Aunt Nadine Shepherd was the main organist (pump organ) and pianist for the Dexter Presbyterian Church. About as soon as her own kids and nieces and nephews could read music, she gathered us into a children’s choir, along with other youngsters in the church.
During the 1950s, we’d all had a terrific music teacher, Ruth Sellers, at school, which was just a couple of blocks from the church. So it was even handy for us to walk there for practice after school.
It wasn’t long before we became the main choir, especially since most of our fathers were farmers and there were seasons of the year that they just couldn’t get to choir, even in the evening.
Back row: Bruce Atherton, Vince Wells, Joy Neal, Susan Shepherd, Judy Neal, Bonnie Johnson, Bob Cook, Jane Neal
Front: Gloria Neal, Dixie Thomas, Sandra Grant, Carolyn Cunningham, Patty Wells, Kenny Shepherd, Glenn Heckman
At first we wore short white surplices with dark dickies.
About 1960, with the pump organ on the left (with its rear-view mirror). It looks like the older kids got dark choir robes. Eight of us are first cousins.
Back: Patty Wells, Joy Neal, Jane Neal, Bonnie Johnson, Bruce Atherton, Robert Cook, Vince Wells, Susan Shepherd, Judy Neal, Aunt Nadine Shepherd
Front: ___Thomas, Patty Cook, Frank Spillers, Danny McMenamin, _____, Ken Shepherd, Dixie Thomas, Charles Clark, Byron Martin, Sandra Grant, Gloria Neal
After we grew up and left home, it was delightful to return to our home church to worship on Christmas eve. Sometimes we became the choir once more. The evening always ended with everyone holding candles, circling the darkened sanctuary, lifting our voices to “Silent Night” in four part harmony.
Many of us sang in church choirs for decades. Our own church has moved away from hymnals, the organ, and a choir in favor of praise songs with guitars and percussion. Some folks of “advanced age” admit that we miss the traditional Christmas carols.