MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The healing process is just beginning for the family and friends of 13-year-old Campbell Baker. In November of 2020, the Knoxville teen died in an ATV accident while on vacation in Florida.
Tuesday, those who loved Baker most gathered at the Capitol Theater in Maryville to honor him and heal together. It was a night of virtual Broadway entertainment to honor his life, but also using music to uplift those who are left here to grieve his loss.
The idea came from Kendrick Shope. Her daughter, Hallianna Shope was Baker’s best friend.
Baker’s untimely death took a toll on his best friend, 13-year-old Hallianna Shope. Before Baker died, Hallianna was described as happy and vibrant, with a fierce love of broadway and theatre. After Baker’s passing, she became depressed and withdrew from everything she loved.
“I watched my daughter really struggle,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick started working to put together an event to encourage her daughter to smile again, and help her cope with the loss of her friend.
“Music is a religion in our home. We turn to it when we are flat on the floor and we are trying to connect with something bigger than ourselves. And so I thought if I could put a show together, I had this big dream of putting a show together to help her plug back into life a little bit. Maybe that would help lift her spirits,” Kendrick said.
She reached out to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a nonprofit that raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the country. She presented them with a list of Hallianna’s favorite Broadway performers, a list made up of those who have starred in major productions like Hamilton and Wicked.
The organization reached out to the talent and asked them to put together a virtual show just for the Shope and Baker families. The planning of the event was not only therapeutic for Hallianna, but Baker’s family as well.
“This event brought so much unexpected gifts and love into my life in honor of 13 years that Campbell was here. It has changed me forever,” said Campbell’s mother, Kelly Baker Henderson.
The show was also a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The goal was to raise $100,000.100% of the proceeds to go to the organization in memory of Campbell. To donate, visit https://donate.broadwaycares.org/fundraiser/3165564.