John Matthew Wilkinson
It all started so long ago that I don’t even remember the occasion. The incident was relayed to me by a very reliable source, my mother. In our small Pentecostal church everyone was welcome to sing in the choir. And sing we did! I remember my mawmaw singing the alto line with all of her heart and my mom sweetly singing soprano. We would sing songs out of the “red back hymnal” and songs from convention books. The music was filled with passion and conviction. It was music that touched the heart and soul. From before I could remember my mom would take me with her to our church choir. As the saints sang the songs of Zion I am told that I would reach over to touch the piano keys. It didn’t bother the church pianist. She told my mom, “he’s going to play the piano someday.” Her words came to be true. I remember singing my first solos at the same church. I was four or five. The music and worship of that small church of my youth made a profound impact on my life.
My first piano lessons were with our church pianist. I would learn not only to read the notes on the page, but also to improvise and add runs and fill-ins. I learned how to play for the choir and also how to play for my own singing. What wonderful times those were! Nothing seemed forced or strained, but rather a natural growth of what was inside.
Through the years I would go on to study classical music with rigorous teachers. My songwriting, singing and playing make my classical training evident, but my goal as a singer/songwriter and pianist is not to impress by my skill or ability, but to express the same passion, conviction, heart and soul that was so evident in the music of the church of my youth.
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Hymns, original songs and piano solos performed with grace to inspire the soul.