Farmville Baptist Church: A music moment 10 years in the making

Published 8:10 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

FARMVILE – After over a decade of waiting and planning, Farmville Baptist Church is preparing for a special performance during its normal worship service this Sunday. 

Back in 2012, the church commissioned a piece to honor its church organist, McRae “Mc” Amoss, who has played the organ at the church since 1992. The piece is called “A Charge to Keep I Have” which was written by Charles Wesley in 1762 and later put to music by Lowell Mason. It comes from the scripture passage Leviticus 8:36 with the second verse saying, “To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill: Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage To do my Master’s will!” 

“This describes Mc in so many ways,” said Sandy Yeatts, choir director. “It is such a joy to listen to him every Sunday and his music never disappoints. I know from working with Mc firsthand what an exceptional musician he is, how professional he is, how much thought he puts into the pieces that he chooses each week for our services and the great fondness and love he has for our church and our choir.”

How it came together

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The church reached out to music composer David Schwoebel to put together this piece. Unfortunately, the project faced many delays. Schwoebel was working on several large projects for his own church as well as personal events that were out of his control. Farmville Baptist was also searching for a new pastor at this time which took away some of the focus.

Once both parties were able to focus on the project again it was full steam ahead as Schwoebel found a publisher for the piece and everything became official. The piece was ready in February 2019 and the first copy was framed and presented to Amoss. It was a surprise as well as his mother and sister came all the way from Georgia to be in attendance.

“At that time it was a complete surprise and I was pretty speechless,” said Amoss. “It was a very thoughtful thing for the choir to do for me. It was doubly meaningful for me because it’s always wonderful to be appreciated and recognized but it’s wonderful to be recognized for doing something so impactful and spiritually fulfilling.”

The plan for Farmville Baptist Church

The plan was to perform this piece once it was officially published and printed later that year. However, Advent and Christmas made the performance move again to spring 2020. Unfortunately, everything came to a halt in the spring of 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was very frustrating and disappointing because we weren’t able to sing at all for so many months after COVID shut everything down,” said Yeatts. “So it just wasn’t this piece we couldn’t sing, but we couldn’t sing any music as a group. If we did duets or quartets, we had to space ourselves apart in the front of the sanctuary.”

In 2021, the choir started again but with fewer choir members than when the piece was commissioned. For the performance, the church decided not to let the number of choir members hold them back. Former choir members and one former director will come back to help sing this piece.

The choir will finally perform the song during the regular worship service at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 16. Along with the special performance, folks can also enjoy hearing Amoss play accompaniment to the resent of the songs during the time of worship.

“This church is filled with wonderful people who love to worship and do their best to serve God and other people,” said Amoss.