If you've never seen Beth Baker perform on the stage at the Craterian, this Sunday could be your last chance. Baker will be presenting her annual benefit concert for the Rogue Gallery & Art Center at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.
"Most likely this will be the last concert I'll do at the Craterian," Baker said. "I'm planning to move to San Jose hopefully within a year's time." Baker's from San Jose and her best friend of 33 years lives there. "It's the closest thing I have to family with both of my parents gone."
Who: Beth Baker
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Where: Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford
Tickets: $23, $19 and $15
This will be Baker's fifth annual benefit for Rogue Gallery. While she has always supported the arts in every community she's lived in, the Rogue Gallery & Art Center holds a special place in her heart. Her father, Charlie, was a local artist who served on the Rogue Gallery's board of directors before his death in 1999.
"I feel like I'm honoring my father by being of service to the Rogue Gallery & Art Center," Baker said. Charlie was her biggest fan, and Baker often dedicates a song to him during her performances.
The nonprofit Rogue Gallery & Art Center was founded in 1960 to promote and support the arts in the Rogue Valley.
"We provide an artistic hub for the whole community, young and old, to experience, appreciate and participate in the arts," said Heather Crow, development director for Rogue Gallery. "It's more than a place to hang art. It's a community center for the arts."
The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is located at 40 South Bartlett St., Medford. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. See roguegallery.org or call 772-8118.
"We're just grateful to have her performing for us," Crow said. "Beth is a visual artist herself. I think there's kind of a family feel about the downtown arts organizations. Having us all work together helps bring people downtown."
The program at the Craterian will be an American musical showcase featuring Broadway, jazz, blues, ballads, and gospel. Baker recently released her third CD, "You Raise Me Up," a collection of gospel-infused songs. "I love that stuff, but we're going to be doing less gospel this round," Baker said of the Craterian show. Her emphasis for this concert will be more on Broadway shows, including songs from "Wicked" and "Funny Girl." She'll also feature some new jazz and blues tunes.
Joining Baker on stage this year will be her music arranger, Brent Olstad, on piano; Jeff Addicott on bass; and Theresa McCoy on drums. Her backup singers include Val Muse, Laura Grosz, Jade Watt, Karen Barrow, Frank Avila, Brian Fraser, Jim Abdo, and John Contreras.
Baker has been performing fairly regularly at the Avalon in Talent and she plans to come back from time to time to continue performing there.
"It has given me a great opportunity, " Baker said of her shows at the Avalon. "People have told me I'm better now than I used to be. The monthly performances at the Avalon are a big part of that. They gave me a chance to hone my craft. People come there because it's nice and intimate."
Baker has performed from New York to San Francisco bringing her own brand of warmth, energy, and emotion to the stage. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "This is a voice you don't dare miss: a glorious natural sound, a kind of life force that can give authentic chills." Music fans from the Rogue Valley may have seen her performances at the Medford Jazz Jubilee or her opening number for Burt Bacharach on the Britt Festivals stage. Most recently she sang backup for Lyle Lovett at Britt. She is known for her warm and playful personality, delighting and entertaining audiences during her performances.
"I do love doing the Craterian," Baker said. "Especially when there is a full house. It brings me back to that musical theater feeling. There's something kind of fun doing that."
Tickets are $23, $19 and $15 and are available at the Craterian box office. Call 779-3000.