Pam Dudding-Burch | Contributing writer
As evening approaches on Thursday nights, several ladies drive into a church parking lot and go in carrying all kinds of bags and items.
Many may think they are having prayer night, however, when the doors open, a “new thing” embellishes their ears.
Every Thursday at Crossroads Church on Route 615, the new music lessons given by Faye Powers echoes throughout the fellowship hall and into the sanctuary.
“The idea came from God when I first walked through those doors of that church and I saw all of the senior citizens that were in there and they were no young people,” Powers shared. She claims God laid it upon her heart at that time: “I said Lord, there is a whole lot of fun people in here that love you, and if it be your will, you will have to open up the door and I will make the offer.”
Powers and her husband, Steve, had been there about a year, and she said she had never acted upon the thought until New Year’s 2017. “God put the thought in my mind again and pulled at my heart, telling me that ‘It’s time to do it,’ so I decided I would just offer it and see what would happen,” Powers said.
Powers was sitting in the Sunday School class with Dorcus Martin and Cathy Davis. “After it was over, she started asking us if we wanted to learn an ukulele and to find out if any others were interested,” Martin said. “So, we put it in the bulletin.”
What started as “kidding around” after Sunday School class bloomed into a class with several ladies learning to play the ukulele, and another class following, with ladies and men learning how to play the guitar and autoharp and other instruments. “You’re never too old,” one lady said with a big smile. Most of the women were over 60.
Powers said that when she walked into the classroom door, she nearly fell over. “I felt like I had a hundred students,” she said. Though not at that amount, it appeared her conversation with God wasn’t taken lightly.
“Faye asked if I wanted to learn how to play the ukulele and I said yes,” said Martin who played guitar, alto horn and piano as a teen. “I haven’t touched an instrument in over 50+ years,” Powers said. “I thought it would be fun and would keep my mind active and fingers limber.”
“It is one of the best things that God has had me to do in all of my life,” Powers shared. “It is so much fun.” She added that everyone seems to be on the same wavelength. “As long as we can remember that we have music on Thursday nights and remember to show up…..we don’t worry about what we play,” Powers said. “I told my husband that I may call them my Senior Ukes!”
As soon as everyone enters, one by one, they start tuning their instruments. The thought of a ‘country symphony’ comes to mind as each one joins in. “I have to use my tuner” was the common comment as they strummed each string to its point of perfection.
“My precious little sister, Dorcus, conned me into this,” Betty Kendall said. Powers handed out many pages of notes and music to teach her classes and they all seemed to receive them joyfully, ready to learn. “I have five thumbs and you don’t even play with one,” Betty Kendall exclaimed with a grin. “This G-chord will be my pitfall.” “But,” she continued, “it’s a lot of fun, and I love the challenge of trying to get those five thumbs to work.”
Lisa Minnix took lessons in elementary school from Miss Walton. “I thought I’d try again.” she said. Powers said that to her, “It is such a ‘God rush’ to see how eager everyone is and how we have so much fun with it!” Wayne Kendall exclaimed, “You go Aunt Dorcus! Old dogs can learn new tricks and you can too…. I got faith in you!”
Powers shared that if it took three weeks for some to learn one chord, that it would be ok with everyone. “The truth of the matter is that Craig County had better watch out,” Powers said. “These men and women are on fire and already playing songs.”
Wayne Kendall ended up joining the second class. “I have always played the air guitar to songs,” he shared, laughing. “I finally decided to learn how to play a real one after my mom and aunt said they were learning Ukulele.” He added that it was a plus that Powers was a good teacher, one who is “very” patient and complimentary.
Steve Minnix also joined the second class. “It gives us another chance to get together,” he shared. “I use to play the guitar and wanted to learn again, but I think I am going to do the autoharp, as the guitar is too hard on my diabetic fingers.”
For anyone who chooses to come in without an instrument, Faye is already prepared. She pulls out the “old faithful tub,” a big wash tub turned upside with a string and a pole on it. “It’s easy,” Powers said with a grin. “Nobody’s left out.”
The classes consist of ukulele, guitar, autoharp, washtub bass, a washboard and a harmonica. “I hope to find somebody to do the spoons….we are just having so much fun with it,” Powers said. “If ‘old arthur’ [arthritis] will not let you play one instrument, we have many more for you to choose from!”
“I think it’s important to say that Faye has a place in her heart that loves music and loves the Lord,” Donna Birtsch shared. “She’s combining the two to teach the bunch of us to praise God through music…God bless her for her patience!” The class also decided to add a ministry project to their meeting, creating a donation jar and putting money in it weekly. Later, they will all decide where the money will be distributed locally.
“I learned in my life that you have two choices in life.” Powers said. “Get old and die, or get old and live.” She added that “Dorcus, Betty and Cathy really pumped this idea up” to get people involved and have fun “living.”
With laughter and somewhat “intense” attention in learning, there is still the light heartedness of having fun and enjoying everyone’s company. “At my age, I’m having a ball whether I learn or not!” Martin shared. Many others seemed to believe the same as hugs and jokes permeated the room with just as much intensity.