New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church recently honored its beloved musician of more than 60 years, Wyrtess Floyd, with a special appreciation for her tireless dedication and invaluable service.
“Everyone knows that Sis. Floyd is a jewel of a person,” said New Bethel Pastor Steve Miller.
He said the congregation thanks God for not only the service that she’s rendered at New Bethel, but to the legacy she left at the schools she taught, such as H.B. Pemberton, and for the impact she’s made in the community as a whole.
“You’re much loved and it’s evident by the love that is shown here today,” Miller told Floyd. “We thank you.”
Speaking on behalf of the church’s “Masters of Song” male chorus, member John Thompson said the musician is truly the group’s queen.
“You truly have blessed so many lives,” said Thompson, describing Floyd as true lady of distinction.
He shared how she uses her musical gift to help each of them reach their full potential.
“We can’t sing,” Thompson teased. “You might have two voices in this entire group that probably can sing. The rest of us we’re just there. To show you what kind of musician this lady is … we have so much fun in her working with us and bringing out the best in us during choir rehearsal.
“She’s always done that and always so graciously received,” he continued. “We just love her for what she does for us and she is truly deserving of everything.”
Presenting her with cards and monetary expressions of love, Thompson encouraged the musician to continue doing a mighty work.
“Keep on working in God’s vineyard,” Thompson urged. “He has truly placed you here for a reason. You are a shining star among us.”
Giving a tribute from the adult choir, member Vicki Hines spoke on Floyd’s God-given talent, which was nurtured by the best in her early years.
“Her initial college degree from Bishop College was in music,” Hines noted. “She used this training to share her gift with many students in the Marshall district and surrounding school districts.”
Hines reflected on Floyd’s contagious joyous spirit, which always makes for a good time.
“Ms. Floyd is always happy. Wherever she is, there’s always a lot of laughing and cutting up,” Hines chuckled. “On Thursday, we are so excited to be at rehearsal.”
Hines noted how they all respect her faithfulness.
“There are 52 Sundays in a year. Ms. Floyd serves New Bethel 36 of those Sundays and she makes herself available for any other service we may have,” said Hines. “She never takes Sunday off or asks for vacation.”
Most of all, they admire her humbleness.
“She doesn’t like to bask in the limelight,” said Hines. “She doesn’t serve for anybody or recognition … but we felt that this was a service that was long overdue.”
Quoting the Bible verse, 2 Kings 3:15, Hines reflected on the blessing Floyd has been to the church.
“On Sunday, because of the selections of her song and the music that we hear, we know that the spirit of the Lord dwells in this place,” said Hines.
Speaking on behalf of her former school students, mainly from the Pemberton classes of 1961 and 1962, Richard F. Hodge Sr. noted how unforgettable their former music teacher is.
“I was fortunate enough to be president of student council Ms. Floyd’s last year,” said Hodge.”I could remember each year we would have a musical concert featuring the band and choir. I cannot remember one song the band played, but I can (quickly) tell you what the choir sang.”
In addition to expressions of love, several honored the musician in song. New Bethel Deacon L.C. Chatham serenaded her with a special song titled, “It’s Your Time.” Monetta DeWalt, of Houston, and Gwen Walker also rendered tributes.
June Caldwell recited a poem, written especially for Floyd by choir member Melba Jones. Caldwell also played a special message from her son, Donald, whose career as a choral director was inspired by Floyd.
“I appreciate you teaching me how to be a choral teacher,” said Donald. “You would let me pick out the notes for the altos and tenors and that’s where I learned how to be a choir director.
“I think you’re the greatest person on that keyboard I’ve ever known,” he said, describing her as an amazing teacher and performer.
Dr. Madeline Anderson, whose father S.A. Anderson was a colleague of Floyd’s at Pemberton, reminisced how their families enjoyed a fellowship as friends and as church members throughout the years.
“As friends, your family became our family and our family became your family. Whether it was at that barbecue, or if it was an impromptu choir rehearsal or a spontaneous concert in your living room, every occasion was punctuated by music, love and laughter,” said Anderson.
Comparing Floyd to an upbeat “allegro” tempo, Anderson said Floyd’s friendship is the allegro music of their lives.
“You are the forever song in our hearts, you are the forever music in our souls and we are forever grateful to have you,” Anderson said.
Giving thanks, Floyd thanked all for a wonderful appreciation.
“Because of God’s goodness, I’m still here and to God be the glory,” the musician said.