October 27, 1922 ~ June 29, 2008
Manhattan Beach, CA
GRACE VIOLA BARKES 1922-2008
Grace was born in 1922 in Canada on a farm between Montreal and Quebec City. She was a descendant of the United Empire Loyalists who moved to Canada at the time of the American Revolution. At age 5, she showed an interest in learning to play the piano. She moved into town and lived with her older sister, in order to attend a good school and take piano lessons. At age 11, she played some pieces over the radio. In her middle teens she moved to Montreal in order to advance her playing ability by taking lessons from a concert pianist, hoping to become one herself. She had the unusual gift of perfect pitch.
She memorized several Chopin pieces, as well as the popular concertos of Tchaikovsky and Grieg and was working on the Rachmaninov one. At age 17, she met Reginald Barkes. After she married, she let her musical ambitions slide somewhat, and took to teaching others how to play.
In 1957 she and husband, Reg, moved to California, where she continued teaching.