Recipient of Ford Musician Award Recognized for Bringing Music and Awareness.
As the associate principal flute for the Seattle Symphony, Jeffrey Barker’s passion is music. But Barker is just as passionate about working to highlight the challenges of homelessness and working with the homeless to unlock their creativity and find inspiration through music. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized Barker for his work in the community, work that was also recognized by the League of American Orchestras, which presented him the 2018 Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service.
“Jeffrey is an example of what it means to put your beliefs into action,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “His work to lift up people around him is an important reminder that we all have the ability to make our community a better place for all.”
As part of his role with the symphony, Barker has worked with Mary’s Place, the Seattle-based emergency family shelter, through the “Lullaby Project.” The Lullaby Project is a partnership between the Seattle Symphony and Mary’s Place to help parents experiencing homelessness write and record personalized lullabies for their children. Barker has worked with several of the mothers, partnering with them to write and compose their lullabies. For one of the mothers named Sabrina, Barker’s encouragement resulted in Sabrina being the only mother to sing her own lullaby. She performed alongside Barker and additional Symphony musicians in front of family and friends at Benaroya Hall.
Barker is active with the Simple Gifts initiative, the Seattle Symphony’s multi-year effort to help raise awareness of the County’s homelessness crisis while aiding our community members in connecting with their creativity. Between this and his work with the Symphony, Barker still finds time to teach budding high school musicians and collaborate in the Symphony’s Sensory Friendly concerts, designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities to experience music.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the King County Council for my work in the community through the Seattle Symphony,” said Barker. “The most fulfilling part of my job as a musician is bringing my art form outside the concert hall to connect with people who might not otherwise be reached, and our Simple Gifts Initiative and collaborations with organizations like Mary’s Place provide perfect opportunities to do so. I hope this recognition serves to highlight the tremendous work in education and community engagement the Seattle Symphony and other arts organizations in our region do every day, and to demonstrate the power of art to inspire and uplift every person in King County.”
The Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service highlights the work of musicians in communities that do not have access to—or who are not traditionally served by—orchestras. It is awarded annually by the League of American Orchestras.
WHEREAS, since joining the Seattle Symphony in 2015, Jeffrey Barker has routinely enriched audiences in the Puget Sound region as associate principal flute; and
WHEREAS, recognizing the transformative power of music, Barker has also worked to improve lived experiences beyond concert halls through music education and community engagement; and
WHEREAS, Barker collaborated on developing Sensory Friendly Concerts, coached sectionals for side-by-side performances with local high schools, and actively supported the Seattle Symphony’s Lullaby Project and Simple Gifts initiative, which empowers individuals experiencing homelessness to connect with their creativity; and
WHEREAS, Barker is an advocate for the homeless, helping Mary’s Place fundraise for shelter space; and
WHEREAS, the Ford Musician Awards honor those in the orchestra field who employ music for the benefit of the greater community; and
WHEREAS, because of his profound impact on the community and his inspiring fellow musicians to give generously of their time and expertise in the community, on June 14, 2018 Jeffrey Barker was honored with the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service from the League of American Orchestras in Chicago, Illinois;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize
for his exceptional service to the community and offer our congratulations on this high honor.
DATED this twenty-fifth day of June, 2018.