Tributes to Mrs. Joy Barnes

Mrs. Joy Barnes faithfully taught in the music department at Maranatha for over twenty-five years. Our music department mourns the loss of Mrs. Barnes as she had a big impact on many of us, but we are grateful that she is in Heaven with no more pain and suffering. The current music faculty who knew Mrs. Barnes wish to share tributes to her, and we would love for you to contribute your memories in the comment section as well.

Tribute from Pamela Loggans: Few people have impacted me as significantly as Mrs. Joy Barnes. I praise the Lord for the privilege of receiving instruction in piano and organ from Mrs. Barnes. Her kindness, encouragement, and patience were always a blessing! I value her instruction and I am thankful to her for instilling in me a heart for the hymns! What a blessing it was to come back to Watertown in 1993 and teach in the music department with Mrs. Barnes until her retirement. I counted it a wonderful privilege to serve the Lord together in the music ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown.

Tribute from Monty Budahl: For nearly forty years, Joy Barnes ministered with me in various capacities. She was a very supportive faculty member.  In the early, she taught many of the piano and organ students herself.  Later, she scheduled the lessons, fitting the student and faculty class schedules together like a giant jig saw puzzle.  Joy faithfully played for chapel services, the “Messiah” and graduation festivities.  For many years, she and Max hosted the music faculty Christmas fellowship after the “Messiah” presentation at their lovely home, a wonderful relief for us all.

At Calvary Baptist Church, Mrs. Barnes was the lead keyboard player, playing for most of the services, either on piano or organ, rehearsing and accompanying the choir, ensembles and special music… plus weddings and special services.  She handled “bailouts” and avoided “train wrecks” with a gracious manner.

As a friend of the family, she taught  our children.  Christmas recitals at her home were highly anticipated. The children always received a large, colorfully decorated gingerbread teddy bear.

I often heard her say “Oh, dear…”  but never “Oh, no.”

Tribute from Rick Townsend: I just remember Mrs. Barnes as one of the kindest people at Maranatha when Linda and I arrived. Her contributions in department meetings were always on target and offered with kindness and humility. The department Christmas parties at their home will always be a favorite memory for Linda and me.

Tribute from Dave Brown: One of our earliest memories of Joy Barnes is when she hosted the annual music faculty Christmas party. Like her name, she was a joyful servant of God. She had a ready smile for all and a sweet spirit that drew students and faculty alike. Joy always had time for people. She was a major help to Ruth during our first year at MBBC. Ruth would go to her office often and ask about policies, teaching, ideas for organizing her own studio. She took Ruth under her wing. Joy Barnes’ life was an example of a life well-lived for Christ.

Tribute from Janet Tschida: I didn’t have the privilege of really getting to know Mrs. Barnes until I started teaching at Maranatha. I remember being amazed by how much she did behind the scenes that I had absolutely no idea about as a Maranatha college student, and I was so impressed by her quiet faithfulness. As a young teacher, Mrs. Barnes encouraged me so much when I was feeling incredibly apprehensive and overwhelmed. I learned much from her those first few years, both about teaching and about serving. She had a good sense of humor too. As we worked together on several projects, I remember us just laughing and laughing while thinking to myself, “I had no idea she could be this fun!” She made a lasting impression on me, and I am grateful for the few years we were able to work together.

Tribute from David Ledgerwood: When I came to Maranatha in 1986, I was the “new kid on the block” in the Music Department. The person I worked most closely with in the piano area was Joy Barnes. Joy made me feel instantly welcome. She had our family over for dinner, and patiently helped me learn the ropes of collegiate piano teaching. She was always encouraging and helpful. Every Christmas, she and Max would host a music department get together after the Messiah concert. That was a great highlight to our year. We would have splendid fellowship with the Cedarholms, Budahls, Burckarts, Heiderichs, Carol Senn, and Dr. Weniger. Later on the list included Jeremy Vegter, Rick Townsend, Dave Jaspers, Betsy Pabon, and Janet Tschida. What a treat!

Joy loved her students. She wanted to make them successful and so she poured her heart into them. She was always looking for ways to improve her teaching. Joy was an example of a sacrificial and committed Christian servant who believed that Christian education could make a difference. We will all miss her.

Tribute from Carol Senn Ruffin: Over the years I have known Mrs. Joy Barnes as a teacher, colleague and friend.

Teacher: I had always admired the piano playing of Mrs. Joy Barnes at church when I was in high school, so I was thrilled as a new Maranatha college freshman to learn that she was going to be my piano teacher. She stretched me—so much so that I was a finalist in the commencement piano contest that first year. Although Mrs. Barnes was disappointed when I changed my proficiency to voice she never stopped encouraging me to excel at whatever the Lord wanted me to do.

Colleague: By just being her normal, kind, thoughtful self she was kind of “paying it forward;” for not too many years later I became her daughter Tami’s voice teacher—teaching in a studio just across the hall from Mrs. Barnes. Now Mrs. Barnes and I were colleagues, although I never could make myself call her Joy. We chatted a little most days—sharing a funny story, a prayer request, and sometimes a piece of staff paper. I really missed that when she retired.

Friend: I was also privileged to call Mrs. Barnes my friend. What fun to work side by side in her kitchen helping prepare things for the annual Music Faculty Christmas party that she always insisted on hosting at her home! She knew how to entertain. She was one classy lady. She taught me a lot—much of which had absolutely nothing to do with piano or music—but stuff I needed to learn nonetheless.

I will miss Mrs. Barnes, but I take solace in knowing she is glory. In a providential “circle of life” sort of way I now enjoy being voice colleagues with her daughter Tami Collupy. Now, how cool is that?!?! Rest in peace, Mrs. Barnes.

Please share your tribute in the comment section.

10 thoughts on “Tributes to Mrs. Joy Barnes

  1. Mrs. Barnes was the one who taught me the finer points of playing hymns. When I started hymn playing lessons at MBBC I didn’t know the first thing about how to really play a hymn. Mrs. Barnes was so patient and kind in teaching me. I still find myself returning to the hymn book where she so carefully wrote in the “extra parts” in so many hymns.

    Just this morning, not knowing of Mrs. Barnes poor health or home going, I was practicing for next Sunday’s offertory and chose “Joy to the World”; a piece that she arranged and had given me a copy of. It will be in her memory now that I play this arrangement Sunday night.

  2. Mrs. Barnes was my organ teacher for two years at Maranatha so I could fulfill my secondary proficiency. I thoroughly enjoyed my weekly lesson with her! She was such a sweet-spirited, humble lady with such great talent! I am so grateful for the opportunity to have known her as a teacher and been blessed with her as a mentor.

  3. Mrs. Barnes not only was my piano teacher in college, but also taught my mom, and two of my aunts in their earlier years. I think we would all say that a couple of her greatest qualities in teaching were extreme patience and steady encouragement. I could see God’s love shining through her and pray that I may always use my musical abilities for God as she did.

  4. As a 17-year old freshman at MBBC, I was thrilled to finally have a Christian piano and organ teacher, Mrs. Joy Barnes! She was so patient with me and an excellent example of a dedicated Christian musician.

    Years later, I joined the piano faculty at MBBC and was privileged to teach just down the hall from Joy Barnes. Every semester she would assign students to piano faculty, taking note of class schedules, part-time instructors, etc. I could NEVER have kept all of that straight, but she was very efficient and organized.

    Joy organized piano recitals (including the refreshments!) and the annual music faculty Christmas Party in her home, and everything was always artfully displayed and delicious!

    Joy Barnes was a faithful co-worker, friend, and sister in Christ, quietly serving the Lord and working behind the scenes…her price is far above rubies.

  5. I started taking lessons from Mrs. Barnes when I was about 6 years old. I would walk over to the music hall at Pillsbury and head down to her studio. She would tie a special apron around my neck and tuck it into the keyboard cover. I learned to play without looking at my fingers. I loved having Mrs. Barnes as my piano teacher all the way through college!! She always amazed me because she could play during lessons with a pencil between her nice, long fingers. One time she “threw” her pencil and said, “Why can’t your fingers be longer?!! Why don’t you tie them to the bedpost and lay down real fast!!!” She was most patient.

  6. When we moved to Maranatha,1972, I was in eighth grade and started piano lessons with Mrs. Barnes. She taught me until my college senior piano recital in 1980. She helped mold not just my piano skills but the foundation of my piano teaching methods and philosophy and I am sooo grateful for that! I am continually quoting Mrs. Barnes or telling stories about her to my students. She always said, a bit wryly, “If you start well and end well, it doesn’t matter what happens in the middle!”
    She was like a “piano mother” to me. She didn’t like it when I extended myself in college. When I dropped out of cheer-leading, speech….and focused on piano, she was happy. I’ll never forget her words to me when I came backstage between packages during my dress rehearsal. I had played Bach and Mozart a little on the weak side. She scolded in a whisper, “What did you eat for supper?!” I said sheepishly, “Potato soup.” She sighed and whispered back, “Tomorrow night you’ll have steak!” The next night, while the family and guests ate chicken, Dad put a steak on my plate!
    She knew how to work with each of her students on a very personal level and how to motivate each one. She cared about her students but her love for her family and for God was very prominent to me and as a young person, I respected her for it. She is–even in her passing–an example to me of the great influence a piano teacher can have on the lives of young people! I’ll never forget her bright smile and easy laugh.

  7. Mrs. Barnes was a tremendous impact in my life. I had the privilege of her teaching me piano throughout my high school and college years. I learned the value of practicing hard to reach your goal. Her love of teaching and her love for the Lord is something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. I will miss you greatly. Everytime I sit down and play the piano I will think of you. I love you, Mrs. Barnes.

  8. Joy Barnes has been an acquaintance for many decades, as well as a friend and co-worker while serving as a Calvary Baptist Church missionary circle chairman. She was a dedicated, helpful servant who would purchase dozens of greeting cards for the missionaries our church supported, carefully choose a suitable one for each missionary family member, write their name on it and give it to the chairmen to address and mail.
    She would write to each missionary, sometimes quarterly, in her unique style, often in poetry. The missionaries said her correspondence was a highlight in the year for them. A sample from various years would be:
    “For weddings you now can do about anything;
    Take the case of the Lab who swallowed the wedding ring.
    An X-ray of the dog’s stomach was given to the bride,
    As proof at the altar of where her ring did reside.
    Another musing:
    “Have you ever thought about the sounds of God’s creation? Suppose every living creature had the volume of a lion. I’ve been listening outdoors with that thought in mind. God did not make most birds (“most” inserted for the benefit of our Papua New Guinea missionaries) to sing very loudly. Many creatures make no sound at all such as our 150 kinds of butterflies here in WI or the worms or toads for instance. I’m pretty sure God had our ears and nerves in mind when He put His creation together.”
    And in her musical thoughts:
    “Please sing the following verse to the tune of ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’:
    Calvary Church loves each of you, each of you, each of you;
    You are special to our hearts, yes, that’s true. (Be sure you get both pitches on the word “true”.)”
    Her sweet little “giggle” will be missed. She kept this even in the last weeks when she was so ill.
    She was very devoted to her loving, kind, helpful , patient (while waiting for countless rehearsals in which she was involved), husband, Dr. Max Barnes.

  9. I rejoice in the truth that for the Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!!!! My friend and “third-floor inhabitant” is now free from the physical limitations she endured. Joy Barnes was truly characterized by her name. I remember many joyful experiences with her and my fellow instructors in the Piano Department of MBBC.
    We often shared about our common interests of family, music, and serving the Lord. Joy motivated me and many others to share our talents and to always encourage young musicians. I praise the Lord for allowing Dr. Barnes and Joy to have touched my life. She was a faithful example.

  10. In college, the dubious honor of trying to teach piano to a non-music reading, self-taught chord-playing country bumpkin fell to the lovely Joy Barnes. She was ever so patient with me. I can’t say that I progressed in my piano playing, but I certainly improved in character from having spent that time with Mrs. Barnes. Later, I would become the department secretary, and spent many little moments in her office. She loved her family, loved to talk about them, loved playing and teaching music, and loved her Savior. She will be missed, but her legacy is a treasure!

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