Posts Tagged ‘Hausmusik’

Story and photos by Becky Payne.

“Hausmusik” is not exactly an everyday word in our language, but translated from the German it simply means “music in the home.” Years ago Bernice Rodgerson began inviting friends and neighbors to her home for music programs, which were mostly classical piano solos and duets, played by Bernice and a friend or her teacher. After the music, there was always a time of fellowship and refreshment.

HausmusikWhen Bernice and her husband moved to Lakewood Manor, she continued her practice of Hausmusik programs in the Simms Center. It was at this time she began inviting her grandchildren who played guitar, piano and violin to join her. She accompanied them at the piano, but she continued her piano solos and duets with her teacher.

This might not sound unusual until you discover that Bernice began presenting these programs when she was nearly 80. Today, at 92, she continues to present her yearly Hausmusik program at Lakewood.

Bernice’s love for music began when she was a child. Her family had a piano but could not afford music lessons. A neighbor took interest in her, taught her the names of the notes on the keyboard, how to place her hands on the notes, and a few music basics. Encouraged, and with a little bit of knowledge, she took a hymnal and taught herself to play.

HausmusikHer first formal piano lesson didn’t occur until she was a junior in high school. In spite of her somewhat late start Bernice entered college, majored in music, and graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky prepared to teach.

It was at Georgetown that Bernice met her husband Phil. After “Dr. Phil” graduated from Louisville Seminary they moved to Richmond for him to become the founding pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church. In addition to her roles as pastor’s wife and mother to their children, Bernice taught school and piano lessons.


Bernice still lives at Lakewood and is actively involved in the life of that community, as well as the life of First Baptist Church where she is now a member. At Lakewood she plays piano for Sunday morning worship in Healthcare one Sunday each month and participates in a weekly Bible study. Though she isn’t often in attendance at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, she watches the webcast each week, continues to participate in Women on Mission, and is part of the Congregational Care Team where she keeps in touch with four of our home-bound members by sending cards and making regular phone calls and occasional visits.

HausmusikAnd, of course, she still plays the piano. It is her goal to practice two hours daily (except Sunday) so that she will be prepared for her piano lessons with her long-time teacher, Mrs. Anne James. Bernice has studied with Anne for more than 30 years, and still looks forward to every lesson. They are currently working on the music they will present in the next Lakewood Hausmusik program this fall.

When asked why she continues to study piano Bernice replied, “To play well is still a goal! It’s something I have to do! There is always something new I want to learn. Studying and practicing puts structure in my days and brings me great joy.”

And, to those of us who know and love Bernice, she brings great joy with her friendship and her music.

Becky PayneBecky Payne, recently retired after 25 years as Organist/Music Associate at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, now serves part-time in Congregational Care. Becky, a native Mississippian and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, came to Richmond after serving churches in Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi.  She continues to volunteer in the music ministry and to teach a Bible Study at Lakewood Manor.  In her semi-retirement she is enjoying traveling, reading and more time with friends.

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