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Mitzi Yvonne Lynch had a link to music and the performing arts from the time she was born.
“I was named after Mitzi Gaynor,” Lynch said, explaining her father was a fan of the noted dancer of stage and screen.
Her middle name is a nod to actress Yvonne DeCarlo.
Lynch’s father played trombone and saxophone.
“They both could sing,” she said of her parents.
So it might not come as a surprise that Lynch became the music minister of Immanuel Baptist Church in Elizabethtown.
But Lynch’s ties to the arts don’t end there. She is involved with Hardin County Playhouse and Youth Theatre of Hardin County.
“I’ve been involved with Youth Theatre 19 years, going on 20,” Lynch said.
Lynch’s association with HCP began on stage 25 years ago.
“I found out I like working behind the scenes,” she said.
On top of that, Lynch just began teaching music at Elizabethtown Christian Academy for kindergarten through sixth grade and has given private piano and voice lessons for about 20 years.
Long before any of that, though, there were music lessons.
“My parents bought me a piano ... when I was 10 years old,” Lynch said. “I took a year and a half of piano and I hated it.”
That was largely due to the fact that several instructors alternated teaching the lessons, she said.
As she grew older, Lynch played piano for church on occasion and eventually taught herself to play. She doesn’t consider herself a great piano player by any means.
“I think I kind of make do,” she said.
After many years at First Christian Church, Lynch became a member of Immanuel Baptist Church and was hired as the minister of music in 2002.
“And I have loved it,” she said.
The job is officially part-time, but she said her hours are more like full-time. Among her duties are preschool choir, junior choir, praise team, Sunday program and special music programs.
Music might figure into all areas of her life, but the church music programs differ completely.
“Worship time is not a production ... it’s about worshipping the Lord,” Lynch said.
A mix of praise songs and hymns are usually on the program to appeal to the older adults and younger members of the congregation, she said. She credits pastor Chuck Darland with being easy to work with.
“I’ve never told him this, but he’s kind of a father figure to me,” said Lynch, whose parents are both deceased. She added Darland was not old enough to be her father, though.
Among her mentors, Lynch counts the late Andy Zagar, minister of music at First Christian Church.
“What a great loss,” she said.
For the third year, Lynch will coordinate “Sweet Sounds of the Season,” a December event that features desserts and choir music. As with the event, volunteers play a critical role in Lynch’s work at the church.
“There’s no way my ministry would survive if it were not for volunteers,” she said.
As the director of the Salute program of YTHC, Lynch selects and teaches the music and schedules performances. Salute is a group from YTHC that performs song and dance for civic organizations, church groups and retirement homes.
Lynch also has worked with other YTHC productions, her favorite being “Fiddler on the Roof” about 19 years ago. The young adults of YTHC, she said, generally are very talented.
“A lot of people think Youth Theatre is just a bunch of kids on stage,” she said. “It’s not that.”
Over the years, Lynch also has worked in various capacities with Hardin County Playhouse, including acting and co-writing in addition to assisting with music. The spring production of “Oklahoma!” has been her favorite, she said.
Working behind the scenes, she said, is fulfilling.
“It’s not about me being in front of people,” she said.
Her newest undertaking — teaching music at ECA — allows Lynch the joy of working with young children.
That particular job comes with a special bonus.
“I think I love kids because they like to hug and I like to hug, too,” she said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.