Director of Children & Youth Choirs
Suzy started leading our new Youth Choir this past fall and to say that Suzy loves music is an understatement. Her love of music was nurtured in church as a child, through participating in elementary plays, school band, choir programs and the Ashland Symphony Youth Chorus and especially from her mom. Her daughters, Emily (7) and Madeline (4) both love to sing, too. You see them in the Rainbow Singers and Sunbeam Choirs on Sunday morning here at church.
Suzy grew up not far from here, just outside Perrysville, Ohio with her parents Dave and Beth Lackey along with her siblings Becky and Brad. They moved there the summer before she started second grade. During her early years, she lived in an "old white farmhouse" on her grandparents farm in McZena, Ohio. It is located between Loudonville and Wooster. Her dad worked at a local factory along with helping on her maternal grandparents’ farm. Her mom was kept busy taking care of Suzy, yard work, gardening, canning and soon her baby sister and brother. Some of Suzy’s fondest memories are helping her mom hang out the laundry, playing in her tractor tire sand box and visiting the calves and cows in the barn across the road.
Every week you could find her and her family at the little country Lutheran church a few miles from their farmhouse. Sunday School hour always started with music, which happened to be led by a Kodaly trained elementary music teacher. Once a month, she gifted the children with their very own floppy record to take home and sing along with! Suzy would sit at home for hours each week singing along with those records. Worship was just as fun, with lots of repetitious chants and responses. Suzy loved watching the pianist and organist move their hands and feet to accompany the service. As she states, "it’s no wonder that my favorite part of worship was and still is the music!"
Every gathering with her mom’s family included – and still does – a prayer and then the singing of the doxology (in four part harmony) before a meal is served. "Guests always seemed amazed," said Suzy, "I thought this was normal." Once they moved to their Perrysville home they began attending the Baptist church in Perrysville that her dad grew up in and his parents still attended. Her mother joined the choir and later became the choir director. Music is in the blood!
In high school Suzy loved playing softball and attending biology classes. With her love for the outdoors and country upbringing, her interest was naturally piqued towards environmental biology and sustainable living. While attending Mount Union College, she changed her major from music to biology and back to music during her sophomore year. During her senior year of college she met Tony on a blind date. "What girl can resist a cute cello player?" Suzy said.
Suzy taught in Akron for two years while Tony finished college and then they were married and lived near Cincinnati for five years. In 2008, Tony accepted a teaching position in the Mount Vernon School system. They lived with Suzy’s parents for 18 months while they saved for a place of their own. They were both tickled to find a farm house to buy near Gambier. They are delighted to be able to raise their girls in such a great place.
Suzy finds peace in the simple joys of life. She loves to read, knit, garden, sustainable living projects, spending time with her family and did I mention MUSIC!
Suzy stated, "Tony and I have found that Gay Street UMC not only nurtures our spiritual needs, but is a wonderful environment for raising our girls." Suzy’s hope for Gay Street UMC is "that the traditions established will be continued for many years to come; encouraging the religious growth in the lives of both children and adults through music, fellowship and community service." I know with Suzy involvement at Gay Street United Methodist Church those hopes will be sustained.
The full article was originally published in Volume 51 Issue 1 of the Tower Topics newsletter. Click here for more info on Children & Youth Music ministry