She was a constant through years of worship

Published 2:00 am Friday, May 20, 2005

By By EMILY DREITZLER / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN - Judith Gault has always had an avid love for music, but she first got her start dancing as a child. "Once my father saw the little costumes we would wear for dance, he immediately took me out of dancing and that's when I started playing the piano," she said.
Starting at 10, Judith's remarkable musical talents made her the accompanist for the Junior service at the Methodist church in her hometown of Sioux Falls, S. D.
In 1947, Judith's family moved to Battle Creek where Judith said she was "always in the choir" at the local church her family attended. For the rest of her adolescence "everything was music," said Gault.
Judith played in the National Federation of Music Club's junior string ensemble and was one of a skilled trio that showcased their musical talents at fancy hotels. Judith received a piano and cello scholarship to Western Michigan University, where she majored in Music Education and English. She played in the university's symphony orchestra and belonged to the Sigma Alpha Iota musical fraternity, while also acting as the musical director for Delta Zeta, her social sorority. Judith graduated from college and received her Bachelor of Music.
While in eighth grade, Judith met her husband Dick in her youth fellowship at the Monument Square Methodist Church. They married in 1955 and moved to Buchanan in 1957. Judith and Dick joined the Presbyterian church in the late 1960s, after briefly attending the First Methodist Church where Judith served as choir director. Judith quickly became the Director of the Youth Choir at the Presbyterian church. "My love is children's choir." said Gault.
When church organist Linda Shelles and her husband moved out of the area in 1983, Judith assummed the title of organist within the church. In 1988, she added Choir Director to her list of responsibilities. Pastor Jill Rasmussen-Baker of First Presbyterian Church calls Judith "one of the most constant factors within the church for people."
Judith has traveled to Europe with her musical expertise. She spent two weeks in Cambridge, England and was given the opportunity to play a few notes at the St. Paul's Catherdral. Gault also toured Europe for three summers singing in Sounds of Hope, an American choir, and calls it "one of the musical experiences I have ever had."
The choir visited "all the cathedrals" and at one time Judith remembers that she couldn't sing and could only cry at the breathtaking experience. "The audience was crying and was so excited to see us sing when we were in Europe," Judith recalled.
For the last 45 years, Judith has lived and taught private voice and piano lessons in Buchanan. When asked what her favorite part of teaching people to sing was, Judith replied, "I love choosing music and choosing the right music for the right voices."
Judith has been the President of the South Bend Piano Teachers' Association and also of the Buchanan Fine Arts Association. She has held a variety of offices in the South Bend Symphony Guild and has been both a member and the choir director of the Niles Music Club, along with being a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the National Federation of Music Clubs. Judith has also shared her musical talents and been an accompanist of the Buchanan Public Schools and Director of Tyler Blue Notes. Judith and Dick reside in Buchanan and enjoy visiting their three children and grandchildren who live out-of-state. Judith and Dick also enjoy their share of international travel and plan to set sail on the Queen Mary to London this August.
The First Presbyterian Church of Buchanan wishes to invite the public to honor Judith for her high quality of long-term, reliable and enthusiastic service on Sunday, May 22, where the 10:30 a.m. worship will be followed by an 11:45 potluck, which will then be followed by a program honoring Judith.