PENSACOLA (FBW)—Leo Day, minister of music at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola since 2006, has lifted his voice in many venues in the Panhandle. as he leads worship, performs or teaches, Day says he hopes to “plant God’s name in the hearts” of his hearers.
Day leads the 500-member music ministry of Olive Baptist Church, heading up several choirs, orchestra and ensembles, along with staff musicians and office personnel. his ministry is “all-consuming,” he said.
Day began his work with 11,400-member Olive Baptist Church as interim minister of music during the summer of 2005 while he taught voice at new Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. the last day of his interim was 24 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit new Orleans August 29. Day’s wife and daughters had already evacuated the city. Even before he headed to Mississippi to join them, and before their home on the seminary campus flooded after the storm,
Pastor Ted Traylor offered the church’s missionary home to the family.
PRAISE Leo Day, minister of music at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, hopes to “plant god’s name in the hearts” of those who hear him. Courtesy photoThey moved to Pensacola, and Day continued his work as interim minister until the church officially called him as full-time minister of music in February 2006.
“We realized quickly that ‘things’ don’t matter, but when your life changes—even if it is in God’s plan—it is a shock to your system. We lost everything and gained it back the next day. that is God,” he said.
Although praising God for his provision, the family found recovery from such a traumatic event can take time.
He and his wife, Donna, began writing a musical project when they lived in New Orleans. a lecture recital on the subject of little known women in the Bible is now slowly nearing completion, but Day said the delay can be partly attributed to Katrina, since “everything associated with new Orleans is a deep and heavy thing to approach.”
Donna Day wrote Bible studies on biblical women, beginning with Hagar. when she asked her husband to read her words about Hagar, he “was singing before I finished,” he said. with all the prose and music now written, Day hopes the project will soon be recorded and published.
“We want to get this done sooner rather than later. it is to the point that it is rubbing on my nerves, and we need to get it behind us,” he said.
A writing project may have been put on hold when the family moved to Pensacola, but Day dove into the Pensacola arts community. Pensacola’s choral society, symphony orchestra and opera company lined up to enlist the classically trained tenor.
“a performer will die if he doesn’t perform. God gives us our gifts to use,” he said.
He sings often with the Pensacola Choral Society, especially performing tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Mass in C. the group’s baroque repertoire is “perfect for my voice,” Day said. “it keeps my voice young.”
Day’s latest performance with the Pensacola Symphony was a Mother’s Day concert on the beach. as the only soloist, he introduced each song—a secular program with the exception of “God Bless America.”
Although Day’s college, seminary and doctoral degrees center on opera performance, participation in Pensacola Opera productions has been rare because of the time required for musical and staging rehearsals. this fall, however, he has been cast as “Pirrelli” in a semi-staged production of “Sweeney Todd.” he will step into this role in his beloved art form with minimum rehearsal, he predicts.
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