While her husband was out of the country recently on a business trip, Caroline Williams Jeffcoat had some time to finish her new song.
“It’s still handwritten on paper. I haven’t had a chance to type it up yet,” Jeffcoat said as she sang her song, Chasing Butterflies, Saturday in the Glenn Hills Baptist Church fellowship hall.
On the third Saturday of each month, area singer-songwriters such as Jeffcoat gather for a time of Pick’n and Praise’n.
“My husband is a singer-songwriter, and we were looking for a place to share songs,” said organizer Pam Teston, who started the event four years ago at Bayvale Baptist Church. It has since moved to Glenn Hills Baptist.
She said there are limited venues in the area for people to get together. She started with about 15 people, and attendance has grown to between 50 and 75 at each event. There were about 50 people at the Saturday gathering.
While it is held in a church, it’s not necessarily a church event, she said.
“It’s all kinds of music,” Teston said.
Jeffcoat compares her own country songs to the style of Dolly Parton. Chasing Butterflies is based on her life experiences, she said.
Hank O’Neal sang gospel songs he had written. Singers sometimes cover songs by the Beatles or other famous artists. Prerecorded tracks are not allowed.
Keith Nelms has been coming to Pick’n and Praise’n since March 2011.
“What I’ve found is a music community, and this is one of the portals,” he said.
Nelms sings with a Southern gospel group, but he’s been able to forge relationships with musicians with other bands. He said he enjoys being able to sing with other people in an informal setting.
They will often send each other Facebook messages or e-mails about new songs; then they will arrive early for Pick’n and Praise’n to practice the songs before presenting them that night.
“It’s great fun,” he said. “I’ve met so many people through Pick’n and Praise’n.”
Typically, the format is open mic. On, the bluegrass band Flatland Express also played.
Teston said it’s a family-friendly event. She provides food so people can have a meal while listening to the entertainment. Admission and the food are free. Teston asks for donations, which she gives to the church for use of the facility.
She said she would like to see other musicians come out each month.
For more information about Pick’n and Praise’n, contact Teston at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 373-7855.