Singing for the community

By Susan Moore, Published:

Together they have decades of experience in singing. Separately, they are from four counties — Franklin, Anderson, Jefferson and Shelby.

The Full Circle Singers is a group of 20 singers and instrumentalists who started singing together to share their love of music and to give back to the community.

John Avent and John Clayton, two long-time members of the group, have known each other for more than 50 years. Avent, who grew up playing in dance bands around Winchester said, “We look for voices that blend. John (Clayton is the glue that keeps us all together.”

“We’ve sung in more than 20 churches, and at least ten retirement homes. We are a year-round group who loves to sing at churches, nursing homes, retirement community events or wherever,” Avent said.

The group likes to keep five voices in four parts for a full harmony according to Clayton. “We sing anything from a jazzy ‘Amazing Grace’ to Bach. We do secular music from Americana to love songs of the 1940s.”

Clayton explained that the group began in 2010 as a Shelbyville quartet but soon felt limited. They invited Clayton’s wife, Carolyn, to start playing keyboard. Soon after, John (Avent) joined in on alto sax. From there, the group has grown.

“We practiced in homes until the group outgrew them. Then we moved to Graefenburg Baptist Church for our practices,” Clayton said.  It’s amazing that we get along as well as we do. Nobody is the boss!”

 When asked why they sing as a group for free, Avent said with a smile, “We do it [sing] because so many people we knew sang for us over the years. It’s a way of giving back to the community.”

The current members of the group are Kathie Anderson, Beth Avent, John Avent, Carolyn Clayton, John Clayton, Maggie Drane, Missy Garner, Debra Guess, Nelson Henderson, Jim Henson, Jeanette Hicks, Deane Lay, Jim Lay, Candy Mershon, Terry Perry, Dave Rutledge, Sandy Rutledge, Larry Smith, Carol West and Diana Woodside.

The group does accept contributions at its concerts to defray the cost of music. For more information about how to have the Full Circle Singers sing at your activity or event, contact John Clayton at 502-241-7474 or John Avent at 502-223-5542.

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