Meet the…Portales church choir members

Editor’s note: The “Meet the” series profiles the people behind groups, organizations and businesses in the community.

By Lillian Bowe

PNT staff writer

lbowe@pntonline.com

Jo Rackler said she always remembers loving to sing. Starting at 10 years old, Rackler solos to do specials at church.

Her church did not have a choir, but when her family moved and started to go to Emmanuel Baptist Church when she was 16, she immediately joined the choir.

For the past 54 years, Racker’s joy for singing has never faded.

“If I just get down and out, I put on good old gospel music and I feel uplifted,” Rackler said.

Rackler said the choir sings gospel and contemporary songs.

Music is healing and music can make you happy. - Janice Smartnick

Music is healing and music can make you happy. – Janice Smartnick

Singing in choir, for Rackler not only is fun for her, but helps her convey her Christian walk with her church members.

“I can probably tell you more about my Christian life by singing than just telling you about it,” Rackler said.

Janice Smartnick, the choir director for the First United Methodist Church, loves to see how people react to the music her choir sings.

“Music is healing and music can make you happy,” said Smartnick, a retired office worker at Eastern New Mexico University.

Smartnick directs the 25-members choir, which practices once a week for an hour and 15 minutes.

For Smartnick, directing the choir is her passion.

When she was part of a choir in Albuquerque, Smartnick was told she would make a great director. Soon Smartnick started to direct choirs all over New Mexico and now has been directing the choir at the Methodist church for many years.

“Every week with the choir is so special,” Smartnick said.

Being part of a group and getting to know the First Baptist Church members is why Carolyn Thompson, a retired independent jeweler, is a part of choir.

“We encourage each other and build lasting relationships with one another,” Thompson said.

Thompson performed in cantanas performed by the First Baptist choir for Christmas, Easter, and a Patriotic-themed cantata in September.

“I love praising the Lord and music has always been apart of my life as my husband was a band director,” Thompson said.

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