Sometimes, it’s the little things that bring a smile to your face and make you feel happy. Over the course of the summer, many of us have encountered the Barrhaven 416 on-ramp saxophone guy. He parks his SUV at the end of a cul-de-sac that’s right next to the 416 northbound on-ramp and plays his heart out with no audience in sight. We can’t hear him, but just looking at him, you know he’s having the time of his life.
I always thought he was a band member enjoying his morning rehearsal before a gig later that day. Many have inquired about him on Twitter, but no one seemed to know who he was, or why he played the sax in such an unusual setting. Yesterday he was playing in the pouring rain and having a grand ol’ time. So today, I bit the bullet. I just had to know what this guy was all about.
Turns out that the mystery musician is none other than local resident Barry Leafloor, a teaching assistant who simply enjoys playing the saxophone – but with a twist; he prefers to play outdoors. He’s played with a few bands over the years, but his preference is to play on his own, outside with the wind in his hair. Barry has been playing for 35 years and is completely self taught. He learned by listening to music and trying to mimic the saxophone rifts in songs he liked. It also seems that musical talent runs in his family; his brother is well known Ottawa musician Donnie Leafloor, otherwise known to many as The Rainman.
Barry has quite an interesting setup going. There is actually much more going on here than meets the eye. In the back of his SUV lies a Bose Wave sound system connected to an electrical inverter. He plays his favorite songs on the Bose and jumps in with his saxophone to play along. And despite 35 years of wear and tear (Barry tells me playing outdoors takes a toll on brass instruments) the sax sounds pretty darn good!
So there you have it. One guy who brought many a smile to hundreds of commuters, and never knew about it. Until today.
Barry will be back in the classroom soon, but you might be able to catch his act again for the rest of the week.
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