Allen Barker Memorial Concert & Reception


Bruce Pratt Jr.

The memorial concert and reception held inmemory of Allen Barker on Friday, December 4th was a wonderful evening for all who attended.

Allen Barker was truly a renaissance man; pianist, teacher, scholar and artist. In 1965 he founded the Wayland Little Theatre Concerts which provide quality concerts to the public free of charge. Allen’s belief was that everyone should be entitled to the arts; that an individual’s background should not be a factor in their opportunity to participate in the arts. This philosophy of his was well known to those who knew him. It was a philosophy that was conveyed in words as well as action.

The concert brought together family, friends and others whose lives were touched by Allen. One attendee pointed out that Allen never distinguished between people because of their social status. In Allen's eyes, everyone was equal and that is how he treated them. In the spirit of Allen, the evening carried a similar feeling: a comfortable atmosphere where such distinctions were left for some other place.  

Among those impacted by Allen were the performers: Frederick Moyer, Bruce Pratt, Amy Sievers, Larry Shulman, Noah MacNeil and Evan Lamont.
Each spoke of how Allen affected them, and performed in his honor.

“It was an honor to be invited to participate in the concert on December 5 in memory of Allen Barker. It was a joyous and moving event. Everyone played beautifully and spoke eloquently. It was especially inspiring to hear one former student after another talk about how Allen treated everyone from a standpoint of equality. The more I have known him, the more I see Allen as an example of an artist who applies the richness, beauty, harmony, sensitivity and humanity found in music to his non-musical life. I am thankful to have known him as a role model during my formative years in Wayland.” - Fred Moyer“

It was a moving experience to see so many people connected through the life of such a special man. I found it impossible to convince myself that Allen was not sharing that night with all of us. Bruce Pratt Jr.Somewhere he was smiling and laughing while we recounted memories and experiences that had been shared together.”
- Bruce Pratt Jr. 

Many in the audience were glad to have shared in this unique experience. Tilly and Dick Close remarked, “Although we did not know the Barkers well, (none of our family ever took lessons with one), they both possessed that marvelous trait of making everyone feel a friend. Married almost sixty years, they made a perfect artistic team. The Memorial Concert was a joy!...We related to the remarks of all the performers. Allen was a special and multi-talented person, with a great sense of artistic humor!”

Edna and Marty Nichols commented,“We're glad to have shared in a very special evening. Musically, it was very satisfying, and having the personal overlay of very devoted students and friends of Allen's gave the concert very special meaning. Bruce Pratt Jr.We've never known any of Allen's students, and were aware that he selected them carefully. You six have benefited from his caring presence, and we were glad that you so generously gave of yourselves to an audience that has so long been grateful to Allen for this concert series.”

Hopefully, if one can learn anything from Allen, it is how to live generously, and not just in the music arena, but in all aspects of life.

The reception which followed the performance had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. People gathered about talking and reminiscing of experiences shared
with Allen. For those who did not have the chance to know Allen, they received a glimpse of a man who was
truly a credit to the world. They viewed artwork created by Lester Farnsworth, also known as Allen Barker, as well as artwork created by Wayland High School students. It seemed as though the spirit of Allen was still encouraging the artistic expression of others.

As the gathering of people slowly departed, it became apparent that Allen will never truly be gone. He had such a huge impact on so many people, and will touch even more lives in the future through his art and the continuation of the Wayland Little Theatre Concerts. It is clear that Allen will continue to inspire and live on.