has kept church youth busy for almost 50 years
years at First United Methodist Church
have been a pleasure."I've had some wonderful people to work with.The youth and the adults have been tremendous." DANIEL GILES/TimesDailySHEFFIELD -- Oliver Brazelle said when he started his job at First United Methodist Church in Sheffield he thought he would be there about two years.
"It was a very happy situation and I stayed," said Brazelle
That was 48 years ago.Brazelle
, a native of Florence, has been a fixture at the North Montgomery Avenue church
as youth director and minister of music.Brazelle started in October 1958 as youth director.
"I began some children's choir, a youth choir a year or so later and then took over the adult choir," said Brazelle
."It's been a true pleasure.I've had some wonderful people to work with.The youth and the adults have been tremendous."Brazelle
said that at one time he
had nine youth choirs going.
And not only was he
involving the young people of the church in music, he
was also involving them in travel, as they would go on trips during the summer to sing as well as to minister to others.He
said the group traveled to many cities throughout the U.S., and even Europe, as well as being involved in the local community.
years at the church, he
has watched many young people develop and mature into adults.
"I've had a good many people come through the youth choir and then go into the adult choir, and they're still there," he
"It didn't take me long to realize Oliver
is one of the most patient people I've ever met.
"I went one time and (Brazelle) didn't asked me to come back (to sing) again."
For the past eight years, Brazelle
has been heading an orchestra that performs for two nights at Christmas.
The orchestra includes many of his
current congregation members along with former church members and some musicians from outside the church.
"We have about 40 musicians in the orchestra and 55 to 65 in the choir," Brazelle
said."We've been fortunate to have such a talented group of people at our church."
Recently, the church honored Brazelle
years of service.
"It was a total surprise," he
said."I'm honored to be here and so very blessed to be a part of this congregation."
Kelly said Brazelle
is the backbone of the church.
said that during his
tenure at the church, there have been opportunities to move, but he
wanted to stay in Sheffield.
"I wanted to stay in a smaller community," he