Today’s article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Natalie Shawver takes a musical trip down memory lane.
“Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide…”
Know that song? I learned it (hand-motions included) thanks to Sister Linda during a Sunday School class in the Youngstown Branch in the late ‘80s.
“I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise with a capital ‘P,’ I’m a great big bundle of potentiality!”
How about that one? Those words (and tune) are permanently ingrained in my head (and heart) thanks to Sister Carolyn from a GMBA Campout in the early ‘90s.
When I think about my earliest memories of The Church of Jesus Christ, music is one of the first things that come to mind. Whether it was learning a song to sing — or later on the piano — my music musings are some of my favorites.
The Lord has blessed our Church with some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever heard. Whether it’s a soloist or a group, harpist or trumpeter, our sounds are a beautiful form of worship. Our homes and buildings are filled with joyful noises. We truly are music to His ears.
When our tiny family moved from Youngstown, Ohio, in 1988 to Cincinnati, I’m not sure my parents had music on their minds. There were only a handful of members in the tristate at the time, meeting in homes around kitchen tables. But, as “transplant” families began to move into the area, our growing group began to search for a building to meet.
Around this time, my parents had the divine inclination — I truly believe God prompted them to do this as neither have musical abilities themselves — to find a piano teacher for me so I could learn the Songs of Zion. We didn’t have a pianist (or even a piano!) among our members, so it was my job to fill the void.
Little by little, I learned a few hymns (first on a keyboard, later my own piano) in between my teacher’s assigned repertoire of classics by Mozart and Beethoven. And, each quarter I’d participate in a piano recital in a nearby music hall for friends and family.
Little did I know that that music hall would become our first rented building for the Cincinnati Mission to meet. It had just what we needed at the time, and God placed it on my dad’s heart to speak with the music director about renting the building on Sundays. He charged us but the small price of a single piano lesson.
The memories of the early years in that building are too numerous to list — and I’m certain many of you reading this had the opportunity to visit with us — and many have passed onto their rewards.
But what I will never forget is the grand piano that sat atop the small stage. Visiting pianists and Cincinnati pianists alike loved to tickle those ivories. The sounds of praise and worship filled that music hall and often passersby from the streets would come in to listen.
Vacation Bible Schools, picnics, Christmas dinners, game nights…we had that, too, in Cincinnati. But the music? That’s always been my favorite.
“Raise a song of joy and gladness
Put away all gloom and sadness
Christ the Lord is leading us
On and on…”
“Our Church” (Saints Hymnal)
What musical memories from when you were young still shine bright to you now?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.