Carson pianist says goodbye

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While pianist Tim Baley rolled through the soft refrain on "You Light Up My Life" at Saturday's farewell concert, the woman who requested it, Martha Hoover, sat listening with her eyes closed. A smile spread across her face in the orange and blue light coming through a stained glass window.

Baley looked down at her from the stage at the Brewery Arts Center's Performance Hall and gave a huge, toothy grin.

Three pews in front of Hoover a woman with short, golden hair wiped a tear from under her eye.

Saturday's afternoon concert was a way for Tim and his mother, Rosemary, to say goodbye to the Carson community after seven years. The Baleys are moving to Ohio to be closer to family after the passing of Tim's father, Jerry, in December.

"I feel sad, but yet happy," the pianist said after the concert. "We have family back there so it will be a relief for us."

Baley, 50, was diagnosed with light retardation after an overdue birth ended with the use of forceps. His parents were told by doctors that he should be institutionalized. They decided to raise their son and discovered he is incredibly talented in both music and art.

About 150 people attended the farewell concert in the former St. Teresa's Church. Hundreds of Baley's paintings were set up in the lobby.

The Rev. Ken Haskins of First Christian Church gave an introductory prayer. He suggested the Baleys would add to their community in Ohio as they have here.

"I know we are richer for having them here." he said.

Then he introduced the star of the show -- who appeared in a sparkling tuxedo.

"Well, look me over," Baley smiled as the crowd erupted in applause. "How do you like the suit? Isn't it marvelous?"

Mayor Ray Masayko acted as the emcee for the show. After an opener of three patriotic songs -- "America the Beautiful," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a combination of "Anchors Away" and the hymns of the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, the floor was open to requests from the audience.

Hands shot up all over the crowd.

From "Moon River" to "Fleur de Lis," Baley handled them all. Though he doesn't read music, he would launch into a song without hesitation.

He made the crowd laugh with a playful "Jingle Bells" and prompted "ahhhs" with a perfect "Chariots of Fire."

Afterward suggesting "Chopsticks," Masayko said they would do one together.

"Won't that be marvelous?" Baley remarked.

Masayko and Baley counted down together to start a rendition of "Happy Birthday" in honor of Monday -- Baley's 51st.

Then the mayor presented Baley with a Carson City pin "to remember all the good times you've had here."

"Oh, that's marvelous," Baley smiled.

Baley finished his farewell to Carson concert with three of his favorites -- "Edelweiss," "May the Good Lord Bless You and Keep You" and "How Great Thou Art." He blended them into one song playing non-stop.

A little boy in the back gave an enthusiastic scream.

"You go that right, buddy," Baley said.

The Baleys' belongings are scheduled to depart for Ohio in a van Tuesday, July 8. Tim and his mother will fly out the following day.

Their neighbor Mike Hylan said they will be missed.

"He's been a fantastic neighbor, Hylan said. "He's going to be very, very, very well missed."


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