Louisville—Each year, dozens of youth from Kentucky Baptist churches across the state participate in the Kentucky Baptist All-State Youth Choir and Orchestra.
The group dedicates a few days to rehearsal, one day to group bonding—this year, a King’s Island trip—and then performs concerts across the state. Their mission is “to unashamedly spread the gospel through our music, our sharing, and our conduct,” according to their tour book.
This summer’s itinerary included performances at Campbellsville University; Campbellsville Baptist Church; Allen Baptist Church in Prestonwood; Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard; First Baptist Church of London; and Grace Baptist Church in Somerset.
Mason Sims and Stephanie Morgan have been involved with Kentucky Baptist All-State Choirs since the fourth grade.
“Both of these individuals represent a group of future leaders in our churches. Both of them have solid commitments to the Lord and have been able to use their talents in the area of music within their church,” said Jason Stewart, music and worship consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
“One of the purposes of the KBC All-State Youth Choir and Orchestra is to seek and find individuals like these two, and pour into their lives so they can continue making a great difference,” he added.
Sims is a recent high school graduate and a bass singer from Second Baptist Church of Hopkinsville. With the exception of one year off for the Governor’s Scholar Program, he has been involved in All-State choirs.
“I participate in the All-State Choir because, for one, I love singing. I’m a member of my church choir at Second Baptist, and praise and worship has just always been a part of my life—a special part of my life,” Sims shared.
“Sometimes, I’m not the best speaker at things,” he continued. “If there’s music playing, that’s something just flowing through me—I feel like that’s God working through me. I guess that is why I choose to go back every year, because we’re with fellow believers, fellow musicians, and we’re just using the gifts God gave us to praise Him.”
Sims plans on attending University of Kentucky in the fall and majoring in political science with a minor in journalism. He describes himself as a “very involved student,” and one day hopes to be a political analyst or correspondent for a news network, integrating his faith with politics.
“I feel like this week especially, in our Bible studies that we have, we talked about getting involved in worship and immersing yourself in worship. That really hit home. I enjoy doing that, but there’s so much more I can do within my church to get more involved with our music department just to glorify God,” Sims said.
Morgan, another recent high school graduate, is a member of Hartford Baptist in Ohio County. She sings alto and plays the bass clarinet.
“My favorite part about being in the choir is probably the experiences or people I’ve met. It’s the memories you make, the friendships you make, and realizing that you always have a support group to come back to. You always have people who care about you,” Morgan said.
Morgan plans to attend Campbellsville University in the fall, majoring in educational ministries and public relations. She is an “all A” student and hopes to one day be an overseas missionary.
“I started choir because it sounded like something fun, then it became a really big part of my life,” Morgan said. It was a way to meet new people and exercise my faith. It was something where I could go and meet Christians who were my age. It just helped me realize that I’m not alone with my walk and my faith.”
Sims added, “If you’re a KBC church and you’re already not involved in the Kentucky Baptist All-State Choirs, you need to recruit your kids to join it, because it’s such an uplifting program.
“It’s a great way to spread God’s word,” he concluded. “It’s a fun time, you make friends, you praise God, and these friends are doing the same stuff as you. They’ll last a lifetime regardless of how often you see them.” (WR)