“Music has always been a big part of my life and I know what it does for people. I know that it is magical, I know that it is the universal language, I know that it enriches the soul…I think that the world needs more of it. It brings people together…it eliminates the barriers that we set up for each other. We are all one under music.”- Ron Atencio
In music circles, whenever the name Don Baker crops up, the first response is visual. It is a big smile. The second response is audible, and goes something like this, “He helped me to be the musician I am today.” “Thanks to Don, I was able to take home (insert instrument, e.g. guitar, bass, harmonica) from his music shop, Nu Sound Music, at a fraction of the price, and I paid him when I could. His only requirement was that I put my best effort towards it.”
Don was also a remarkable musician, playing for President Jimmy Carter at a White House picnic in 1977, and in Powder Ridge “best band” at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1989. He played in numerous bands - genres from rock to bluegrass to comedy - Bittercreek, Apocalypse, Prairie Fire, Thunder Goose, Powder Ridge, and Distant Thunder.
Don contributed to the Ogden community in ways more than music. He was a reporter for the Standard Examiner from 1970 to 1997. He received numerous awards for his more than 30 years of journalism, including the Clifford P. Cheney Service to Journalism Award in 1993. He fought tirelessly to keep government meetings and records open to the public.
Don was the first recipient of the Don Baker Memorial Award established by the Ogden-area Business Leaders Against Organized Crime. The annual award will go to a reporter each year who excels at covering the criminal justice system.
He loved his family and his church, and he served his country in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. He died of a heart attack while visiting friends in Cedar City, March 19, 2000.
For the musicians of Ogden, Don is fondly remembered as a true music enthusiast, and a friend to all. Don's enthusiasm for music, his warm smile, and his positive attitude have transcended time. His lasting memory reflects greatly upon Ogden and continues to move our musical souls through inspiration by example.
OFOAM would like to recognize Don Baker at the second annual Ogden Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival, and establish an annual Don Baker Memorial Musician Award to recognize local musician(s) who impact the musical community.
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