Alumnus David Barrett: The Shining Moments of his Musical Career

David Barrett, Albion alum of 1977 and Emmy winner, plays the piano at a music major meeting in Goodrich Chapel for all the music majors to hear (Photo by Erin Lathrop).

Since graduating from Albion in 1977, David Barrett has remained involved in the Albion College community. Barrett, who was not a music major in his time at Albion, comes back to campus when invited to music major meetings in order to give inspiration to students, telling them about his journey to winning an Emmy for his musical compositions. 

Time at Albion

Barrett came to Albion to purely play basketball but soon realized it wasn’t the right fit.  He did, however, continue his soccer career at Albion, achieving All-MIAA first-team his junior year. 

While at Albion, Barrett studied philosophy and played music in his free time, mainly playing the organ and piano. During his college years, he began to dabble with the guitar as well.. 

“That’s the great thing about this college: All of a sudden, I had permission to try things, to learn things,” said Barrett.

Throughout his time at Albion, Barrett wrote music, often sneaking down to the basement of Wesley at night to write. One night, he wrote a song about one of his friends, who fell in love with a girl from Michigan State University. 

Later on, after sticking the piece in a sock drawer, Barrett brought the piece out of hiding. Today, the song is known as“Devotion,” the opening theme for the 1988 Summer Olympics. 

One Shining Moment

Barrett’s most recognizable piece is the song “One Shining Moment.” NBA fans associate this with the end of the March Madness tournament. The song plays in the background as the highlights of the tournament are shown.

The song was written on a napkin in a diner in East Lansing, Mich. while watching Lary Bird on ESPN.

“‘One shining moment’ I wrote in 30 minutes,” said Barrett. “I always say it was ten years and 30 minutes. I was working away at an idea.” 

Barrett emphasized to the music majors here at Albion that they may get ideas that will stay with them through the years. These ideas, he said, can be used later in life. Whatever they write can become a diamond from coal with a little bit of time. 

“‘One Shining Moment’ was the song that I always heard on television during the basketball playoffs – the NCAA tournament,” said Dr. Samuel McIlhagga, chair of the music department. “I never knew who wrote it, never knew anything about it, just knew that it was the tune they always play. Turns out, when I got to Albion College, someone from somewhere told me that it was an Albion alum that wrote that tune.” 

Winning an Emmy

Barrett wrote scores for many PBS documentaries throughout his career. One of them,  the opening for “Beyond the Gridiron: The Life and Times of Woody Hayes,” won an Emmy, making Barrett even more well known. 

“Beyond the Gridiron: The Life and Times of  Woody Hayes” is about the small-town Ohio football coach, Woody Hayes, and how he started Ohio State University (OSU) on their national dominance in the 1950s-70s. Hayes went on to lead OSU to five national championships, four Rose Bowl wins, with eight appearances in the Rose Bowl. 

“Sometimes, the budgets were limited, so I faked through all sorts of scenes on the guitar as a solo,” said Barrett. So, if the budget was limited, all those years of playing these shows and going back to my motel room and just goofing around on the guitar were invaluable because I had skill to do it.” 

About Erin Lathrop 56 Articles
Erin is a senior from Saline, Mich.. She is on the Track, Cross Country, and Swim and Dive team. Erin is at Albion College studying to become a nurse. She is, also, the movie Trolls and Trolls 2: World Tours' number one fan.

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