Barbara Barefield chats with Platinum.
Bringing world-class musicians into
some of Detroit's most unique historic
homes is a passion for BARBARA
BARERELD. Three years ago, she
and her husband, jazz guitarist and
composer Spencer Barefield, started
the Palmer Woods Music in Homes
series. International and local musi-
cians put on jazz, classical and world-
music concerts at various upscale
houses. "We've raised significant
funds for strengthening and improving our neighborhood and carried
out our mission to enrich the arts and cultural environment in Detroit,"
said Barefield, 59. The couple has lived in Palmer Woods for 22 years.
Their children, Jannina, 28, and Spencer, 23, are pursuing careers in
music and art. Barbara, a cancer survivor, is originally from New York.
She moved to Ann Arbor in 1968 to attend the University of Michigan
School of Architecture and Design, where she majored in painting and
ceramics. Her career has focused on photography and graphic design,
but music plays a key role in her life. "By showcasing the amazing
talent we have in this area," she said, "we're introducing new audi-
ences to both the arts and our unique neighborhood." For tickets for
future concerts, go to palmerwoods.org or call (313) 891-2514.
Here, we ask Barbara Barefield our version of the Four Questions.
— Robin Schwartz
WHAT BOOK, CD OR OTHER MEDIA
DO YOU LONG TO SHARE?
WHAT IMPORTANT LIFE LESSONS
HAVE YOU RECENTLY LEARNED?
I love my husband's music. JazzTimes magazine
describes him as a musician who "melds the tech-
niques of Segovia and Jimi Hendrix into a star-
tling jazz lexicon." I recommend all of the Spencer
Barefield CDs, including his most recent, Soul
Steppin' Through the Fabulous Ruins. I'd also like to
share The Lemon Tree, an Israeli film about the con-
flict between Salma, a Palestinian woman, and her
Israeli neighbors — the Israeli defense minister and
his wife — over Salma's ancestral lemon orchard.
Several years ago, it became apparent that my mom,
who was in her 80s and diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease, should not be living alone in New York. I
brought her to Detroit, hoping she would agree to
live here. She became the queen of our home for
more than two years. She never realized she was liv-
ing with us, which would have upset her greatly; she
believed she was visiting. My husband, whom she
refused to meet until our wedding day (she felt an
African-American non Jew was not the best match
for her daughter), became her best friend. Our mul-
tiracial, multigenerational family found increased
healing and bonding through love and music. She
taught us every moment is precious.
IF YOU COULD BRUNCH WITH A
BIBLICAL OR HISTORICAL JEWISH
FIGURE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Marc Chagall. His magical artwork reflected and
immortalized Jewish life in the 19th-century shtetls
of Russia and Eastern Europe, home of my ances-
tors. With masterful use of vibrant colors, symbols
and whimsy, Chagall depicted daily life, rituals,
celebrations and passion, music and culture. Artists,
like Chagall, can be forceful messengers, speaking a
universal language that communicates across barriers
of culture, time and space.
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