita State University, he served on the music faculty at Southern Illinois University. In 1959, he joined the music faculty at Fresno State, where he taught piano, trombone, tuba and directed the band and the wind symphony.  In 1963 he moved to Palo Alto to pursue a doctorate in music at Stanford University. During that time, he was invited to conduct the Stanford Wind Symphony and the infamous Stanford University Marching Band. He was a gifted arranger and as the band shifted from playing standard Sousa Marches to 60s and 70s rock music, the Stanford band emerged as the world’s largest rock band. In 1965 he began teaching at Stanford University and taught music theory, ear training, orchestration, and score reading until his retirement in 1997. He was a beloved teacher, and his students describe his teaching style and mentorship as “life changing.”  

In addition to his teaching position at Stanford, Arthur served as music director for the Livermore-Amador Symphony from 1964 to 2014. He was an outstanding classical musician and built the Livermore Symphony into one of the finest community orchestras in the Bay Area.  

As a young boy, Arthur summered in Boothbay with his family. He worked for Mildred Reed washing dishes and running errands for her husband Manley Reed, a gifted carpenter and builder. In the 50s Manley built the Barnes’ family cottage on Juniper Point where the family continues to spend their summers. Boothbay was a special place for Arthur, and he loved bringing his family there to share in the joy of living a life near the sea.  

In 1991, Artur and his wife Helene, helped to establish the Lincoln Arts Festival Pops Orchestra which featured professional musicians from Boston and Maine. Since their debut the annual Pops concert directed by Dr. Barnes in Sample’s Shipyard became a favorite summer event in Boothbay Harbor.    

Some of Arthur’s favorite pasttimes in Boothbay included buying books at Sherman’s Bookstore, heading to Grover’s Hardware to pick up any number of things he needed to maintain his cottage and visiting his old friend John Webster, owner of Orne’s Candy Store. He loved to get out every day and walk down Juniper Point Road, greeting neighbors and telling stories about his summers on Juniper Point. His musical career took him around the world, but his favorite destination was always Boothbay Harbor. A brilliant man with a great sense of humor, he was loved by all who knew him. 

Arthur P. Barnes was preceded in death by his wife, Helene, in 2022. He is survived by his son, Jeffrey; daughters Jennifer Wolfeld and Holly Barnes; and five grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Juniper Point Community House on Saturday, June 29 at 4:30 p.m. This celebration is open to the public.