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Public invited to reception
By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – First Baptist Church honored Linda Barlow, who has retired as the organist after 58 years, with a reception Sunday, Sept. 27, in Fellowship Hall.
“That was my ministry,” Barlow said. “I enjoy playing. That just seemed to be what I was called to do.”
She became the assistant organist in 1962, when she was just 16 years old and still in high school. Barlow said her grandmother was a musician and encouraged her to take organ lessons.
Barlow began piano lessons from Mrs. Coffee when she was in the second grade. She started organ lessons as a senior in high school from Mrs. Cribs. She said her grandmother even paid for the organ lessons.
“It just seemed like the natural progression,” said Barlow, who took piano lessons for 10 years. “I enjoyed playing the piano.”
As the assistant organist, she ended up playing more than she thought. She began to play when Helen Johnson and Kathy Buckley were the church organists.
“I was just filling in when someone couldn’t be there,” Barlow recalled. “That happened a lot.”
The years turned into decades of devotion to First Baptist Church. She has played the organ in different roles ever since. She said he played with pianists Mary King, Susan Hinrichs, Beverly Baker, Lisa Henderson, Gene Currie, Beverly Wood, Genie Allen Henderson, Ginger White Krieg and Sharon Foard.
Barlow said she also played for her classmates’ weddings.
“I have probably played for a funeral or wedding for most families here in Childress over the years,” Barlow said.
But with back trouble, she said it’s time to retire. She can’t sit on the bench anymore. She told Music Minister Kerry Wood she would still fill in when needed, though.
“I can go play a song or two,” Barlow said. “Everything is God’s timing.”