Bankson named First Presbyterian choir director

Published 12:10 pm Monday, January 11, 2016

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

When the time came to move from his church (Presbyterian) in Laurel, Miss., John Allen Bankson returned to his roots in the Birmingham area.

Growing up in Birmingham, Bankson was close to three cousins, so close in fact that they were almost like brothers.

John Allen Bankson of Alabaster was recently named First Presbyterian Church's choir director. (Contributed)

John Allen Bankson of Alabaster was recently named First Presbyterian Church’s choir director. (Contributed)

Bankson’s parents still live in this area where he began studying piano at age 9.

Bankson is a graduate of Erwin High School and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Samford University.

In addition he has a Master of Divinity degree from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Bankson’s last three jobs were with churches in the Mississippi area.

At present Rev. Bankson is employed as a Financial Services Professional with the Piedmont Group, a general agency of Mass Mutual.

What he enjoys most about his job is helping people to meet their financial goals.

Father of six children, Moggie (Scottish for Maggie), 20; Iain, 17; Abigail, 16; Lottie, 14; Flynt, 11; and Harry, 9.

Bankson’s biggest wish is to be able to spend more time with his children and to take a trip to Germany with them where he spent two summers while in college.  “Knowing that my children’s needs are met and spending time with them ‘makes my day,’” says Bankson.

Since May of 2015, Rev. Bankson has been the pianist at First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster.

Last week he accepted the position of choir director when Jeannie Bubbett retired after a number of years in that position.

Bankson says, “What I listen to personally varies widely from John Coltrane to the Beatles to Baroque music, but that is completely separate from what I believe is appropriate for worship. My guiding principle for worship is what music will be most conductive to maximum participation on the part of the congregation as a whole. Hymn tunes seem to be the best vehicles to achieve that maximum participation.”

Welcome to Alabaster and First Presbyterian, Rev. Bankson.