|Paying tribute to a 'giant' man with special concert
By Susan L. Wagner
Fri Nov 27, 2009
WAYLAND - Although not a man of imposing physical stature, the late
Allen Barker of Wayland had many qualities often associated with the
word "giant." He was a talented artist and innovator, a musician, a
raconteur, a bon vivant and a devoted volunteer.
Besides teaching the piano to generations of Wayland children –
some of whom have pursued careers on the international concert stage
– Barker’s legacy lives on in town with the Little Theatre
Concerts, which he founded in 1965 and, in the words of Charlie
Anderson who now heads up the series, "ran pretty much single-handedly
for the next 42 years."
Barker died a year ago after a long battle with cancer. He was born in
Portland, Maine, on Dec. 24, 1923. He received a bachelor of science
degree in psychology from Yale University, followed by an artist
diploma and doctorate in music from the New England Conservatory. He
made his concert debut at Jordan Hall in Boston and also played at
Carnegie Hall in New York.
Barker will be remembered on Friday, Dec. 4, in a special Little
Theatre Concert with performances by some of his former students and
others whose lives were touched by this multifaceted man –
Frederick Moyer, Bruce Pratt, Noah MacNeil, Evan Lamont and Larry
Pratt, who has gone on to become a concert pianist, recalls Barker as
"representing the spirit that was inside him – in fact, it could
be felt all around him. To me, it was unavoidable to think of him as a
teacher without also thinking of him as a friend. Spirit, teacher and
friend – Allen defined each of these to me."
Likewise, Shulman, now an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, cites Barker’s friendship in a very special way.
"Personally, he was not only my teacher, but a dear friend who gave
from the heart, and through his music. He had a warmth and kindness and
generosity that seemed to be the base of all his interactions.
"The Wayland Little Theatre Concert series was an example of his
generosity, putting in countless hours of work, to present wonderful,
free music in an intimate setting in Wayland, while helping young
musicians gain experience and exposure. I and so many others miss him
Among those who did not study with Barker, but who was given an
opportunity by him, is Wayland native Frederick Moyer, now a
world-renowned concert pianist.
"Allen epitomized the use of one’s art to improve the quality of
life in one’s community," Moyer said. "Through many years of
teaching, his founding and chairing the Wayland Little Theatre
Concerts, and his many inspiring piano performances, he contributed
immeasurably to making Wayland a place where the arts have flourished
and where young people have been encouraged to nurture their artistic
"I was still in college when Allen first invited me to perform in the
series. This was one of my first professional performances, and said to
me at a crucial time that he and Wayland believed in me. I will always
remember his support with the greatest gratitude."
The 8 p.m. concert in the Little Theatre at Wayland High School will
feature classical works by Chopin, Brahms, Mendelssohn and
Rachmaninoff, as well as several popular pieces. The concert will be
followed by a reception in the Commons that will include a display of
artwork by Lester Farnsworth as well as by current High School students.
The event is free and open to the public, as are all Little Theatre
Concerts. For more information e-mail "firstname.lastname@example.org" or
Contributions to the series may be sent to PO Box 314, Wayland MA 01778.
WAYLAND - Allen Noble Barker
Established free concert series
Allen Noble Barker died on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 at the Beth Israel
Hospital in Boston at the age of 84 following a courageous battle with
He was born in Portland, Maine, on Dec. 24, 1923, the son of the late Lewis A. Barker and Gwendolyn (Allen) Barker.
Mr. Barker is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 59 years, Armida M. "Neta" (DiMeo) Barker of Wayland.
He was the beloved father of Allen Noble Barker Jr. and his wife Ruth
A. Barker of Hamden, Conn., and Allyson Barker of Watertown. He is also
survived by his granddaughter Eliza A. Barker of Hamden. Conn.
He was the brother of Walter Barker and his wife Vivian Barker of Worcester and an uncle to one niece and two nephews.
Mr. Barker spent his formative years in Portland, Maine, Cleveland,
Ohio and Charleston, W.V. He received his bachelor of science degree in
psychology from Yale University in Connecticut and an artist diploma
and doctorate in music from the New England Conservatory of Music.
He served his country as a lieutenant with the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Mr. Barker was a well-known and accomplished pianist in the Boston area
as well as a teacher of the piano. He began his career in his studio in
Melrose and continued to teach at his Wayland studio until his illness.
He had his concert debut at Jordan Hall in Boston and also played at
Carnegie Hall in New York.
He was instrumental in establishing for the free concert series in
Wayland for over 40 years. Mr. Barker touched the lives of many
children and adults with his love, devotion and passion for music and
art and always lent an encouraging comment to his students who have
continued to be in contact with him over the years.
Fulfilling his boyhood dream, Barker and his family spent their summers
at a cottage on Little Diamond Island in Portland, Maine.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at a later date in Wayland.
In lieu of flowers, his family suggests memorial gifts in his memory
may be sent to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cancer Research, 116
Huntington Ave, Fifth Floor, Boston MA 02116, or to Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute, Contribution Services, 10 Brookline Place West, Sixth Floor,
Brookline MA 02445.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the John C. Bryant Funeral Home of Wayland.
Multi-talented artist to perform
By Susan L. Wagner
Tue Nov 22, 2005, 07:00 PM EST
Wayland - Wayland's Allen Barker is a man of many talents. As a
musician with two advanced degrees from the New England Conservatory,
he has taught piano to generations of local children as well as at area
colleges and prep schools. He performs widely both in Europe and the
U.S., having played at the Phillips and National Galleries in
Washington, D.C. and on numerous occasions with the Boston Pops. As a
visual artist, he paints, draws and photographs; does pastels,
collages, assemblages, mixed media and installations; and, as he says,
"aspires to sculpture." As a manager, he oversees the highly successful
Little Theatre Concert Series at Wayland High School.
Barker's interests in fact are so wide ranging that he has added a
second name to his persona. Thus, for some time now, he has been known
to his appreciative fans as Allen Barker, a.k.a. Lester Farnsworth, or,
as the mood strikes, as Lester Farnsworth, a.k.a. Allen Barker.
He's a little unsure about how the extra name got tacked on. He
believes his wife might have thought it up to keep a disapproving
neighbor from learning that he was responsible for an impromptu
assemblage in the backyard of their summer home in Maine.
"I like the name," he says, "because it's so hokey sounding. It's like
a second-rate novelist trying to find a name for someone who's a
bookkeeper or the owner of a hardware store."
No matter. The name has stuck. And, says Barker, "it's funny, but people remember that name almost better than my own."
In the next few weeks, residents will have ample opportunity to
appreciate Barker/Farnsworth's many gifts. A one-man show of more than
20 works, both recent and retrospective, can be seen at the Wayland
Public Library's Raytheon Room through the end of December. And on
Friday, Dec. 2, he will perform a benefit concert for the Friends of
the Wayland Library at the High School Little Theatre at 8 p.m.
In his visual art, the man is nothing if not inventive. Everything is
grist for his mill - skateboard ramps, plaster sculptures of angels
salvaged from an abandoned convent, old washboards, carpenters' levels
and dismantled fans.
One piece in the show, singularly titled "One," is made from a large
piece of driftwood, antique spikes used in building wharves or
boathouses, and a piece of rope.
Another piece, "Entropy of Angels," has been fashioned from lobster
pots, the aforementioned plaster angels, and a scrap of fabric that
shows a very blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds.
The ideas never stop. Nor does the whimsy. Another piece, for example -
which he did several years ago and may or may not be in the upcoming
show - was inspired by an ab machine.
"I saw it advertised on TV. You know, you get down on your knees and
roll it back and forth on the floor with your upper body," he says,
demonstrating enthusiastically. "Then, a while ago there was an article
in the Sunday New York Times, saying that, if you want to get a girl,
you have to build up your abs. So I cut out a bunch of ab ads from a
health magazine and made a collage that I pasted on the machine."
Sometimes, Farnsworth calls his works "sculptural assemblages." Other
times, he says they are "collages and mixed media." Other times, they
are "the art of entertainment." Even "salvation, because I salvage
everything." Or simply "serendipity."
He gets his inspiration, he says, "because I have a passion for visual
artwork, and I am not affluent enough to buy things. So, in order to
have them, I have to make them."
The public is invited to an opening reception of Farnsworth's show,
titled "The Art of the In Between," under the sponsorship of
Arts/Wayland, on Sunday, Nov. 27 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. An artist's
walk-through will begin at 3 p.m.
Most of the works are on sale, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to
the Friends of the Wayland Library. They are priced from $65 to $1,000.
Farnsworth says he likes to support the library because "it's one of
the wonderful, outstanding institutions in Wayland. I have a real love
affair with it."
Tickets for Barker's Dec. 2 concert, "Retrospective Repertoire and Old
Favorites," with performances of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin,
Debussy and Mendelssohn, as well as a few others yet to be announced,
will be on sale at the library. They will be priced at $10 for general
admission and $15 for patrons. Patrons will be invited to a