There shall be singing

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Music is coming from the halls of the Friendship House of Jesus, thanks in part from a criminal counselor who has a passion for music.

Johnny Payne, who is the workforce coordinator at the Friendship House, is also the conductor and instructor for the youngsters who want to sing; however, the youngsters will also be able to hear what they have done with the use of a recording studio that the Friendship House has built.

Payne studied to be an opera singer at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and also played trumpet in the university’s world-famous Marching 100 band, but he instead went into the criminal justice field. He is now the music instructor at the Gadsden County prison as well as working at the Friendship House.

As Friendship House Administrator Director Josh Paske said during a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in December, the hope is that the studio would allow the children to record and produce CDs, but those CDs will contain Bible versus that has been turned into music at the new studio.

The sound-proof studio contains microphones and various musical instruments, and a separate room contains the mixing board and computer equipment to record, edit and produce the CDs. Daniel Ray volunteers at the studio, working with Payne and the children who step up to the microphone.

Paske said the opportunity for the studio didn’t present itself until Payne became the Friendship House’s Workforce coordinator.

“It kind of all fell into place,” Paske said.

“It’s something that really excites them” Paske said of the children’s opportunity to compose original music, record it and then perhaps distribute it.

Payne is looking for bigger things to come from the studio and the potential it offers. He’s hoping a chorus such as the Boys Choir from Tallahassee, Fla., which is now well-know, will develop from the newly built studio.