By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Sanford Feibus, the retired high school music teacher who led the Stardust Big Band and Sequim City Band for years, suffered two heart attacks in early October. The first came when Feibus, 76, was in the midst of a rehearsal with the Peninsula Singers, another group to which he belongs.
Feibus was airlifted to Seattle and is convalescing now, according to his friend, Craig Buhler of Sequim.
Buhler, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist with Stardust, Chez Jazz and other bands, is one among the scores of musicians getting set for Sunday. Together, they mean to fill the Big Red Barn, 702 Kitchen-Dick Road, with jazz and big-band swing.
Sunday’s concert, potluck and dance, to stretch from 1 p.m. till 7:30 p.m., is a fundraiser to help Feibus and his family with their medical expenses. Admission will be by donation, and guests will have a chance to bid on gifts in a silent auction.
Free parking will be available at the nearby King’s Way Foursquare Church, 1023 Kitchen-Dick Road, and a free shuttle will run to and from the Big Red Barn throughout the event.
More details about this Sunday’s festivities are at 360-683-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org, while those who can’t make it to the benefit can contribute to the Feibus family by mailing a check to Sanford Feibus, P.O. Box 1766, Sequim, WA 98382.
Sunday’s lineup of performances will go like this:
■ Olympic Express Big Band, dance-oriented standards and swing, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
■ Local band to be announced, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
■ Awesome Bob Hagan’s One-Man Variety Band, 3:30 p.m. to
■ Stardust Dance Band, swing, jazz and vintage dance music, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
■ The Dukes of Dabob, New Orleans and Dixieland jazz, 6 p.m. to
Feibus and his wife, Ila, moved to Sequim in 2002 after his 39-year career teaching music to teenagers. Originally from the Midwest, Feibus is a multi-instrumentalist; he played french horn in the Army, trumpet and trombone in big bands and the tuba for circuses.
His career as an educator brought him to Pennsylvania and Arizona where, Buhler noted, the bandleader worked with young Native Americans to transform the school music programs.
In his next life, Feibus shared his abundant energy with Sequim’s musical community.
“I am just one of many people who owe Sanford my love [and] admiration,” said trumpeter Bob Hagan.
On arrival here 2½ years ago, “I hadn’t read music since 1971,” Hagan recalled. “Sanford came to my home at no expense to me and worked with me tirelessly until I got my reading up to an acceptable level.
“He placed me in the lead trumpet position of the Sequim City Band,” Hagan added, “and introduced me to many of the music family of this community.”
Now, Hagan plays with the Olympic Express Big Band, among other outfits; he’ll give several performances during Sunday’s event.
Buhler, for his part, listed a few of Feibus’ contributions to the big-band music scene.
“He inherited Stardust from the late Bob Mocata and turned it into a professional 17-piece dance band,” for one. Feibus also served from 2008 to 2012 as director of the Sequim City Band and handpicked current leader Tyler Benedict.
And he didn’t stop working with young people: Feibus became the big-band director at Camp Heebie Jeebies, the July jazz intensive for teens at Lake Crescent’s Camp David Junior.