Longtime Wheatland Board member and Jive at Five bassist Tom T. Ball wrote, “The Wheatland family lost a good friend and fabulous musician in Gene Harris when he passed away on January 4th, 2020. Gene and his supportive wife Eathyl lived in the Big Rapids area for over 50 years, which provided a base for Gene to tour the Midwest playing sax and occasionally singing.
He played in the big band “General Assembly”, local favorites “Jive at Five”, along with freelancing throughout the region. On a personal note, I’ll never forget the day Gene (always the snazzy dresser), walked into a Jive at Five swing dance workshop at Wheatland’s Traditional Arts weekend sporting a bright red dashiki. Gene pulled out his sax, finished the workshop with us, and at that point, we all realized we had found a new member of the band. We had some spectacular times with Gene; he set the tone for us musically, and definitely upped our fashion game! We all feel humbled and honored to have performed with such a talented and sweet man.”