It’s been quite a week for former Ouachita Baptist University student Barrett Baber (’02) as one of his dreams comes true – performing at the Grammys. Baber, who recently won the nationwide Grammy Gig of a Lifetime competition, will perform live at Club Nokia in Los Angeles and be featured in the Grammy Live coverage on Sunday, Jan. 26. The contest winner was determined based on public online voting.
“The support I have received from my Ouachita family has been incredible,” Baber said. “Arkansans have played a huge role in my getting to participate in the Grammy Gig of a Lifetime, and I know a large number of those were my OBU friends. They had my back then, and they have my back now.”
Barrett, his brother, Andrew, and his parents, Mark and Janie, all attended Ouachita. in addition to his music career, Baber is following in his mother’s footsteps as a high school teacher – teaching debate and forensics at Fayetteville High School.
“Barrett and his family have strong ties to Ouachita,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “We’ve enjoyed following his career and we’re delighted with this recent success.”
It was at Ouachita that Barrett picked up his brother’s guitar and started playing for the first time. Songwriting came naturally to him and just one year later, Baber released his first project, “Songs of the Broken Hearted.”
“So many things at Ouachita prepared me for this moment,” Baber noted. “I got my first guitar at OBU my freshman year, I wrote my first song at OBU, I played my first gig at OBU. All my music theory classes and countless opportunities to sing in Tiger Tunes, with the Ouachita Singers, playing coffee houses – Ouachita was the start of something hopefully much larger. I have no idea what the future holds, but I know Ouachita will always be the special place where it all began.”
As a sophomore at Ouachita, Baber survived the crash of American Airlines flight 1420, which crashed in Little Rock on June 1, 1999, with 24 members of the Ouachita Singers on board. He helped save the lives of a flight attendant and three others before escaping the wreckage. “You hear it all the time, people saying that every day is a gift. But it really is,” Baber told People magazine shortly after the crash. “I spend more time with people. And relationships mean a lot more now.”
“Barrett and many other Ouachita students and faculty members on board the flight acted selflessly to meet the needs of and in some cases, save the lives of fellow passengers,” said Jon Merryman, Ouachita’s alumni director and fellow crash survivor. “It didn’t surprise me though. Service is so engrained in the lives of those studying and serving at Ouachita that in that moment, Barrett put others’ needs before his own to lead others to safety.”
Baber’s performance will be part of Grammy Live coverage beginning Sunday, Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. at GRAMMY.com, CBS.com and on the Grammy Live mobile app. Coverage will continue through the live telecast which airs at 7 p.m. on CBS.