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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Ferrara Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009) (285* d) RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009) 18 Oct 09

I met Barry the first time he came to an FSGW Getaway. (1998? Can't remember.) I was program director and I think he and Roger in Baltimore led Prison Work Songs that first year. We got along fine who could not like Barry? but we really got to know each other while he was waiting for his first liver transplant. I had been through the whole thing, waiting for my heart transplant, and we had a lot to talk about.

The year he had that transplant, Barry and Joe Offer stayed at our place Thursday before the Getaway. Joe and Barry talked until the wee hours. Next morning Joe and Bill slept in. Barry and I talked for hours at the kitchen table about our lives, our families, our struggles with ADD, our transplants, politics, the universe, and everything. Tears were pouring down Barry's face as we talked. Partly it was the poignancy of the things we were talking about, but mostly his tears were due to the prednisone, which has funny effects on people's emotions (I won't discuss what it did to mine!). We could laugh, even while he cried, because we'd both been through it.

Joe drove me to Camp Ramblewood while Barry rode with Bill. Joe and I got lost and took 3 hours but were having so much fun we didn't mind the crazy drive.

My favorite memory of Barry is from that Getaway. Saturday night Barry and Big Mick were hanging out, Mick was singing an Irish song with guitar accompaniment. Barry picked up a metal chair and used the flat part like a bodhran. Sounded pretty good, too. So Mick went to the car and got his bodhran for Barry. I had no idea none! that a bodhran was such an incredible instrument. Barry caressed and coaxed and fine-tuned that drum as subtly as someone playing a violin. He varied the strokes, the rhythms, the pitch, moving around the bodhran for various effects and sounds. I was in awe of all this. I thought he and Mick looked like a lean black wolf hanging out with a Saint Bernard. They were continually insulting each other and enjoyed it immensely.

We loved Barry for so many reasons. His convictions and willingness to speak out; his intense involvement with life; his courage and determination to make the most of all life had to offer; his sense of humor and sly remarks; his obvious devotion to his family; and of course his incredible musical talent. More than talent, Barry had such a deep involvement with music that I was awed. I was very influenced in my singing by Barry. He knew wonderful songs from all genres and when he sang, the rest of the world would just go away and he was deep inside the song.

This year at the Getaway I told him I thought he was singing the best I'd ever heard him.   I'm grateful that we had the chance to see Barry - and hear him there.

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