Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Carver Class of Music assists Bethlehem UMC

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Is there a young, or not so young, virtuoso-hopeful in your household who would like to learn how to play the guitar, or the fiddle/violin, or the piano?

A Lebanon family is providing the opportunity for young people and adults to learn how to play these instruments while at the same time assisting a local church financially.

Well-known country music entertainer Johnny Carver, his wife, Lisa, and their son, Brandon, will offer beginning Monday, Aug. 17 the Carver Class of Music to be held at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, located on the corner of Bethlehem Road and Highway 70. It’s often referred to as the little white church on the hill.

The Carvers are longtime members of Bethlehem UMC and are active in its programs. Johnny and Lisa said during an interview Wednesday at the church that offering the music classes there was a good way to use the building and its classrooms and a good way for them to help the church.

“It’s a good way to utilize empty space for teaching,” Johnny said, referring to classrooms not in use during the week.

Lisa noted that the location of the church is good and convenient for many. “A lot of students live on this side of town. We hope we get some more.”

Several students have already signed up and some of them also attend Bethlehem UMC. Johnny said they are also networking with other churches in the area to let them know about the music classes being offered.

Bethlehem United Methodist Church has deep roots in Wilson County. An article in the June 24, 2005 edition of The Wilson Post said the congregation was established in 1810. Three buildings were constructed through the years that replaced that first one, and the one that had been in use since 1917 was condemned several years ago due to structural damage.

A new building was constructed in 2006 and contains the old pews, original stained glass windows and some old oak flooring, as well. The Rev. Horace Wilkinson is the pastor.

Members are working to complete the upstairs portion of the new building which will be for use by the young people. The upstairs area features three classrooms and larger room that will serve as a den. Bethlehem’s active Youth Group held a Steak Supper in February and raised $2,000 for the upstairs project at the church, Lisa said.

The Carvers noted that a portion of the tuition costs for the music lessons will go toward the church and its programs and projects.

Johnny, who taught for six years at the Cumberland Arts Academy, will teach guitar and electric bass, both beginner and advanced.

He is joined by son Brandon, a senior at Lebanon High School, who will teach beginner piano students. Brandon, who also plays bass, is the substitute pianist at Bethlehem UMC and is also a member of the choir. He also plays the keyboards and sings with Johnny’s band.

Dawn Taylor and Kathy Kuhn will also teach piano and fiddle/violin, respectively, with the Carver Class of Music.

Taylor received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Cumberland University. While attending CU, she played with the Jazz Band, the Marching Band, Pep Band and Concert Band. She is the pianist at Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet and formerly served as pianist for Choral Dynamics for the West Wilson Arts Alliance, also in Mt. Juliet. In addition, she taught piano at the Cumberland Arts Academy for the past four years.

Kuhn worked for seven years with the Porter Waggoner Band on the Grand Ole Opry as well as on Waggoner’s tour dates. She has worked with Johnny for several years. Kuhn teaches all styles of fiddle/violin playing including the Suzuki method. She tours on weekends with various bluegrass bands.

Classes for the fall semester begin Monday, Aug. 17 and will continue for 14 weeks through Friday, Dec. 11. A Fall Recital, organized by Lisa, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13, at Bethlehem UMC. The classes, which will be 30 minutes in length, are open to students ages 6 to adult, and will be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Carver Class of Music will take a break for Christmas and will resume with spring semester in January. An eight-week summer session is also planned.

Johnny and Lisa are especially excited about the Fall Recital in December.

“It’s important to parents and grandparents,” Johnny said, noting the parents and sometimes grandparents are the ones who pay for the lessons. Lisa added that the students, especially the younger ones, enjoy performing as well. “It’s special.”

For information about tuition and class times, call 444-5547 or 306-8698.

Johnny is set to perform during the Wilson County Fair which runs Aug. 21-29 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center/Wilson County Fairgrounds. He will be at the Community Stage at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26 and will be joined on stage by Brandon who will also perform.

Johnny’s biggest hits include “Tie A Yellow Ribbon,” “Afternoon Delight” and “That Sweet Ole Lady of Mine.” He has had 36 singles on the charts, two that were number one and five top 10 singles. He has appeared on numerous TV shows and performed throughout the U.S. and overseas. For more, visit online at

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at

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