Janice Barnett was born in Asheville and moved with her family to Alta Vista, Va., at age 10. Barnett knew early that music was special to her, and even though her family didn't own a piano, she wanted lessons. Their home was across from the First Baptist Church, so Barnett would walk over and take piano lessons from the church organist. That her first lessons were in a church would be prophetic.
Barnett was a cheerleader and a majorette in high school. Her father told her, “If they gave a grade for extracurricular activities, you'd get an A.” She graduated from Greensboro College in music education. She moved to Charlotte and started working as a bank drive-in teller. Her future husband was a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
Loves to play
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“Music ministry has been my life for 32 years, not including the numerous times I played the organ as a teen,” said Barnett. She has been a church organist, director of the children's choir, music ministry associate and leader of youth and seniors choirs. She will retire in October from Matthews United Methodist Church after 14 years as a music ministry associate. Her friend, Cynthia Broome, says Barnett will never completely retire. Barnett said piano gives her a chance to do what she enjoys most – play.
A new chapter
Barnett and her husband, who live in Mint Hill, will soon celebrate 37 years of marriage. They have a son and a daughter, both married, and three grandchildren. Barnett is excited about retirement. “I am ready for wherever God sends me,” she says with a smile. With that she sat down at her piano to do what she enjoys most – play.