Longtime Pianist


For nearly 62 years Pat Balentine was the pianist at Fifty Six Baptist Church. She recently resigned from the position, making way for another piano player.

Pat never played to be seen or praised by others, but because there was a need, and she was the only one in the community to fill the position. “I always enjoyed it but realized it was time to quit.” She explained, “When you get old, the notes all start looking alike, and you lose your spot.” She laughed, stating, “I was glad when the church got an organ. It helped cover up my mistakes.”

So, when a new member who plays the piano recently joined the church, Pat felt good about resigning from her position, and is now enjoying singing from her church pew.

At the age of 8, Pat began piano lessons and had completed three years of classical piano when her teacher said, “Practice or quit.” Pat quit the lessons, and her father, Tom Burns, was not very happy.

Pat grew up in the Mt. Joy Community, and while they didn’t have much money, her dad always found a way to have instruments, including an upright piano. He wanted one of his children to play music, and Pat’s sister refused. So her father sent Pat to Stamps Baxter Music School where she went three weeks a year for six years. Her first position as a church pianist was at Mt. Joy Church.

See the full story in the Aug. 30, 2017 issue.


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