Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Tinney Talk, September 2009

Click on any image to view it in larger format.

Tinney Talk, Observations by Joe Dan Boyd

MOLLY MATHIS, TINNEY CHAPEL’S NEW PIANIST, started taking piano lessons at the tender age of seven, under the guidance of Willa Wilfong, then one of Winnsboro’s best-known private music teachers. The decision for Molly to do that was not her own, as she grew up in the family of Jeanne and Ross Mathis, a local physician, in which it was “understood” that little girls take piano lessons, no questions asked! “Miss Wilfong taught classical piano, was a strict disciplinarian, and brooked no nonsense,” recalls Molly. “She could tell if you hadn’t practiced between lessons, and if you hadn’t, she whacked your hands with a small stick as ‘encouragement’.”

“I TOOK PIANO LESSONS FROM GRADE TWO THROUGH GRADE EIGHT,” says Molly. “In high school, I switched to organ lessons from Sallie Lucy Old, another iconic figure of yesterday’s Winnsboro music scene. That’s 11 years of music lessons, and the difference between the two instruments—piano and organ—is pretty simple: You can fudge a little on the piano, but not the organ. Miss Old always said that the organ is totally unforgiving.”

MOLLY BECAME PIANIST FOR FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH of Winnsboro when she was a freshman in high school, although Molly was then a Presbyterian. It was her initial introduction to playing church music, and both parties—she and the church—were sufficiently satisfied for her to continue until she graduated in 1964. “I love church music,” says Molly. “I think it’s beautiful, spectacularly so. I’ve always been fond of such hymns as Faith Of Our Fathers, Holy Holy Holy and The Church’s One Foundation.”

MOLLY HAS BEEN CHALLENGED TO PLAY UNFAMILIAR HYMNS since arriving at Tinney Chapel, and she thrives on that: “I had never played either Lord of the Dance or All Glory Laud And Honor until recently when they were on the program here at Tinney Chapel and I thought both were beautiful.”

AFTER GRADUATION MOLLY STOPPED PLAYING, to meet the demands of raising a family and tend the fires of a demanding career in marketing. “Only occasionally did I play for my own pleasure during those years. When I retired, I moved from New York City, back to the rural East Texas of my youth and Ronny Ellison invited me to visit Tinney Chapel.”

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?