On February 11, 2016 Jenny Oaks Baker and Kurt Bestor performed during the Convocation Arts and Lecture Series. Baker and Bestor are both Grammy nominated artists who entertained the Snow College audience with both speech and musical performances.
Baker, known as America’s Violinist, has become a Grammy nominated, Billboard no. 1 recording artist and performer. After receiving her master’s degree from The Juilliard School, she has performed in numerous concert halls world-wide as well as collaborated with well-known artists such as Gladys Knight, Alex Boye and many others.
Kurt Bestor is an Emmy award winning performer/composer who has composed more than forty film scores as well as music for the 1988 and 2002 Olympics. Bestor’s music can be heard when introducing NFL Monday Night Football, and National Geographic Explorer. In 2012, his compositions included in Jenny Oaks Baker’s release “Wish Upon a Star” is what earned the both of them a Grammy Nomination.
Baker and Bestor opened their performance with a rendition of Liverpool Suite. This song is a combination of classic and pop music that crossed over many Beatles songs such as All You Need is Love, Eleanor Rigby, Help, and finished with Let it Be. The two performers said that they “always hated practicing” as children. Baker stated, “It was performing that kept me practicing. My mother would invite neighbors over for cookies and a mini concert and that’s what kept me motivated.”
Baker is a mother of four accomplished musicians who often perform with her on stage. During the concert, she dedicated Bestor’s arrangement of “Sweet Child of Mine” to her children. This song, originally performed by Guns and Roses, is also a mixture of classical and pop music.
Bestor favored the audience with a piano solo of “Come Together,” originally performed by The Beatles as well. The two performers discussed that the most difficult thing about being a concert performer is not mastering technique or putting in the hours of practice. Bestor stated that the difficulty of being a concert composer and performer is “connecting the soul and the heart to the notes.” They played Bestor’s arrangement of “Yesterday,” a Beatles’ classic, demonstrating the ability to, as Bestor stated, “connect the soul and the heart.”
Baker and Bestor discussed the moments that they felt themselves become artists-when they found their own style. They wrapped up their performance with an arrangement of the well-known Disney song, “A Whole New World.” a performance that left the audience on their feet in a standing ovation.
For more information about the Snow College Convocation Arts and Lecture Series go to snow.edu/convocation.