Bob Baker

I grew up in a small town in Alberta with little opportunity to experience music. As a child my mother took me to church every Sunday where I had my only exposure to live music. Every Sunday I had to fight back tears as I heard the church choir but never understood why.

I had the opportunity to take music in junior high school and immediately music became my best subject. For the first time in my life I experienced confidence. In high school I attended a summer music camp that changed my life. I was immersed in music for 12 hours a day and connected with a community of other kids like me that were also passionate about music. I did not want the experience to end and imagined that I could continue doing this for the rest of my life.

In 1978, I started my music studies in trombone performance at University of Calgary, University of British Columbia and the University of Texas at Austin. I was able to realize my dream with my career as a professional trombonist for 30 years.

Banff Centre

In 1989 I was appointed as the Assistant to the Director of Summer Music Programs at the Banff Centre working with Tom Rolston. This was another life changing experience. I was inspired by Tom’s boundless energy to serve artists. His constant message to musicians was the need to build the role that music had in each of their communities. My work at the Banff Centre infected me.

I also shared my love of music through teaching and remembered how music made such a difference in my life. My students at Mount Royal University won many national and international awards. I was also involved in the creation of a live streaming distance learning project with organizations like the Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony and the Eastman School of Music. I worked with Yamaha Canada as a Performing Artist/Clinician and traveling to schools all across Western Canada. I founded “The Clinic Line” – a unique and innovative enterprise that brought thousands of professional musicians into schools to work with students.

The Banff Centre

Calgary Opera

In 2003 I had the unfortunate experience of spending a week in a palliative care ward and had an incredible clarifying experience. Music had brought me on an amazing creative journey and enriched my life. I regretted not be able to share my experience with more people and thought that if I could – the world would be a better place.

In 2004 I lead a group that purchased Wesley United Church in Calgary to form a music hub including an 800-seat community performance hall, music school and studio/offices for the community. The City of Calgary did not approve the zoning of this project due to parking but we were able to hand the church and the vision over to Calgary Opera to become their headquarters.

Calgary Opera

Canadian Music Centre

In 2009 I was appointed BC Regional Director of the Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver. I brought the idea of creating a community music hub to the CMC which was renamed the BC Creative Hub. This successful model has since been adopted in the CMC across Canada. In 2012 the idea of the Digital Hub was further developed to build our community with the live streaming of concerts and the Composer in the Classroom Distance Learning project. This project won the TELUS Technology Innovation award in 2012. “The current impact of CMC BC is commended as influential, necessary and important.” BC Arts Council 2014 Advisory

In 2014 I was thrilled to be part of the winning bid committee that will bring the 2017 ISCM World Music Days to Vancouver. This will be only the third time in the 95-year history that the World Music Days will be held in North America. Our efforts to build a dynamic creative music community in Vancouver paid off!

Canadian Music Centre

What I see

From what I see and what I have learned from my experience I believe we are at the stage where there are huge new and exciting creative opportunities.

I can see that live streams and podcasts are the future of broadcasting. I am excited about the idea that we can broadcast live experiences to a global audience.

Bob Baker – What We Can Do