Scott and Linda Fosnight provide the music at Liberty Bible Church in Atwater. Jeremy Brown/The Portager
Liberty Bible Church in Atwater believes everyone needs three homes: an “earthly home,” a “church home,” and a “heavenly home.” For Scott and Linda Fosnight, Liberty Bible is without question their church home.
Every Sunday and Wednesday, Liberty Bible holds a prayer service led by Pastor Paul R. Phillips. And the congregation sings to music led by Scott, 41, on organ, and his mother, Linda, 71, on piano.
“It’s just amazing to have a mother and a son being in the same church with the same desire to serve the lord, and playing the organ and piano together,” Phillips said. “It brings the family together, and it brings our family in church together to see a mother and son together.”
It was a long road to find a church that would take them both though. Scott plays by ear, and he’s been doing it alongside his mother as far back as he can remember. The two had hoped to find a church where they could routinely play together, but finding that opportunity had proved challenging.
“I have been in different churches that have told me, ‘If you can’t read music, you don’t belong sitting behind an organ or piano, because you’ll mess everybody up,” Scott said. “I know it was in God’s hands. We would pass here [Liberty Bible Church] when we were going to my aunt’s house, and we said we would come in here, and here we are.”
Their acceptance at Liberty Bible Church has given Scott and Linda the “church family” they’d been seeking. For them, it’s a place where their songs and spiritual beliefs are wholly accepted.
Using only the white keys, Scott learned to play the organ with one finger at the age of 2. From then on, his love for music grew, as did his repertoire. Linda, who has been playing the piano since she was 8 years old, encouraged Scott to continue his musical endeavors throughout his formative years. During his enrollment at Maplewood Career Center he continued to hone his skills on the organ.
“He played with the Portage County Entertainers when he was a young age,” Linda said. “He would play all these old songs you wouldn’t think someone his age would know, but he was the keyboard person. He did a school project [at Maplewood Career Center in the 11th grade] on organ, and he got an A on it; but he really put himself in there. He played ‘Get Me To the Church On Time’ and ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ for his brother’s wedding.”
By using an organ transposer that is built into the church’s organ, Scott can instantly convert songs into a key that fits his musical methodology. A transposer is a variable frequency control box with a wheel that, when rotated, changes the pitch of the organ keys one half-step in any direction, up to seven steps.
While playing at a service, Linda sits at a piano across the church from where Scott sits at an organ, but they follow a set playlist, and Scott knows exactly when to change keys on the transposer. Even with the use of the transposer, Scott said he’s not completely sure how he does it.
“Everything comes from God, you know,” Scott said. “I don’t understand how I can sit there and play every week, but I do it with the faith knowing that God will help me through it.”
Scott said “it’s a wonderful church that preaches the word, teaches the word,” and has a “wonderful minister” with an affectionate devotion toward his congregation.