Ms. Mandy and Ms. Connie

Ms Mandy and Ms Connie are two HUGE resources at Oak Mountain that your kids need to be involved with.

My musical background includes (there’s a reason for my laying this out – hang with me) plucking out notes from TV commercials when i was 3 on my fisher price piano, to begging my parents for 4 years to let me take piano. When i was 7 -they figured I might be serious, and so they signed me up. I grew up (until I was 12) in the midwest. When I was 10, we moved (for the 2nd time) back to Minneapolis, which is one of the coldest places on earth. The taxes in Minnesota are incredibly high, but they do take quite a bit of that money and pump it into the public school system.

When I was in 5th grade, part of my general music class was to study guitar. I can still remember playing my first G chord – which consisted of holding down string 1 on the 3rd fret, and only strumming the top 4 strings. I started playing trombone in 5th grade. In 6th grade, I started on trombone, but my band director (there were 3 different band directors in the middle school – one for each grade. Each grade had 2 different bands – a symphonic and concert band, plus 2 different jazz bands) announced that he needed tuba players – would anyone volunteer? I signed up. We had private lessons on our instruments, during the day – once/week. They would actually take us out of science, or math, or whatever – in order to have our 30 minute private lesson on our instrument. I played piano in jazz band. I moved in 7th grade to Atlanta. Marched in high school (sousaphone), played in symphonic band, all the while taking classical piano lessons, singing in the choir, playing bass guitar for a show choir, and singing in musicals. In college, I sat under Dr Black in the A Cappella choir – where I learned more about choir from watching him than I did in any conducting class i took, and finished a degree in classical piano performance.

i say all this because – my world was filled with musical influences, everywhere I looked. It wasn’t one-tracked. Teachers were investing in me musically from all different angles, genres, and influences. My musical abilities now are merely a BY-PRODUCT of the surroundings and opportunities that I had when i was in grade school, high school and college.

So Ms Connie – who has been directing Alabama State Choirs for years, and Ms Mandy – who has been doing children’s music since her early high school years, are two huge influences that your kids need to be involved with – they’re investing in our kids here at the church, giving them yet one more opportunity to have that priceless musical exposure when they’re young. Mandy is heading up our children’s worship program. They meet every Sunday morning during the 10:45 Sunday school hour where they are dancing, singing, and learning about worship. THEN – every Sunday evening (during Kids’ Quest) they meet from 4:30 to 5:30 where they work towards leading in worship at church, or a musical. Connie leads our Youth Choir – and is giving the kids invaluable opportunity to learn about reading music, balance, blend, teamwork. They meet every Wednesday from 5-6 (taking a break until the new year).

I get asked often – “can you teach my child how to play piano like you do on Sunday morning?” yes. Get them involved in every musical opportunity they have now, so one day they can improvise on chord charts . . . Don’t make the mistake of limiting your exposure to different musical experiences because you think they won’t/can’t/shouldn’t apply to what you may want to do down the road. I used to play the tuba . . .

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