The Herald Bulletin

March 15, 2013

God keeps her singing

Joyce Foggs records second CD in Alexandria

By Abbey Doyle
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — When she was a young girl, Joyce Foggs dreamed of being an opera singer.

Instead of gracing the stages of Carnegie Hall, Foggs, now 83, went into education.

Her love for music never left and after the insistence of family and friends, Foggs has recorded a second CD — “He Keeps Me Singing.”

The recently-released collection of hymns, gospels and black spirituals was recorded at Gaither Studios in Alexandria with production by Tony Small, who also arranged the music and orchestra.

“Music is my ministry,” Foggs said. “People tell me they find it very worshipful and encouraging.”

She described herself as a soprano, “more operatic than anything else.” She chose hymns and spirituals that held personal meaning but also pieces she loves.

“I wanted the selection to be diverse,” Foggs said. “I picked things like ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness,’ something I’ve been singing for a number of years. And I really enjoyed singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ accompanied by a renowned flutist. That was an honor.”

Foggs’ husband, the Rev. Edward Foggs, pointed out that what makes the CD even more amazing is when listeners consider his wife is an octogenerian.

“Her voice at her age is very, very special,” he said. “There aren’t many women in their 80s maintaining that quality of voice. With age sometimes a voice can lose some of its clarity.

“This CD is a very worthwhile achievement at this stage of life. I think it is encouraging to others saying, ‘Aging doesn’t mean that you lose your gifts and abilities.’”

Edward Foggs — the former pastor at Sherman Street Church of God for more than 10 years who served as general secretary for the Church of God for more than 11 — introduced one of the songs by talking about the power of prayer and heritage of the song.

“We live in some very troubled times,” he said. “I think people need to be reminded of the significance of prayer. We are strong believers of prayer changing things.”

Joyce and Edward have been married for nearly 58 years. She graduated from Anderson College and was a teacher for 33 years at an elementary school before becoming a principal and eventually taking a position as a supervisor for student teachers at Anderson University.

She was the director of the Sherman Street choir for 30 years and, for a time, was the only black member of the Anderson College choir. She taught music throughout her career and continued to perform at community, church and civic functions.

Joyce and Edward have four daughters and a son — all five college graduates — and 11 grandchildren.

Her family is encouraging Foggs to record a third CD, focusing on traditional black spirituals, something she would like to document herself.

“Those spirituals depict what black Americans were singing back in the day,” she said. “You don’t hear them today as you once we did. I think it is a lost art in some ways and is important that we keep them alive.”

But it isn’t on the near horizon. For right now she is just focusing on the CD recently released.