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I took this photo I called "Tuba Dude" as a candid on August 17, 2007 while out photowalking along the Magnolia bluffs, so if it looks familiar, it's because you saw it here (original post). I saw this lone figure playing his tuba. After a time I walked around to his other side to see if I might get a shot from the front, and he noticed me at a distance and acknowledged my presence with a very warm smile and a nod "Hi!" and resumed playing to the Puget Sound. I had no idea who he was, but on hearing his very able chops thought he was possibly a local orchestra musician. Seemed a very normal and charming thing to play one's horn to the Puget Sound. My husband often took his sax to the marina near our house in Berkeley after work and played to the bay and the sunset in the open air like this. Maybe its just a musician thing. I didn't want to disturb him further, so didn't take that second shot. A photo friend seeing this shot shortly after I took it commented that wasn't this Seattle's "Tuba Man" that he often saw busking outside of sporting events? Ah, yes, that's him, someone else confirmed. A beloved Seattle character familiar to thousands (except me). Several months later I was at my mom's when she was watching a television program in which his story was featured. His name is Ed McMichael. I learned that he's sort of a Seattle legend: everyone knows and loves him. After just one beautiful smile and "Hi!" from him, I could see why. Yesterday I learned that this gentle, sweet musician had been beaten and robbed by 5 youths on Mercer Street on October 25. He was treated at Harborview Hospital and released two days later to go home under the care of his brother. He passed away in his sleep early November 4th due to his injuries. He is remembered fondly by a city to which he gave so many happy moments and years of musical joy and friendliness.
There will be an informal gathering outside of McCaw Hall this Saturday morning at 11 AM at which all musicians who would like to play in memory of Ed may join in the playing of Taps, Tequila and the University of Washington Fight Song. I have a feeling it will be quite a tribute orchestra.