Brother of a Baptist minister, Barker emigrated from England to Canada in the 1940’s, where he graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto.
During World War II, he directed the General Motors Chorus. He also owned stock in the Hammond organ company and scrounged Hammond tone cabinets from local Hammond dealerships, and placed them in the Detroit Tigers baseball stadium. About the same time, his name and biography appeared in Who’s Who in the Midwest.
He eventually became an American citizen, and taught piano at the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts, and was active in directing choirs (including one of over 300 members at Central Methodist Church in Lansing, Michigan), and had a broadcast of organ classics on WKAR radio out of Michigan State University.