Whether he's on the job as a veteran Farmington Hills firefighter/paramedic or on stage sharing his love of jazz, Stan Barnes likes helping people.
On Oct. 6, his seventh annual "Stan Barnes and Friends" jazz concert aims to leave those who attend feeling better than when they walked in the door. The concert brings musicians from around metro Detroit to the Michael A. Guido Theater in Dearborn, where they perform and just have a good time.
"We do R&B, neo-soul, jazz, and some classical music," said Barnes, who works out of Fire Station No. 2 on Middlebelt. "It's wholesome entertainment in a stress-free environment. We try to create a musical Nirvana."
Barnes began playing the saxophone in high school and moved on to learn other woodwind instruments, as well as piano and keyboards. He comes by his talent naturally; his father was a musician.
At 14, Barnes fought his first house fire, and the house was his own. He said he was babysitting is younger brothers when the fire broke out. After getting the younger boys out of the house, he picked up a garden hose, but quickly realized it was little match for the flames.
"We lost so much," he said. "Firefighting was a natural progression ... I've lost so many relatives in fires over the years."
Barnes said he feels "blessed and thankful" to have spent his career with the Farmington Hills Fire Dept., where he signed on in 1994. But he is most thankful for his family, especially his wife of 25 years, Brenda, who manages everything off-stage for the Stan Barnes and Friends concerts. The couple's three sons – Jordan, 16, Brandan, 13, and Kàdan, 9 – also help set things up and are on stage at the end of the show.
The concert was Brenda's idea, Barnes added, and the two of them finance the whole thing.
"We had an offer from a company to buy out the name and the brand," he said. "It was tempting, but we don't want a company telling us down the road, you have to include this or go here."
Barnes said he sets a high standard for the show, from the quality of the music to the expectations of the musicians. He said some who perform also work with nationally-known entertainers, but tell him his concert surpasses those experiences, "because it's a family experience. We have fun on stage ... and if we have fun, the audience will have fun."
Tickets for the Oct. 6, 7 p.m., concert range from $36 to $41 and can be ordered online at dearborntheater.com. Barnes said sponsorship opportunities are also available.
To learn more or to get in touch with Barnes, visit stanbarnesmusic.com.