Saturday, November 26, 2022


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By Gini Rainey

I must say that one of the things that gives me great joy is being a part of a musical ensemble, whether it’s piano duets, playing the organ/piano/keyboard, hand bells, choir, or in the orchestra pit, I love making music with my friends.  Music has always been a huge part of my life.  My dad was a professional musician and circuit piano teacher who could pick up almost any instrument and play it.  My mom was a piano teacher and sat on the organ bench in nearly every denomination church you can name, so it just seemed like the natural thing for me to do, also.

Our church encourages its members to join small groups to help maintain a small group feeling while being a part of the larger congregation.  It just so happens that my choice has been the Chancel Choir.  This morning it provided me, not only to be a part of the singing group, but also to have the opportunity to play keyboard, thus making me even more happy!

Now, I must also admit, I have a problem with the mega-churches out there, but that being said, there is church here in town that, although it falls under the heading of mega, it has an amazing Celebration Choir/Orchestra that would definitely challenge the “small-group” rule for me.  With over 200 voices in the choir, I doubt it would fill that need, but this amazing group of voices has performed at Lincoln Center and also with such notable musicians as The East Texas Symphony, Sandi Patti, Don Moen, and Larnell Harris.  In an effort to raise funds for their trip in 2008 to New York City to perform at Lincoln Center, they published the “Celebration Cuisine” cookbook in 2007.  With hundreds of recipes contributed by members, this cookbook is filled to the brim with lots of great recipes and ideas

One of my dear friends, Sally Reed, has her recipe for Cheesy Potato Casserole included in this cookbook and it sounds absolutely easy and yummy.  First completely thaw a large bag of shredded hash browns.  Then mix them together with 4 to 5 chopped green onions, 2 cups of sour cream, 2 sticks of melted butter, 2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Then pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake in the oven at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Served as a side to just about any main course meat, this will make a perfect meal for Sunday lunch!

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