Brent Michael Visser, an accomplished actor, singer and teacher who inspired the community with his extraordinary performances, died in his home on August 3, 2012. He was 21.
Brent was born on April 9, 1991, in Mount Vernon, WA., and spent the first seven years of his life in Diablo, WA., where his father, Blaine, worked as a hydroelectric operator for Seattle City Light. He loved being outdoors in the North Cascades, fishing with his dad or collecting sticks and feathers on walks with his mother, Barbara, and sister, Brenna. The family moved to Wenatchee in 1998. Brent attended Sunnyslope Elementary School, where he demonstrated his talent in writing, mathematics and performance at an early age. He earned a small part in Peter Pan, his first All-District Musical, in 1999, when he was in third grade, and after that, Brent and his family were never outside the theater world. He joined the Short Shakespearans the summer of 2000, under the direction of Sherry Chastain Schreck, and continued with the troupe through high school. He performed in every district musical until he graduated from Wenatchee High School in 2009. Some of his favorite early roles were as Niko, the flying monkey, in The Wizard of Oz, in 2003, and the Cat in the Hat, in Seussical, a lead role he landed as a freshman in 2005. He played Javert in Wenatchee High School’s acclaimed production of Les Mise;rables in 2006, Motel in Fiddler on the Roof in 2008, Munkustrap and Growltiger in Cats in 2007, and Lord Fancourt Babberley (Babbs) in Charley’s Aunt in 2009. Perhaps his most memorable role, however, was as the tortured composer Antonio Salieri in the Wenatchee High School Drama Club production of Amadeus in 2008. Brent didn’t just learn his lines, he became Salieri and gave a tour de force performance that is still regarded as one of the finest in the Wenatchee Valley. In addition to theater, Brent played a huge part in the WHS choir department, as a member of the Chamber Singers, the Hyland Singers and the 4-Tune Hunters. He enjoyed singing as bass, baritone and occasional counter tenor, and won many honors as a vocalist, including first place in the baritone and duet (with Stacia McCrae) categories at the state Solo-Ensemble Competition in Ellensburg in 2009. Brent graduated from Wenatchee High School in 2009, as a class valedictorian, fluent in French and the recipient of multiple awards, including an academic scholarship to the University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma, where he studied music and French and performed in many theatrical productions. Brent also spent three summers working as the Coyote mascot for the Apple Sox, entertaining on a different kind of stage. He left UPS in the spring of 2011. He began working as a private tutor and assisting teacher Larry Schreck with Adult Education at Wenatchee Valley College, where he found great pleasure in helping people move forward in their lives. This June, Brent reconnected with his love of French, when he traveled to France and Italy with his sister and mentor, WHS French teacher Jon Magnus. His passion was always in the doing; the creation of an excellent harmony, a computer or even a funny story. He accomplished more in his 21 years than many do in a lifetime, and touched the lives of so many in the process.
Brent was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, William and Lucille Marchand of Spokane Valley. He is survived by his parents and sister in Wenatchee; aunt, Megan Marchand, her husband, Gary Heimbigner and cousin, Lia Heimbigner of Bothell; uncle, Richard Marchand of Seattle; paternal grandparents, Ray and Ina Visser of Havillah, uncle, Alan Visser, his wife, Christine and cousins, Amy, Noah and Ian, of Prince George, British Columbia; aunt, Rae Morris, her husband, Mark of Havillah, and cousins, Mariah Titus of East Wenatchee and Amber Stokes of Twisp; and aunt, Nola Barz, her husband, Tim, and cousins, Hannah and Kiley, of Spokane.
Celebration of Brent Life is set for Sunday, August 16, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at The Performing Arts Center in Wenatchee. In lieu of flowers, Brent’s family asks that contributions be made “In Memory of Brent Visser” to the Community Foundation of North Central Washington at 9 South Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, WA, 98801.