Friday, January 05, 2007

Me as Church Organist
I've been a musician since I was 11 years old, beginning piano lessons with Miss Catherine Ritch in Stallings, North Carolina. Since that time, I've studied voice and organ, and performed as a church musician for almost 30 years.

Here's a few of my music honors:

Sun Valley High School Chorus
- accompanist, alto, and Vice President
Sun Valley High School Band - percussionist, Chaplain
NC Honors Chorus
- alto, was awarded a position with this choir for two years.
NC Sr. All State Band - percussionist
Honors Band at USC - principal percussionist
Wingate University - Church Music Major - organ and voice
Wingate University Concert Choir - accompanist, alto
Wingate University - Trustee Scholar

I began working as a church musician when I was 15 years old, in 1979.
A Younger Me at the Organ Keyboard
Here are my church music pursuits:
Wilson Grove Baptist - pianist - 5 years - Charlotte, NC
Sunset Road Baptist - pianist - 1 year - Charlotte, NC
Mulberry Baptist - organist - 7 years - Charlotte, NC
Stallings United Methodist - organist/pianist - 6 months - Stallings, NC
Mount Harmony Baptist - organist/pianist - 6 months - Indian Trail, NC
Hickory Grove Baptist - organist - 1 year - Charlotte, NC
Mallard Creek Presbyterian - organist/pianist - 5 years - Charlotte, NC
Memorial United Methodist - organist/pianist - 4 years - Charlotte, NC
There were a couple sabbaticals during those years, but for the most part, I've consistently been a church music for almost 30 years.

Since I was a church musician, I was often hired as a wedding musician. I have performed for over 200 weddings, playing piano and organ, and occasionally singing as well. It is always such a joy to perform beautiful music for someone's special day.
Me - Wedding Pianist in the 80's

I have also been called on to perform for funerals. I remember my first funeral performance - so heartbreaking and emotional. But, I soon learned that the music at a funeral is very special to the ones who attend the service. Now, I really enjoy playing for funerals, sending off those who have passed away with a musical fanfare, and helping to ease the spirits of those left behind. Sometimes, I have felt the presence of the one who has passed away, looking over my shoulder as I perform. It's quite an experience.

I began teaching private piano lessons at Cannon School in Concord in the year 2000. When I first started teaching, I had about 10 students. By the end of 2003, I was teaching 60 students a week, which became an unsurmountable task. Also, I was driving over an hour each way, so I decided to cut ties with Cannon School, and pursued teaching on my own in my area.

Currently, I am teaching 12 students, which is a much more manageable number, and they are not far from my home. I really care about each of my students, and we have a good relationship. I'm so glad I decided to become a piano teacher. It's the most fulfilling job I've ever had.

I'm still a church musician, as the organist at Memorial UMC in Charlotte. The choir is so loving and supportive. Our choir director, Todd Henry, is doing a superb job. Whenever he takes a vacation day, I become the "organist/choirmaster" for the day, and it allows me to try new things. I'm pleased with my experience at the organ and piano, and now I am able to learn more about directing. Life is good.
My Organ Bench at Church

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