Keith reaches 50 years as First Baptist pianist

When Becky Keith was 15, she was asked to be the regular pianist for First Baptist of Ash Grove. This month, she celebrated 50 years of playing piano for the church.
“They just needed a piano player, and they felt I could fill the void,” she said.
Keith was asked to take over the duties of pianist in 1969 when the church’s regular pianists left. At the time, she’d been playing piano for nine years and had been the church’s substitute pianist for about a year.
“We’d had some really good piano players in the ‘60s, and they had all gone to college and moved away,” Keith said. “I was going to church here … and they knew I could play the piano, and they asked me to do it.”
Several things have changed in the 50 years that Keith has been playing. For instance, when she began, the church used the traditional piano/organ duet and only traditional hymns were played. Now, Keith plays an electric piano, and the church now also has a full praise band.
“Back then you played for everything,” she said. “For the specials, the cantatas, for everything. We did not have tracks when I first started. Now, we have a lot of tracks that we use, and it’s different now. We (also) use the full praise band.”
Keith said she never expected she would be the church’s pianist for as long as she has, but she wouldn’t change a thing.
“When you’re 15, you don’t think about 50 years from now,” she said. “But, it’s been a blessing to be able to play the piano for God’s glory.”
During the 50 years she’s been playing for the church, Keith has been purely a volunteer. She’s never been paid, but said she wouldn’t want to be.
“I would not accept pay, even if I was offered it,” she said. “It’s just to serve the Lord and for his glory. I love the music about Jesus, about God. I love being able to use the talent that God gave me to glorify him; to worship him.”
First Baptist of Ash Grove showed their appreciation to Keith for her years of service with a surprise reception on April 7, during which she said she received “a basket of nice gifts.” However, she felt the best part of the reception was that her family and several friends were present.
Keith also said she is proud to play at a church which welcomes everyone in its doors.
“Our church has always been a church that you feel welcome at,” she said, “and preaches God’s word and the truth about the wonderful love of God, and the saving power of Jesus Christ. I would want anyone to feel welcome at our church.”



Lawrence County Record

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Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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