Alumni Profile

Bazi Baker

When I began at Middleton in 2003, I was very new to the Christian Faith. My experience of church and Christian community was limited to the times when I visited my Dad as a child. So for me, attending Middleton was something of a baptism into Christian community. And what a baptism it was! My life underwent a radical change as I began to adopt the Christian faith for myself. I couldn’t believe that school could be a place of spiritual growth and expression. I look back on those years at Middleton with such fondness. I found my love for the Lord during those years. Something that has never left me. I also found my love for music. Before year 10 at Middleton Grange, I had hardly picked up a guitar in my life. But something changed in me and I began pursuing music intensely. David Bennets was instrumental in helping me find my way as a musician. He invited me to be in productions and sing in the Perco band. I am forever indebted to Middleton Grange for this. After Middleton I went to study at the Christchurch Jazz school where I majored in performance Jazz guitar and composition. I spent endless hours trying to master the instrument and the genre. My hope was to one day pursue a career in Jazz. But around that time, the Lord began to change my focus. I began to have a desire to serve and strengthen the church with the musical training I had gained. And so, I started to funnel my musical expertise into the church expression. My church, Grace Vineyard Church, hired me as a musical director. As the years progressed, I became the worship pastor. I found that in the church context, the musical skill that I had gained took on new meaning. I was now directly serving God with what he had given me. I have also come to realise that all those years at Middleton and studying at Jazz school had prepared me. Now I oversee over 100 volunteer musicians who serve the church through worship teams. I draw on my education every day as I now mentor and train those who serve on our worship teams. One of the deep passions of my life is song writing. This is something that stems back to my teenage years at Middleton Grange. At Grace Vineyard Church, I have been involved in writing and producing three albums. Two of these are devoted to congregational expressions of worship, and one of these is a kids and family worship album. I continue to write songs for the church and am in the process of raising up younger songwriters. I have also had the privilege of overseeing the Eastercamp band for the last eight or so years. Through the Eastercamp forum, I have been able to write a number of youth orientated worship songs which have also been formed into a number of live albums. I pray that there are many more songs to come! I thank Middleton Grange for being instrumental in my early Christian formation. For me, it is something akin to an exodus story. My first year at Middleton marks the time of my life where God radically called me from unbelief to faith; from darkness to light, and from spiritual death to spiritual life. My first steps as a Christian were taken there. It was in the Middleton milieu that my musical and leadership gifts emerged and developed. I believe Middleton Grange is unique in our nation. I can’t think of another community where faith and education overlap so seamlessly on such a large scale. It changed my life and I’m forever thankful for it.