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Pianist offers concert Sunday at Chocowinity UMC

For June Arnold, playing the piano is nothing short of a spiritual calling. As some are called to the far corners of the earth to build churches and proselytize in foreign lands, Arnold is called to place her fingers on the keys and make a joyful noise.

That passion took root early for Arnold, at the age of eight, will be expressed in all its exuberance on Sunday, as she offers a piano concert for the community at Chocowinity United Methodist Church at 3 p.m.

Blending familiar easy listening melodies and unique Floyd Cramer arrangements of hymns, the concert promises to be an enjoyable affair for music lovers of all stripes. Of the 18 titles in Arnold’s repertoire for the evening, titles include, “Loving You,” “Just Pretend,” “Annie’s Song,” “Last Date,” “Unchained Melody,” “Peace in the Valley” and “Earth Angel.”

While these might not seem like songs one would typically hear in church, Arnold sees connections between each of these pieces and real life. For Arnold, three passages of scripture stand out as especially important in this regard:

  • “David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul.” 1 Samuel 16:23
  • “Many waters cannot quench love.” Song of Solomon 8:7
  • “Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.” Exodus 31:6

“As these scriptures indicate, God is in true life, helping people who are disturbed and unhappy, cheering with a glad heart through music,” Arnold said. “On the romantic side, marriage is from God and approved of and guided by Him. Then with the craftsmanship to make a piano, that’s just such an incredible piece of workmanship. Whether people are recognizing him or not, He’s here.”

While Arnold says she has served as minister of music and worship at Chocowinity UMC for “many decades,” her experience leading worship through music stretches back to her childhood.

“When I was just in fifth grade, we did not have a piano player for Bible school, so the leaders gave me the manual and asked me to teach the songs to the children,” Arnold said. “So I have been working with children’s music for a very long time.”

With these years of experience under her belt, Arnold is a believer in the healing power of music. From the joy of learning music for senior citizens to the impact of keyboard classes on mental health, she sees tremendous benefits.

“Music is a powerful tool that can improve the quality of life for a wide variety of people,” Arnold said in a statement previewing the show. “Learning to play a keyboard instrument, especially one with all the easy-play features now available, doesn’t have to be hard work.”

Chocowinity UMC is located at 678 N.C. Highway 33 West in Chocowinity.