David Baker 1950 -2015
REMEMBERING DAVE ….
Written by Jo Ward for David’s Funeral.
There are probably many others who knew Dave better than I. But apart from his brother Richard, few here will have known him for as long.
I remember being invited to his house for a party when we were at Landscore Infants School in 1956.
It is for this reason, I believe, that I have been given the privilege to say a few words about Dave’s life in CODS.
Dave was not someone who immediately jumped into one’s mind when thinking of the type who might enjoy the am-dram life.
He was a fairly quiet, modest and humble person and not at all the extrovert diva that we have experienced!
He started his CODS career in 1977 appearing in “Orpheus in the Underworld” being encouraged to join by Carol Stoyle, after she met him at the Cartwheel Folk Club.
He could plainly be seen in the chorus wearing his orange toga with his rather burly figure held up by his exposed, sturdy, well turned legs!
Those legs worked well for him as he became the sort of lively, energetic, agile and enthusiastic dancer that we are so lacking today.
However, it seems that sometimes his sense of direction was overshadowed by his enthusiasm which, on one occasion, landed him in the orchestra pit!
Ah, the Hornpipe, the Hoedown, and especially the Bottle Dance from “Fiddler on the Roof”, in the days when we could bend our knees AND get up again without the crack of our creaking joints that we now suffer.
All these Dave accomplished, even being able to jump and touch both of his spread feet in the air, at shoulder height.
Dave was a man of many talents that came in very useful when building sets and props.
So I come to “THE CART”.
Dave built the cart for 'My Fair Lady' in 2004, when it was used as a Covent Garden vegetable stall.
It has since been used in 'The Threepenny Opera', 'Jack the Ripper', 'Oliver', 'Viva Mexico!', 'Blitz!' and finally in this year’s production of 'Oklahoma!' where it appeared as Ali Hakim’s travelling stall.
I’m sure that it will continue to star in future shows. It could be that the cart has appeared on stage more often than its creator.
His name and memory will live on in that cart as it will forever be known as “Dave’s Cart”
Sadly Dave’s MS curtailed his active stage career and he had to withdraw from our musicals.
His last stage appearance in costume was in the “Old Time Music Hall” where he, Cathie and John Nash performed as “Wilson, Keppel and Betty” in their famous sand-dance.
So Dave finished on stage where he started – in a toga with his fine legs on show.
MS wasn’t going to stop him though and he performed with the Basses in our concerts and continued to help the society in any way he could, - recording backing tracks for the soloists in the concerts, operating sound for shows and serving on the committee.
Dave will be remembered in CODS as a person with great legs and cart making skills, a mean chef, and good company.
He was a kind, generous, good friend and a support to us all and we will all miss him.