Musicians share their gift at Christ Lutheran Church
Members of Grace Notes rehearse at Christ Lutheran Church in Penn Forest Township recently. Seated, front from left, are Debbie Freer and Patricia Moore, and standing, Denny Moore. Back row, Warren Pushaw, Tyler Mangold and Dave Repecki. KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS
Many of us would agree that our talent — whatever it is — is a God-given gift. So it’s no surprise when someone with a gift wants to use that gift to give back.
That’s certainly the case with Grace Notes, the contemporary Christian music band from Christ Lutheran Church in Penn Forest Township.
Formed about four years ago under the direction of the Rev. John Hassler, pastor of Christ Lutheran, after congregation member Warren Pushaw approached him.
“My wife, Elizabeth, forced me to talk to Pastor about starting something,” said Pushaw, who has been playing guitar in contemporary Christian bands since 1985.
The couple, who have been married for 48 years, had recently moved from Ridgewood, New Jersey, to Penn Forest Township full time and missed having contemporary music at worship service.
Hassler was excited at the possibility.
“He said he was looking for it,” Pushaw said. “Everything came together. We were all sort of ready.”
Grace Notes is made up of six musicians.
Pushaw, who plays rhythm guitar, is originally from northern New Jersey and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Military College with a BS in chemistry. He is retired from Micro Powders Inc. after 32 years and more recently retired from ZUMWax Inc. after five years.
He and his wife have three daughters and six grandchildren.
Grace Notes’ bass player and lead singer is Dennis “Denny” W. Moore. He’s a native of western Pennsylvania and graduate of Pitt, where he earned a degree in secondary education. He also has a master’s from the Lutheran Theology Seminary in Gettysburg. He and his wife, Pat, who is one of the band’s two female vocalists, have two grown sons.
Moore started his musical career at the age of 14 as a drummer in a rock band. He’s played in ballroom, polka and country-western groups as well as in other contemporary Christian bands, and even introduced a couple of congregations to that style of music.
He is a retired Lutheran pastor after 41 years of service. He enjoys contemporary Christian music and has written lyrics to repurpose familiar songs for Christian worship, such as “I Saw the Light” by Hank Williams Jr. and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.
In addition to their two sons, Patricia “Pat” Moore and her husband, Denny, share twin granddaughters. She recently retired from Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Pat’s interest in singing began in junior high when she auditioned for the school chorus. She also sang with a group of nine girls in high school called the “Triple Trio.”
“I have always enjoyed singing to our sons and in various church choirs,” said Pat, who also sings harmony with the band.
Debbie Freer of Albrightsville and her husband Doug, have three sons. She’s been employed as an application analyst for Cognizant Technology Solutions for 23 years.
Freer said she has always loved music and sings with her musician husband. She joined Grace Notes in 2017 after becoming a member of Christ Lutheran Church.
On lead guitar is Dave Repecki, who was born and raised in Albrightsville and still lives there today. He spent most of his career in the construction industry, and currently works as a heating and cooling sales specialist at Nauman Mechanical.
He and his wife, Anita, have been married for 25 years. They have two daughters and three grandchildren and another on the way.
Repecki said he enjoys playing contemporary Christian music. In addition to lead guitar, he plays a 12-string and contributes on vocals.
The youngest member of the band is drummer Tyler Mangold of Penn Forest Township. He graduated from Bloomsburg University in December 2017 with a degree in early childhood education and is currently employed as a full-time substitute at L.B. Morris Elementary School.
Mangold has been playing drums for 13 years and guitar for 11 years.
In addition to Grace Notes, he performs in an acoustic duo with Bridget McFadden called The Teacher & the Poet, and is also working with a blues band.
Grace Notes performs at the 8:15 a.m. service on the first Sunday of the month and at the 10:30 a.m. service on the third Sunday of the month.
The band also visits other churches to play at their services, and has even traveled as far as Long Beach Island in New Jersey to help spread the Word.
If you’d like to attend service at Christ Lutheran Church and hear Grace Notes, the church is located at 189 Church Road in Penn Forest Township.
To watch a video of Grace Notes rehearsing, visit tnonline.com.