Gayle became the organist at First Presbyterian in January 2006 and the choir director in January 2014. In addition, she is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for the Christian County Public Schools and the organist for Hopkinsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. She holds a B.A. from Belmont University, Nashville (with a major in music and minor in speech and drama), an M.M.E. from Murray State University; and an ESL teaching endorsement from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. After moving to Ft. Worth, Texas, she became accompanist and assisting director of the Texas Girls’ Choir. She also taught high school and middle school choir for 23 years and served as organist choirmaster in Ft. Worth churches. She returned to Kentucky in 2000 to care for her mother. Wherever she lives, her music continues to be shared with churches, schools and the community.
Dr. Lester served as the choir director at First Presbyterian from 1995 to 2014 and as Community Outreach Leader from 2014 to 2016. She is a native of Hopkinsville and graduate of Hopkinsville High School. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, she began teaching music at H.H.S. and became the music director at FPC. After Joan and her husband, Bob Lester, moved away from Hopkinsville, she taught music in elementary and middle schools in Florida, New York, and Texas. She also taught music at Elmira College in Ithaca, NY, and the University of Texas in Austin. In all of the places she has lived, Joan has been a member and/or director of church choirs and community choirs, music organizations and events. Her degrees in music include a B.M. from U.K., an M.M. from Ithaca College, and a D.M.A. from University of Texas, Austin. Her children live in Nashville, Arizona, and New Zealand.
Lanesha joined the staff in 2002. Her years of experience in working with infant and preschool children began at age 13 when she started helping with infants in the church she attended at that time. She is a graduate of Hopkinsville High School and Hopkinsville Community College and holds an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. After additional training in child development and care, she earned a Child Development Associate certificate. Lanesha has worked for several years in local child care centers and is currently employed by Christian County Public Schools.
Rev. Dr. Barta was pastor of First Presbyterian Church from 2002 to 2012. Tony and his wife, Carol, came to First Presbyterian from United Presbyterian Church in Universal, Pennsylvania where he served for 27 years. In 2013 the congregation elected him Pastor Emeritus as an expression of gratitude and respect for his ministry. He continues his ministry by serving in the Western Kentucky Presbytery (WKP) and supplying as a minister in WKP pulpits. A former member of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, Dr. Barta also lends his beautiful voice to our choir on occasion.
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