Music ministers to local children

Published 1:09 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

This summer, Pelham First Baptist Church hosted their first music camp for kids.

Led by church staffers and volunteers, 38 kids enjoyed a week of musical training that included instruction in voice, percussion and boomwhackers.

Yes, I said boomwhackers. And I also said, “What’s a boomwhacker?” when my 10-year-old daughter Faith and her friend, Sierra Sullivan, told me they were learning to play boomwhackers at First Baptist’s music camp. They tried to explain the instruments. Musically challenged, I never understood.

My neighbor, my family and I looked forward to the Sunday night performance because we wanted to see our kids on stage –– and we really wanted to see a boomwhacker.

We discovered boomwhackers are percussion tubes that produce quite a melody when all of the kids played their parts. The kids in each performance group had that look of concentration kids have when they’ve learned something difficult and they want to do well.

The smiles that passed between the students and teachers revealed that their performances were successful.

Perhaps the most fun of the night was when percussion teacher and pastor’s wife, Mary Shaw, taught the kids a rhythm they were able to produce instantly on the drums. After the kids’ performance, Shaw invited adults from the church staff to take the stage.

On the adults’ faces, I saw a look of concentration adults get when we really don’t want a bunch of kids to make them look like they flunked their achievement tests back in the day. There was lots of laughter, and in the end, church member Phil Cochran said to church staffers leaving the stage, “I’m glad that you guys have other talents.”

Children’s minister Jonathan Williams said Pelham First Baptist’s Worship Leader, Paula Kornegay, “poured her heart into the camp.” Williams said the church wanted to offer the music camp so that “kids who love music would have the ability to showcase their talents and glorify God.”

From the reactions of both kids and adults who attended the camp, Pelham First Baptist’s music camp achieved that goal.

“The boomwhackers were fun to bang on the floor because they all had different pitches,” Sullivan said. “I want to go back to music camp next year because I got to meet cool new people who love music.”

Shaw, a music teacher at Green Valley Elementary during the school year, said the camp was just as much fun for the adults involved.

“To do what I love and to do it in the church setting openly for the glory of God this week was amazing,” she said.

Columnist Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at