Dicy McCullough: Charles Sloop and 3rd Verse lift spirits with songs
CLEVELAND - You never know who you might see at a sing-a-long, especially if it's the annual Fa-So-La singing at Providence Presbyterian Church in Cleveland.
I was lucky enough to attend this summer and happened to spot an old friend, Charles Sloop, sitting a few pews ahead of me. He waved. I waved back.
I wasn't surprised to see Charles because if anyone likes to sing more than he does, I'm not sure who it is. Well, there may be a few people, but you get the picture. When he hears there's going to be a "singing" somewhere, like the roadrunner in the cartoons, Charles leaves a cloud of dust behind as he makes his way down the road.
Through the years Charles has sung in a number of men's groups and church choirs, including Thyatira Presbyterian Church where he now attends. Jon McCachren is the director of the choir at Thyatira and also leads the Fa-So-La singing at Providence. About eight years ago, Charles quite by accident formed his own group of which Jon is a member.
The seed for the men's group was planted and took root when a neighbor next door to Charles, Nora Cashion, began living at the Carillon Assisted Living Center in Salisbury. One day while visiting Nora, Charles mentioned how much he loved to sing. Nora said she would like to hear him and so, before leaving that day, Charles asked the program director if anyone ever came to sing for the residents. The next thing he knew he was on the calendar. Even though a piano was available in the dining room, Charles sang the old hymns a cappella. The residents could join in, if they wanted to, but for the most part he sang by himself.
Charles doesn't know why it took him two years to invite other men to join him, but finally, when he did, about 20 volunteered. Everyone thought it was a one-time thing, so the next month Charles was by himself again. Meeting him at the door was a longtime resident, Martha Adkins, wanting to know where "his" men were. After that night, Charles went home and made more phone calls.
Since then a group of about 20 men have been singing together once a month at the Carillon.
"The men's group gives the residents so much more than music," said Wendy Livengood, executive director at Carillon. "The singing and fellowship feed their spirit and connect them to the outside world. Time spent with the residents is always appreciated."
The men's group finally decided on a name a few years ago when they signed up to sing at the Threshers' Reunion in Denton. Since they couldn't participate unless they had a name, Mark Eagle suggested 3rd Verse because their philosophy was to stop singing if they didn't know the melody by the third verse. Everyone liked the idea and so the name stuck, with the number "3" always written as part of the name.
I heard 3rd Verse for the first time at Providence Presbyterian Church during the Fa-So-La singing and thought, for not practicing, they had a nice sound. Charles said they don't practice because they sing to inspire and encourage, not to perform. He also said many in the group work long hours and don't have time to practice.
Charles believes if it hadn't been for the seeds planted by Nora and Martha years ago, the men's group wouldn't exist today. While it may be true Nora and Martha planted the seeds, Charles was the one who watered until those seeds took root.
If you happen to drive by the Carillon on the third Friday of the month at 7 p.m., don't be surprised to hear the harmonious sound of a group of men called 3rd Verse volunteering their time to bless others. What about you? Do you have some time to share? If so, give Wendy a call. You will make her day.
Dicy McCullough's books are available at local bookstores, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Contact her at 704-278-4377.