Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Children's Ministry... We NEED your help!

For the past three summers the Mountain State School of Gospel Music has worked with people of all ages to encourage greater participation and motivation for learning among church music departments - large or small.  It has been our sincere desire and prayer that each person who attends the Mountain State School of Gospel Music walks away equipped with tools that will help them serve in their home church - as music director, pianist, organist, or choir member.

It’s especially been our joy to watch children - who may have never had the opportunity to enroll in music lessons - play the piano or sing a solo at the Annual Children’s Recital where they get to show off their new skills and build much needed confidence.

Any one who has attended the Mountain State School of Gospel Music as student or audience member knows that we love the children and involve them in every thing musical that we possibly can during the week.  The children sing in the choir, along with the adults; the children take music theory classes; the children direct the opening song for the congregational singing at the Annual MSSGM Closing Program; the children (ages 7-11) are given free private lessons in voice and/or piano and are encouraged to participate in a Student Recital.

In 2010, the children wrote a song (complete with three verses and a chorus) which was published in 2011 by the Jeffress/Phillips Publishing Company based in Crossett, Arkansas.  Children’s choirs and adult choirs across the southern United States have been singing the song written by children of the MSSGM.

That’s why we’ve decided that it’s imperative that we reach out to as many children as we are able by offering music classes (mini-music schools) once per month at local churches. We want YOUR church to get involved.  Sign up to host a Saturday morning music school at your church! (We do all the work, you just unlock the building!) Contact Tori Holstine ( or 304-550-5912) for more details.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Been A While...

So, it's been a LONG while since I've posted because I've been extremely busy!  Unfortunately I don't have the statistics on me from the MSSGM 2011 School, but I'll post about it as soon as I get that information.  I wanted to let you know what's been keeping me occupied the past few months.

I've always had great respect for our men and women in the military - I always cry at patriotic services and I can't help but feel great pride when I see our Nation's flag.  Joining the military has always (well, probably since my junior year of high school) been in the back of my mind.

I graduated from high school in 2002 and thought about joining the military at that time, but it was right after 9-11 so I decided not to.  I went to Marshall to pursue a degree in Broadcast Journalism.  My plan was to be a foreign correspondent.  I wanted to travel, to see the action but not to be a part of it.  My dreams of a career in broadcast ended after talking to a veteran news reporter who'd covered all kinds of interesting stories (Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis, death of Martin Luther King, Jr).

I changed my major to Communications, switched universities and finished my degree.  I worked for a few months then went back to school for my master's degree.  I finished that one in May 2009, and I still didn't feel complete.  There was still that voice in my head that said "military".  So I researched my options and enlisted in August 2010 with the WV Air National Guard.  I left for BMT in August 2011 and graduated Sept. 30, 2011.

BMT was challenging, both mentally and physically.  It was an intersting experience that I'll always remember.  As a 27-year old, mentally I was better prepared than some of the younger ones who'd never been away from home.  Overall, I enjoyed BMT - I got to make a lot of memories (fire an M-16, camp out in a tent on mock deployment, even the gas chamber was fun) that I'll treasure.  I also made several new friends that I hope to have for a lifetime.

So, I'm back in the saddle - the real world now.  Well, I'm in Technical School, and it's time to get MSSGM back on track!  We've got a lot of ideas for the approaching year and look forward to singing with you soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Registration Update

We have not yet reached our goal (100 enrolled students), but the Mountain State School of Gospel Music has reached out to places and have drawn students from areas that I didn't dream we would.  Most people wait until Monday and bring their application along with them, and don't worry about registering in advance... and that's perfectly fine.

This week, I had four boys (college age) to register for the music school.  They'll be making the drive from Ashland, Kentucky daily to attend the music school and to take piano lessons from Seth Gregory.  I talked with a man last week from Hickory, North Carolina who intends on driving to Dunbar, WV and staying in a hotel through Wednesday to attend MSSGM. 

For the past two years, and again this year, we have had students from Ohio.  It's exciting that people in other states recognize what a wonderful thing the Mountain State School of Gospel Music is, and are willing to make an effort and drive to Dunbar to hone their craft. 

So, registration is picking up.  I'm excited to see the final number - it's gonna be good.  I've heard and/or seen registered students from the following churches:
Dunbar Mountain Mission
Cobbs Creek Missionary Baptist Church
Mt. Tabor Church of God
Bible Center
Fisher Memorial Church
Sunshine Freewill Baptist
Spring Fork Missionary Baptist Church
Raceland Christian (that's in Raceland, KY!)

And, there's probably a lot more churches that will be involved that I don't know about yet!  This is going to me soooo much fun!  We can't wait to see and sing with you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Registration Update

Dunbar Mountain Mission: 21 Students Registered
Cobbs Creek Missionary Baptist: 10 Registered
Fisher Memorial Church: 2 Registered
Sunshine Freewill Baptist: 2 Registered
Mt. Tabor Church of God: 1 Registered
Bible Center Church: 1 Registered

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Music School is Closer

We are drawing closer and closer to the first day of Music School.  Seth and Brianna are in town this week.  Seth is teaching at a music school at Canann Baptist Church in Charleston and Brianna is just visiting.  This is a busy month for us!

We have a wedding this weekend, that most of the MSSGM staff members are part of - in the bridal party.
Actually, every female staff member is involved in some way.  Maggie is the bride, I (Tori) am the Maid of Honor, Ashli Samples is the Matron of Honor, and Ashley Mahood and Katie Leaptrot are Bridsmaids.  Out of the male staff members, Brendon Leaptrot is the groom and Andrew Leaptrot is a Groomsman.   Trey Daugherty and Brianna will be providing the music.  It's going to be a wondeful celebration.   We'll have plenty of pictures at MSSGM 2011.
We're also busy preparing for MSSGM.  I have the cardboard shaped notes cut out and a coat of primer on them.  Well, except for "Mi"... My cut-out didn't look a thing like "Mi", so I've got to do that one again. (Thanks Curry Funeral Home for the cardboard!)  We've added more classes this year - one for Middle Schoolers and another Beginner's class in the evening.  Every year after MSSGM, the staff sits down and says, "Okay, what worked?  What didn't work? What do we need to change?"  We make a list and put it in a folder for the following year.  We also push people to register early so that we can see what age groups we'll have at the music school, and plan our classes accordingly. Some times our best laid plans are thrown out the window on Day One, when we actually see everybody who comes out to the music school, and we adjust to fit our students needs.

We can't wait to see you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Prayer for MSSGM

Here's a few things to pray for when praying for MSSGM

1. That minds and hearts will be opened to learning.
2. That teachers minds and hearts will be prepared.
3. That students will take what they learn back to their home churches, and that it will be used.
4. Financially, that we'll meet our goals.
5. Unsaved who attend the music school

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Church Attendance at MSSGM Competition

Here's where we stand!

Cobbs Creek - 10 registered
Dunbar Mountain Mission - 3 registered
Fisher Memorial - 2 registered
Sunshine FWB - 2 registered
Bible Center - 1 registered
Sumerco Church of God - 1 registered