Forrest Helmick, trumpet player and founder of the Blue Street Jazz Band, died at home on December 29th. He was 66 years old. He was an elementary school music teacher in Clovis California until his retirement in 2021, passing on his love of music to several generations.
Forrest founded the Blue Street Jazz Band in 1983 and it remains popular on the traditional jazz festival circuit forty years later. The band is currently under the leadership of trombonist Dave Ruffner. The BSJB is a mix of full time professional musicians and skilled amateurs, with many current members still early in their careers. In addition to festivals, the group has traveled to Mexico, Canada, and Europe and released 25 albums. Forrest remained a critical part of the front line and was known for a sweet but powerful sound and warm spirit. He loved both people and playing and frequently sat in with other groups in his area and at all the prominent festivals. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed. There will be a celebration of life held on February 18th in Fresno which may be broadcast on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/1148200439503629