Most cities seem to have a collection of individuals best described as characters. Over the last 30 years or so I've met several of these characters. Many have had something distinguishing about them... wit, sense of humor, artistic or musical ability. One such person I've enjoyed interacting with is Seattle's Tuba Guy, AKA Ed McMichael. Previously with philharmonic and symphony orchestras he left that life behind, hit the streets and became well known in the city for his wacky hats, his tuba and his happy demeanor.
The Tuba Guy could be found on most days outside a sporting event playing his tuba for tips. Very quick to give a "Thumbs-up" if you pitch him a buck, or inquire as to his state of mind, the Tuba Guy also seems to have memorized just about every fact or statistic about the team the fans are coming to see.
On the way to the Seattle Opera one evening I passed the Tuba Guy playing outside a hockey game. Probably because of my tux he knew I wasn't going to the game and played Papageno's song from Mozart's Magic Flute...where I was in fact going. Very interesting and entertaining to hear Mozart on a solo tuba...might even say you haven't heard opera at all until....
Coming home from performing outside a college game Ed was attacked by a group of teenage boys last November, robbed and beaten. Some days later he died from the beating. The mental anguish he suffered from having been attacked by residents of his beloved city was perhaps more serious than the severe physical trauma itself. The teenagers were sentenced last week to between 36 and 72 WEEKS in detention.
Goodbye Ed. Seattle is diminished by your passage.