The Landis Baptist Choir
The following is a history of the Landis Baptist Choir written by Elmer Phipps before he went to be with the Lord on October 18, 2009.
I am Elmer Phipps, former Music Director at Landis Baptist Church. I was asked to write a few lines about the history of the choir. I was able with Gods' help and the prayers of our church members to be Music Director for a total of forty years. After stepping down as Music Director, I have been singing in the choir for almost five years. Our choir has been, and still is, one of the best. We have talent that most churches don't have. Our people are dedicated to the Lord and God has blessed us in many ways.
Our church started with a revival in a tent, then an arbor was built. Our first church building was the Big White Church. Before moving into the Big White Church, the choir was started. Mr. Norris, who was the father of Brother Jack Norris, led the singing. The whole church sang hymns and due to singing schools we attended at church our choir sang gospel songs. The teacher who came here was Mr. Paul Collins from Lincolnton. This was a great thing in those days. When there wasn't much else to do in Landis. This was started in the late 1920's. In the 1930's Mr. Lester Williams of Rowan Mills had the Rowan Singing Convention. Our choir kept the banner most of the time. Our family was about the only family that had a piano. My sister played and there were quartets and trios that were at our house lots of time to practice. In the late 1930's radio became popular and there were quartets at every radio station. Our choir had some of the greatest teachers of gospel music. We could see the talent in the choir, quartets and trios started and our choir kept up with the latest songs published by getting a new song book about every six months. Gospel music was going great before WWII and then after.
We had some great leaders for our choir, good musicians and preachers that were behind each move we made with the choir. In 1950, Brother Bob McGalliard was leading the singing. Our nomination committee talked with me about leading the singing. For a while I was in a bad fix. I felt like I was being called to preach. One night by my bed I got the answer, I was called to lead the singing. In October of 1950 I took the Choir director's job. The Lord blessed us with some good singers. I told the choir lots of times that God gave me a talent to get the music out of the choir and He gave me some of the most dedicated singers in the world. We would try a new song, we would sing it over and over a couple of times then we were ready to sing it for a service at the church. While I am writing this, our choir is still like that. God has blessed us. I think the whole story of our choir is dedicated people doing what God would have them to do.
My prayer is that God will continue to bless the leadership we have today and continue to give us great musicians to play for our choir to sing.
Landis Baptist Choir 1963