Barnett admitted that as a child he sometimes preferred playing basketball or "horsing around," but now he embraces his family's musical abilities.
On Sunday, Dec. 18, Barnett, who's now a Palo Alto resident, will be taking the stage at First Congregational Church in Palo Alto with his sister, Carol Barnett Nesbitt, and nephew, Seth Barnett Pierce, to perform classic Christmas songs from their CD "A Home For The Holidays." The concert and CD are free. All donations will benefit Project WeHOPE, an organization that assists homeless individuals within Silicon Valley. It's a cause that holds a very deep meaning for Barnett and his family since the death of his brother, Greg, who was particularly fond of Christmas music, in 2014.
"He wasn't a chronic homeless person, it was just that, you know, when (he had) significant bouts of alcoholism he would basically get evicted from apartments," Barnett said of Greg's struggle with addiction. "As one expert told me, 'we need to let him find his own bottom.' Unfortunately his bottom was that he died of alcohol poisoning. He wasn't homeless at the time but he hadn't managed to slay the demons that had possessed him for years," he said. "So looking at it, it was a terrible tragedy, and it's something that played out over years ... it was painful for everyone. We just thought about ways that we could honor him and we wanted to create the CD to help the homeless."
The Barnett family chose Project WeHOPE to partner with for the benefit.
"What really impresses me is that they treat the homeless who enter their facilities as guests," Barnett said of the organization."They're treated with tremendous humanity and respect ... they're doing great work for the people in our community who are the least fortunate, who are the most vulnerable."
Cynthia Corpuz manages multiple facets of Project WeHOPE as a marketing director, from connecting with the communities served to campaign development. She joined the organization after witnessing the compassion exhibited by those working to serve the homeless community when she attended a Thanksgiving dinner three years ago.
In addition to her work with the organization's homeless shelter, Corpuz also served as launch manager for one of the services provided by Project WeHOPE called Dignity on Wheels. This program offers use of a bathroom, laundry and shower facility for homeless individuals via their wheelchair-accessible mobile hygiene trailer.
"If you're a homeless person and you want to go to your appointment with your case manager or a medical appointment, you want to have a good sense of mind," she explained. "Having that sense of mind is also feeling confident and clean. So having a shower can give you that little boost to go and improve your life."
Corpuz, who enjoys getting into the holiday spirit by decorating her home with lights and garlands, has been promoting the upcoming concert by distributing posters throughout the Peninsula and said that she can't wait to see the Barnett family perform live.
Barnett, a classically trained tenor, has performed and toured nationally with several orchestras and choruses including American Bach Soloists, Dale Warland Singers and Philharmonia Baroque. He said that he is most inspired by musicians Frank Kelley and Mel Torm
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