Vidalia minister shares love of music

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 18, 1999

A one and two and three and four … Eric Holmes counts out the time signature for his students at Bethel Church in Vidalia where he is youth pastor.

&uot;Do you understand where I’m coming from? You gotta’ ask me questions cause that’s the only way you’re gonna learn,&uot; said the 23-year-old Holmes who volunteers his time to teach music.

&uot;I just love music, that’s all I’ve ever known,&uot; he said. &uot;A lot of parents want their child to take lessons, but can’t afford it. I know it was a hardship for my mom to send me to piano lessons.&uot;

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Holmes’ students sit quietly, listening to him describe the difference between a whole note and a half note. He draws a line of music on the projector and asks his students to count it out by clapping.

As the class nears the end, Holmes asks each of his four students to come to the front of the room and play another line of music he has just written. Shyly, they take the seat and touch the keys tentatively.

&uot;I want you all to play like you’re inventing the piano,&uot; coaches Holmes.

Holmes was raised on music and learned by ear how to play everything from the piano to the drums.

&uot;My aunt was taking piano lessons and she would practice when she came home,&uot; he said. &uot;She found out I was catching on pretty quickly, so she had to kick me out of the living room. If I wasn’t going to one church with my mother and grandmother, I was going to another with my my grandfather.&uot;

After years of teaching himself, Holmes wants to pass on his love of the art.

&uot;I want them to have fun while they’re learning,&uot; Holmes said. &uot;I try to crack a joke every once in a while and keep them on their feet, to keep them interested in it.&uot;

&uot;People like that I can take them and work wonders with them.&uot;