Grammy-nominated Violinist Jenny Oaks Baker to Perform with Her Children at SCERA Center for the Arts Nov. 5

(Orem, Utah) — As a four-year-old, Jenny June Oaks (Baker) went to a performance of the Mormon Youth Symphony to hear her brother play the French horn. She saw several little children playing “squeaky violins” and was eager to join them when her mother asked her if she wanted to learn to play the violin.

“I don’t remember even thinking about it before then,” says Baker, “but it became a passion.” The Grammy Award-nominated artist had her solo debut at age 8, won several major competitions, and has played with several major orchestras, including seven years as a first violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra. 

The much-honored artist will perform at the SCERA Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 5 and will showcase her musical prowess with her four musically gifted children in an evening called “Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four.” Although the 7pm show is sold out, SCERA has added a second performance at 4 p.m.

The evening will include selections that range from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” to “A Whole New World” from Disney’s “Aladdin.”  Some of the music will be sacred, including “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” Also planned is “Everybody Hurts” from REM as well as a variety of movie tunes and audience favorites.

Baker has established an enviable solo career, but especially enjoys performing with her son and three daughters.

“I have been determined that we are not going to be one of those cheesy family bands,” she says. And when you hear the five musicians perform, it’s easy to see there is nothing cheesy about their abilities.  Joining Oaks will be Laura, 15, a violinist, percussionist and drummer; Hannah, 13, a pianist; Sarah, 11, a cellist; and Matthew, 10, a classical and electric guitarist.

As a friend of SCERA President & CEO Adam Robertson, Oaks is happy to perform at SCERA before a hometown crowd. She grew up in Provo and played on the BYU campus as a child where her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, served as the university president. She said training with Hiroko Primrose with the Suzuki Method and later receiving mentoring by Leonard (Lenny) Braus of the Utah Symphony, were real blessings in her life. She received her undergraduate degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and Master’s Degree from Juilliard before establishing a home base in Virginia from which to pursue her career.

“I’ve always considered Utah my home, however, and whenever we visited it always felt like coming home,” she says. “I still perform throughout the country, but I’m happy to have returned to Utah with my family. Utah composer and musician Kurt Bestor does most of my arrangements, and I’m glad to work with him.”

Baker’s credentials are impressive. Her first album, “On Wings of Song,” received two Pearl Awards, and her album, “Wish Upon a Star: A Tribute to the Music of Walt Disney” earned a nomination for best pop instrumental album. Several albums have charted on Billboard.

As a soloist she performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Strathmore Hall, the Library of Congress, and been a guest artist with the National Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Pittsburg Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Utah Symphony.  She is also one of the most popular guests at Deseret Book “Time Out For Women” events throughout the country.

“I especially enjoy performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” she adds. “I am really grateful to music and the beautiful spirit it brings into our lives. Music is wonderful in and of itself, and when you get to perform with a group that shares your spiritual values, you feel a lot of peace and can create a place to expand your testimony. I pray before every concert, because I rely on the Lord in all aspects of my life. With music, this is all-encompassing.”

Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for children age 3-11 and seniors 65 and older are available at scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, or in person at the SCERA Center, 745 S. State Street, Orem, open weekdays from 10am-6pm and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm.  All seats are reserved.

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