FirstLife Blog

Why I Sing: Steve and Patti Foster

Posted by Rachel Bell on

“Singing brings joy to your life,” says Steve Foster. “It gives you the opportunity to express [joy] to other folks. Not as a show, but as a message to encourage and inspire. To help draw attention to why we’re singing – because of Jesus and what he’s done in our lives.”

Steve and Patti Foster have been singing all their lives. They both grew up in musical families and met in the Carson-Newman Music Department. Their backgrounds and degrees in music uniquely prepared them for their careers and the ministries they’ve served in throughout the years. Patti says her musical background even helped her get into law school because it gives you “confidence and poise” and the theory “makes you think.”

Early in their marriage, Steve and Patti both worked with young people. Steve was a high school principal and Patti taught 7th grade social studies. While both have a gift for teaching, neither felt at peace in their positions. So, Patti went to law school, and Steve – in addition to his administration job – took a part-time Choir directing position at First Baptist Rockwood.

The music ministry at Rockwood was an outlet for both Fosters. Patti became the children’s choir coordinator, where she planned and hosted music camps for the children, as well as wrote and built sets for children’s musicals. Steve founded and cultivated the choir, which was largely senior adults. On his first choir meeting, 4 people showed up. However, it soon turned into about 60 people who met weekly to fellowship, eat, and travel all over the region singing.

“My love for senior adults started in my early 30s and just grew yearly,” says Steve. “Observing senior adults sing and the joy they have inspired me and encouraged me. Now that I am a senior adult, it makes it that much easier for me to minister to them.”

The Fosters are passionate about music and people, and that passion resonates with everyone they work with. That passion was poured into First Baptist’s senior adult choir when Steve became the director in 2011. Golden Notes performs seasonal concerts at First Baptist as well as in TuneShare, an annual singing and worship event for Senior Adult choirs.

Steve constantly encourages members to give their best. He teaches them how to sing without an accent, and he believes every voice, with practice, can sound like a 30-year-old voice. As a result, the Golden Notes are a vibrant part of First Baptist, offering worship that speaks across generations.

Golden Notes also regularly sings in nursing and retirement homes, which is Patti’s favorite part of being in the choir.  Golden Notes members see these opportunities as a ministry in their community, and Steve finds joy in being able to reach an Alzheimer’s patience with a familiar song.

“It’s amazing those who seem out of this world mentally and physically, when you sing something that brings back some familiarity to them, you can see a response,” says Steve. “Whether it’s tapping their foot or moving their hands, moving their mouths, even singing along. So it’s a joy.”

To Steve and Patti, Golden Notes is more than a singing group. It is a family. There is a certain camaraderie between members. They care for each other, keep each other accountable musically, and they teach and learn from each other. They’ve been a constant source of encouragement for the Fosters even in hard times.

“There’s such a kindness among the group,” says Patti. “They’re always uplifting and kind and generous. Their love is a reflection of what this church has been over time. Everybody in this world is given a special talent – an ability to reflect God’s love – and singing just so happens to be ours.”

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If you're interested in joining the Golden Notes Choir, contact Steve Foster at .

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