Happy birthday, Professor Baker...

Speaking of art, one blessing of Bloomington is the constant stream of operas (if you like that sort of stuff), recitals, and concerts flowing out of our music school. In the past few years a young husband and father of our congregation named Alex McNeilly has played his sax in several Jazz Ensemble concerts led by the universally respected jazz composer, Professor David Baker...

This week the music school (IU Jacobs School of Music) is celebrating Prof. Baker's eightieth birthday with a host of clinics, discussions, performances by other jazz artists, and a gala concert Saturday evening. The Indiana Daily Student just ran a good piece on Prof. Baker's life and work.

Here's an excerpt giving a good picture of the man's character and faith:

This care for the world around (Prof. Baker) permeates his entire life. Despite his many glittering accomplishments and connections with important people, Baker remains humble. He credits his success and reputation to his professors at IU, including world-famous Menahem Pressler, János Starker and Josef Gingold, who commissioned Baker to write classical music scores while he was still in school.

But most of all, Baker said he owes it all to God. “Everything I’ve ever needed has been given to me,” said Baker, who sees his talent for performance, composition, writing and pedagogy as gifts from God.

He believes everyone has an “expiration date”: His goal in life, above all the honors and recognition, is to leave the world a better place, with no stone left unturned.

Every concert of his Jazz Ensemble I've attended has won my heart over more to this humble man.

(TB, w/thanks to Eric)

 

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Boss solo, Alex. Loved it!

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