At the golden age of 79, Ruth Baynard, also known as Ruth Bay, is bright, witty and full of life. This Chester resident has worked in hospitals as a RN, as a teacher in a maximum security prison, and presently works part-time as a pharmacy technician – and doesn’t think about retirement. In her spare time she is starting a new life with pursuing her dream of songwriting. One might call it a hobby, but for Baynard it is a powerful emotion of taking the narratives she writes and composing music to create a song.
“A new life can begin at any age during the life span and be just as enjoyable at an older age as at a younger age,” Baynard said. “I’ve always had it in my mind that when I left this world to be with Jesus, I wanted to leave some words behind that might help someone else. That has been my drive. I realized that because The Book [referring to the Bible] has been such an inspiration for my own life.”
Baynard’s words have been published in several poetry volumes under the name of Ruth Bay. She earned the Longfellow Award for one of her narratives, “The Wooden Pail,” published in 1993. And early this month Baynard celebrated the completion and release of two of her songs on a CD produced in remembrance of 9/11, entitled “In Remembrance.” The titles of her two songs on the CD are “What Do I Have Now?” and “Someday My Love I’ll Be With You.”
Before this release she has had other songs produced for Gospel CDs, Christmas and Easter CDs, and other themed releases. “I write mostly Christian gospel music, but sometimes I throw in a little country,” she said.
She is a member of BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) to protect her song rights, and contracts with HillTop Records in California to produce her music as well as to represent her songs to artists looking for new material.
HillTop Records is in the business of recording, publishing and promoting the songs of America’s talented undiscovered songwriters. According to information received by Baynard from HillYop, their principles and staff are all veterans in the music and entertainment business and many of their musicians have recorded tracks with well-known stars like Tricia Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Natalie Cole and several more. HillTop also serves as an outlet for new songs for recording artists looking for new material.
Baynard retains all of the rights to her songs, and if the possibility arose where a big-name star picked up one of her songs, she would receive royalties.
She does pay a nominal fee to HillTop for the recording but feels she gets her money’s worth when considering the costs involved in producing and preparing a CD for the market. “I am hoping one day to have a CD of just my songs.”
When the CD arrives in her mailbox, and she listens to her song tracks, she is happy. Baynard isn’t looking for fame or glory or a fat paycheck from royalties. With the CDs, she has found another avenue to leave her stories behind when she passes.
Baynard credits Music Studies Unlimited for helping her fulfill her dream of songwriting and music composition. She took four years of piano lessons to learn music composition.
“My instructor is now in Nashville doing what I am doing [composing music],” she said.
Ann Totty, owner of Music Studies Unlimited said, “When Ruth was a student here she always told us she would be published one day. Music Studies Unlimited is so proud of her and her accomplishments.”
She is a diligent student of techniques and style. Comparing her narratives to the style of Walt Whitman, she said she likes to write with long sentences. When composing she said she always has a dictionary by her side. Her style is on the syllables instead of accents.
“Styling is a very difficult thing because each person has their own style and you have to write to discover your style,” Baynard said. “Both styles have a meter mechanism. I like to write by syllables, not accents.”
Baynard said there is something to be said about the golden years of someone’s life. “Age is not the total picture,” she said. “When the golden years come in, it is the richest time in someone’s life. You just need to get in there and get with it.”
She added, “I’ve enjoyed this, and it gives my brain a workout for the day.”
For those interested in the CD, they will be on sale at Music Studies Unlimited, or you may buy directly from HillTop Records.