Sanford Feibus, one of the Olympic Peninsula’s beloved music men, has died.
Feibus, 82, a music teacher, private instructor and conductor, died on March 23 due to health-related issues at Sinclair Place.
Family and friends plan to host a Celebration of Life Party at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Sequim Community Church, 950 N. Fifth Ave.
RSVPs are required through the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce’s website at business.sequimchamber.com, under the “events calendar.”
Those interested can also leave their name and number of attendees by calling Oh Susanna’s Bed & Breakfast at 928-925-5523.
Feibus’ friend Bob Hagan said there will be food, live music and a presentation of Feibus’ life to celebrate his life in music.
Some of Feibus’ contributions to the music scene included revamping the Stardust Big Band, directing the Sequim City Band from 2008-2012 and directing Camp Heebie Jeebies, a jazz camp on Lake Crescent.
Feibus, a Pennsylvania native, leaves behind his wife Ila of 60 years, whom he met while boarding in her best friend’s house while he went to Indiana State Teachers College, she said.
He studied to become a music teacher/conductor and has taught children across the country in a handful of states from kindergarten-12th grade, along with college students and adults from Pennsylvania to Florida to Arizona to Washington state.
After he and Ila married, he was drafted into the US Army and played music for one of its bands for two years before becoming an Army Reserve officer for two years.
The couple has one son, Sean Reid, who lives in the Cayman Islands with his wife and children.
Feibus retired in 1999 after teaching in Tuba City, Arizona, Ila said, and her brother recommended Sequim to them.
“Sanford immediately connected with the music community,” she said.
Over his years in Sequim, he connected with multiple big bands whether leading, singing or playing brass, including with the Sequim City Band, Olympic Express Big Band, Peninsula Singers Peninsula College Jazz Band and Stardust Big Band.
“He was very outgoing and loving,” Ila said. “He loved his music people.”
Feibus also continued teaching private lessons late in life, she said, and impacted a lot of children and her.
“I wasn’t musical but I came to love all kinds of music because of him,” she said.
Ila, 80, continues to live at Sinclair Place in Sequim, where they lived for almost a year together. Prior to his death, Feibus had been on dialysis for the last five years of his life for kidney failure.
A friend remembers
Hagan is helping organize the Celebration of Life because he feels “Sanford changed my life forever.”
Eight years ago, Hagan moved to Sequim after recently marrying. He met Feibus through the Stardust Big Band.
Hagan said Feibus heard him play an improvisational piece and “immediately locked onto me the moment he heard me play.”
Feibus invited Hagan to play the next night with the Sequim City Band, but Hagan was nervous because he hadn’t read music since 1971, so he struggled the first night.
But Feibus encouraged him.
“He said, ‘We’ll get you there,’” Hagan said. “From then on, he came to my house free of charge and used his teaching abilities to reteach me how to play music again.”
Hagan organized a benefit for Feibus after the band leader had a heart attack in 2013.
Hagan said he saw his friend the night before he died.
“I told him, ‘You’ll never be forgotten. The way you’ve changed everyone’s life. I owe you everything,’” he said.
Hagan said Feibus helped everyone young or older.
“His whole life was spent helping other people making their lives better, making them feel like they could do it.”
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.