“Making a Joyful Sound,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 70
Jack Bowers takes quite seriously the counsel to praise the Lord with singing and music (see D&C 136:28). Every Sunday evening, Brother Bowers leads a sing-along hymn session for ten to fifteen of his fellow residents at the Pioneer Home senior center in Palmer, Alaska.
As a result of the sing-alongs, men and women of many faiths have come to know the words and tunes of some Latter-day Saint hymns. Members from nearby wards take turns playing the piano for the weekly sessions. The seniors seem to particularly enjoy the young children and babies who accompany these visiting families.
Brother Bowers thoughtfully selects a list of hymns each Sunday. About a half hour before the sing-along begins, he loads his wheelchair with hymn books and brings them out into the common area. He then helps the staff arrange the furniture and bring in any residents who want to participate. He keeps a tape player and a cassette of hymn accompaniments on hand in case no piano player is available.
The groups sing all the verses of the selected hymns, and often Brother Bowers pauses between hymns to read the scriptures noted at the end of each hymn. The last song is always “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” (Hymns, 1985, no. 152). Brother Bowers closes the sing-alongs with expressions of love for the participants and with prayer.
Though he struggles with his own health problems, Brother Bowers enjoys inspiring others with the hymn sing-alongs. He is a member of the Palmer First Ward, Wasilla Alaska Stake.—Roselyn Sant, Wasilla, Alaska