By day, Jenny Oaks Baker is a regular mom who enjoys spending time at sporting events and going to church with her family. But this weekend, she will take the stage as America’s Violinist for “Bach, Broadway and Beyond — A Musical Feast of Soul-Filling Favorites.”
Beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, the performance will showcase a mix of classical and popular music from Jenny Oaks Baker and Family Four, a Utah musical group made up of Baker and her four children. The sold-out event will take place at Alpine Church in Layton and is hosted by the Davis Arts Council as part of their Davis Arts Chamber Series.
Highlights from the set will include songs from “Mary Poppins,” “The Greatest Showman” and “The Sound of Music,” and the program will even feature famous rock tunes like Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and The Beatles’ “Yesterday.”
“We’ll do some inspiration numbers that hopefully help the audience feel joy and family unity,” Baker said.
Baker is a Grammy-nominated and Billboard chart-topping performer and recording artist. After receiving her Master of Music degree from Juilliard, she went on to carry out an illustrious career in music.
Baker has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress, and as a guest soloist with The National Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Utah Symphony and the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square.
“I’ve definitely felt pressured to work hard and be prepared,” Baker said of her history in performing. “But I always just try to do my best and prepare my best and rely on the Lord and things usually work out.”
Baker has sold nearly 1 million copies across 14 studio albums, all of which consistently chart on Billboard. And guests often hear music from her Grammy-nominated album, “Wish Upon A Star,” playing before the nightly fireworks shows at Disneyland and Disney World.
However despite her success as a musician, one of Baker’s proudest accomplishments is being a mother to her four children — Laura, Hannah, Sarah and Matthew Baker — all of whom display musical talents of their own.
“I love being with my kids and I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked at their talents,” Baker said.
Since her children were as young as 3 or 4 years old, Baker started bringing them on stage to perform a few numbers to close out her sets.
“So much of our lives are just kind of little baby steps,” Baker said. “When they were little, I put them on one song in the program and it was a lot of work to pull that off. Then as they got older, we were able to put them on two songs, and then three songs, and then four songs, and now it’s the whole program.”
It wasn’t always easy. When it came to getting the kids prepared for a performance, Baker often had to trust that they could handle themselves while she was out on stage.
“There is a reason why stage mothers are really necessary backstage,” Baker said. “It was especially difficult when they were young because I was busy curling my own hair and didn’t have time to get them all looking cute. But I have a very supportive husband and he helps when he’s not traveling.”
As the family’s performances grew more frequent, so did their opportunities to travel. This year during their musical tour of Europe, the family hit an exciting turning point for their future as a professional group.
“The man that invited us to do those performances said ‘I really think you guys should create a CD’ and he helped us put together funding,” Baker said. “Creating a CD was probably one of those big moments where it was like, ‘Wow, we are able to do this as a family.’”
Their self-titled debut album will be showcased at Friday’s performance. It’s also available for purchase at http://jennyoaksbaker.com, Deseret Book and iTunes.
“No matter what the performance is, I always try my very best and the kids do as well,” Baker said. “I hope the audience feel uplifted and feel a love of God.”