(Written by Brenna Griteman, life editor for The Courier. Featuring UF Professor Emeritus Micheal Anders and Jack Taylor, UF’s director of bands. Story originally published on April 30, 2018.)
A new class of performing artists will have their names forever in lights with their induction into the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts’ Fifth Third Bank Wall of Fame.
This year’s inductees include Micheal F. Anders, Jonathan T. Baker, Barbra J. Hennigs and Jack M. Taylor. They will be honored during a public ceremony from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday at the MCPA, where all but Baker will be present.
Wall of fame inductees are chosen based on nominations taken year-round. Nominees living or deceased must be from or have an association with Findlay-Hancock County and must have demonstrated expertise in the performing arts, including the disciplines of music, dance, theatre and visual arts.
Mary Beth Hammond, Fifth Third Bank vice president and senior private banker, said over 20 nominations were received this year. Because very few of those nominated were repeats from those suggested in the past, she said it is “very appropriate” to nominate someone year after year until they are chosen.
Here’s a closer look at this year’s class:
Jonathan T. Baker
Baker graduated from Findlay High School in 1993, where he was a member of Findlay First Edition. As a high school student, he attended sessions at the Boston Conservatory of Music.
He has marketed 50 major theatrical releases though his work at Sony Pictures Entertainment and TriStar Films. Films of note include “Closer,” “Big Fish,” “Underworld,” “You Got Served,” the “Resident Evil” franchise and “Lords of Dogtown.” He also starred in the 1997 short film “Thank You For Not Smoking.”
Baker previously worked on Wall Street and on Broadway, working with acts like Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Dionne Warwick, Neil Young and Paul Simon.
In 2007, he founded JB Studio to develop over 150 film, television, Broadway and sports stars. He founded New Renaissance Artists in 2015 to produce a select few JB Studio students’ projects.
Baker is an adjunct professor or feature film and entertainment economics at Carnegie Mellon’s Masters of Entertainment Industry Management program and the GIOCA graduate program at the University of Bologna, Italy.
Hennigs came to Findlay with her husband and daughters and brought with her a wealth of knowledge in dance and choreography.
She created the ETC Dance Studio, where she was taught all genres of dance as well as yoga to students of all ages. She choreographed many of the musicals produced by the Findlay Light Opera, the University of Findlay and the Fort Findlay Playhouse, along with Findlay City Schools, Carey Schools and other regional theaters. She was asked by many local couples to design choreography for the first dance at their weddings, and was regularly approached by area groups to conduct ballroom dance sessions at their social gatherings.
Hennigs went to New York at age 18 to perform in “Guys and Dolls” on Broadway. She later joined the “Guys and Dolls” national traveling troupe and then joined the dance corps on TV’s “Sid Caesar The Show of Shows,” a weekly variety show running from 1950-54.
In 2001, The University of Findlay honored Hennigs with the Distinguished Wall of Fame Award through the Curtain Raisers Society.
Micheal F. Anders
Anders came to Findlay College in 1981 and served as director of music of choral activities for 36 years. There, he conducted the concert-chorale which delivered concerts to the community twice annually and directed annual musical theater productions.
He also conducted numerous productions for the Findlay Light Opera Company and led performances with community choruses, often complete with a community orchestra.
Anders attracted visitors to Findlay from 16 states and three foreign countries through his presentation of the world premiere revival of the musical “REX” at the University of Findlay, as part of the 2002 International Richard Rodgers Centennial Celebration. This citywide commemoration included the Findlay High School presentation of “Babes in Arms” and “Carousel” by the Findlay Light Opera.
The Broadway concert series, now called the Donnell Broadway Concert Series, was founded by Anders and continues to bring Broadway performers to Findlay.
Jack M. Taylor
Taylor formed the Findlay Civic Band in 1988, which performs multiple summer concerts at Riverside Park.
In 1989 he organized the Flag City Concert Band, which has performed overseas three times and was the principal music support group when Findlay was designated Flag City in 1992. Also a composer, Taylor personally wrote the “Flag City March,” the official band music of the City of Findlay.
Taylor works closely with high school bands in the area and is widely considered an authority on band music and performance. Many of his concerts feature over 100 performers on stage together. He also plays personally for area organizations and churches, along with private events.
Previous inductees include Russel Crouse, Scott Lavender, Gavin Creek, David Cryer, Clifford Leroy Hite (posthumous), Dr. William Jack McBride (posthumous) and Wendene Wilson Shoupe.
Nominations for the 2019 inductees are being accepted through Dec. 31. Forms may be downloaded at www.marathoncenterarts.org/info/walloffame.