The following article about the concert we hold each year in memory of my mother is in The Lexington Herald-Leader, my hometown newspaper, today.
|Anita Roos Baker|
Anita Roos Baker loved her family, music and this community where she lived for 82 years.
When she died in 2005, her family wanted to be good stewards of the music fund that was established at Temple Adath Israel as well as highlight Baker's life and her loves.
What they decided on, with the help of Tedrin Lindsay, a vocal coach and musical director in the opera department at the University of Kentucky, was an annual Mother's Day concert featuring talented singers and musicians in Lexington and at UK.
"She had a beautiful voice and really enjoyed singing," said Harold J. Baker, who was married to Anita Roos Baker for 59 years. "That first concert was so enjoyable.
"The university has great talent and they always put on a great show," he continued. "This year won't be any different. It brings back great memories."
The 10th annual Anita Roos Baker Mother's Day concert, "A Very Special Evening of Music," will feature Everett McCorvey, UK Opera Theatre director, and his wife, soprano Alicia Helm McCorvey; Benjamin Karp, Lexington Philharmonic principal, and his wife, violinist Margaret Karp; cellist Yoonie Choi; soprano Catherine Clarke Nardolillo; baritone Jonathan Green; and pianist Lindsay as emcee.
Because this is a special anniversary year, Lindsay sought out artists who had performed in previous years. The McCorveys, he said, performed at the first concert, and the Karps for the first couple of years. Choi has performed at most of the concerts and Nardolillo in nearly every one.
"This year I will introduce a new singer," Lindsay said, "one of our master's students, baritone Jonathan Green. He will regale us with Cole Porter pieces."
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 10 at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 405 Rose Street. The concert is free, with a reception following in the President's Room.
"Having it on Mother's Day becomes a time for us to get together with our father," Gloria Baker Feinstein said of her sister and two brothers. "It has become more than about our mother."
Her mother was a soft-spoken gentle woman who loved the cello, singing and Broadway show tunes, Feinstein said. Because her mother shunned the spotlight, Feinstein isn't sure she'd like the idea of a concert in her name, but she's sure her mother would have attended.
The most touching selection for the family is the final song, she said.
"Our mother had handwritten notes in her dresser that requested a certain song (You'll Never Walk Alone) to be sung at her funeral," Feinstein said. "It became her signature song.
"So at the end, Tedrin brings out all of the performers and they all sing it," she said. "Talk about goose bumps."
The audience at the first concert was mostly friends and family. Familiar faces, Feinstein said. Now the faces are increasingly unfamiliar.
When she wasn't singing in the choir at the temple, Anita Roos Baker, a native of Lexington, volunteered at several health and service organizations and was a long-time member and supporter of the UK Friends of Music, a volunteer organization of music lovers dedicated to the advocacy and financial support for the music school.
"My parents were so well respected and so well loved," she said. "In their own quiet, gentle way, they have touched and affected so many people over the years."
And they still are with the concert.
"So many people come and they love to have something more to celebrate on Mother's Day," Lindsay said.
"It is definitely a night (my mother) would enjoy," Feinstein said. "We feel her like a blanket around our shoulders."
- Merlene Davis