Paul Barrientos - a musician, a teacher, and a friend and colleague - passed away late on Saturday evening, October 5, 2019, three weeks shy of this 72nd birthday. Paul helped many find their voices, both in music and in life.
Paul Arthur Barrientos was born on October 31, 1947 to parents Arthur and Margaret Jean Barrientos. He was the eldest of five children and is survived by his two brothers and two sisters: Mark Stephen, Ann Marie, Martha Jane, and John Giel. He spent his formative years living near St. Louis, MO, which is where he developed his lifelong passion for baseball and, specifically, for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Paul had met his life partner, Michael E. Stone, while living in New York City. Tragically, Michael passed away in 1994 shortly after he and Paul relocated to New Mexico.
Paul was an accomplished vocalist, actor, conductor, and music coach, having performed for successful theater and opera groups and in well-renowned venues in St. Louis, Boston, New York, and New Mexico. He was a featured vocalist for the Boston Pops Orchestra on multiple occasions and worked with New-Mexico based theater groups such as Opera Southwest, Musical Theater Southwest, the University of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Shakespeare Project. He directed the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus for several years in the early aughts. Paul also directed church choirs around the country, including Epiphany Episcopal Church in Socorro, NM, where he was an active member at the time of his death.
More than anything, Paul loved teaching, and he lived for his students. After moving to New Mexico, he taught choir and voice at Rio Rancho High School and Del Norte High School in Albuquerque. Starting in 1999, he taught music and directed the chamber orchestra and choir at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM. Paul’s students found him to be an attentive and caring listener and mentor. At times, Paul would spend hours after class talking to students who needed a friend.
Paul’s memorial service will be Saturday, November 2, 2019, from 2-4pm on the third floor of the Fidel Student Center (Ballroom C) on the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro, NM. The service will include an Episcopal Eucharist, music, and time for audience members to share memories of Paul. Monetary donations will help the family pay for medical and funeral costs.